Prenatal yoga for me conjures up images of LA-based celebrities with perfectly neat bumps, equally neatly rolled up yoga mats and immaculate hair. Indeed, in recent years it’s certainly been a craze amongst mums-to-be of the Hollywood elite, but it’s a trend that pregnant women this side of the pond have latched onto. Guest blogger @EleanorWi gives the lowdown on what prenatal yoga is like for the less rich and famous.
I’m a little bit on the chubby side. I’m a keen exerciser, but I’ll always be the one with my head burrowed in the clothes rail, trying to hook the larger jeans off the back hanger. Yeah, it’s me that takes the last size 16. Sorry.
This doesn’t mean I’ve slapped on the elasticated-waisters and started gorging on chocolate. I’ve been doing what I can to keep fit. Saving for the months of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) has meant that my gym membership has had to go, and I quickly discovered that continuing outdoor running wasn’t going to work for me either. So what else could I do?
The easy answer was literally staring me in the face – usually holding a tennis ball and wagging his tail. If you have a dog, you’ll know you can take the dog to the park for a ‘you stand still, he runs around’ session, or you can actually WALK it. I’ve started doing at least one of the latter per day. The dog’s got the stamina of a kick-ass mountain lion now. I walk faster on the way home because I can’t wait for the sit down and a cuppa.
Most progressively though, I’ve also crossed the line and taken up my first ‘specifically invented for pregnant women’ thing: maternity yoga.
The class is small, welcoming and warm. In pregnancy, holding complex stretches for periods longer than eight seconds is not advised, so prenatal yoga sees you move through a series of gentle postures. There is a focus on breathing that will help you through the latter stages of pregnancy and the labour itself. For every slightly more complex position, the instructor gave an alternative for those rendered less supple.
All through the class our instructor spoke gently to us, encouraging us to think of our babies, what they’re up to in there and how they are cushioned and soothed by our heartbeats, breathing and digestive noises. This was great; I loved it! However, if you’re considering this type of yoga, you might need an open mind – it can be a little ‘cosmic’. If you can read either of these statements and keep a straight face, you’ll be fine:
1. “Imagine your cervix as a water lily flower, opening in the morning sun, every petal unfurling to greet the new dawn”
2. “Remember ladies, keep that jaw loose whilst in this pose – research
suggests a relaxed jaw also leads to a relaxed vagina”
I failed to maintain the Child Pose throughout the latter statement, but I was the only one sniggering.
You arrive home feeling mellow, connected with your baby, and much more pliable. I would recommend giving it a try to all pregnant ladies in the last two trimesters. NCT do classes, Babycentre also has more information, and Amazon has a list of good yoga DVDs.
Read Eleanor’s blog on: TalkMum