Charlotte Pearson learns the benefits of yoga for mums-to-be.
There are many ways you can prepare for pregnancy, from antenatal classes to hypnotherapy and even exercise.
One great option is pregnancy yoga, which can help mums-to-be prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for birth and early motherhood.
“The movements in the classes help them keep fit, strong and healthy,” explains Lushtums instructor Kate Anderson.
“It reduces stress and anxiety, improves digestion, balances emotions, boosts the immune system and promotes a deep, restful sleep.
“They can also be used to target common pregnancy ailments such as backache, heartburn, even things like symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and pelvic girdle pain (PGP).
“We tailor each class to the needs of the ladies attending so that we can make sure any ailments or pregnancy niggles can be addressed with suitable moves and poses.”
Kate runs the pregnancy and separate postnatal classes in Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill with fellow instructor Sarah Harding after the pair met during a Lushtums teaching training course.
“Yoga Mamas (the company from which Lushtums was founded) was well known as being the ‘go-to place’ for pregnancy yoga in Brighton, where I was living at the time,” explains Sarah.
“To prepare for birth I attended some pregnancy yoga classes with the founder, Clare Maddalena, alongside my normal yoga classes.”
But it was a lack of classes in the Mid Sussex area that made Kate and Sarah decide to do it themselves.
“I knew there were loads of people who had moved to Haywards Heath to either start or expand their families,” says Kate.
“So there were loads of pregnant women around who did not have access to proper pregnancy yoga classes, which to me seemed wrong.
“I was worried that any ladies who were new to yoga and living in the area wouldn’t feel compelled to make such an effort to attend a class, so I did feel frustrated that nothing was available locally.”
The classes run five days a week and women don’t just go for the health benefits.
“There is also a social aspect,” reveals Kate. “Lots of women make and keep lasting friendships through classes and they act as an invaluable support network.”
With both instructors having personally seen the benefits of pregnancy yoga they are passionate about sharing what they have learned.
“I feel very lucky to work with the ladies that come to our classes, supporting them in both a practical and emotional way through what I think can only be described as the most overwhelming experience in life,” smiles Sarah.
“Every class I feel as though I learn something new as every lady, every pregnancy and birth experience is so personal and different.”
And Kate agrees.
“Giving birth is an incredible, huge, life-changing event which will stay with a woman for the rest of her life,” she says.
“Our classes help to make that experience as positive as it can be, to alleviate the panic and fear and equip our ladies to deal with it better physically.
“I feel so proud to be able to do that, and so lucky to have a job which enables me to help people while pursuing something I love doing at the same time.”
Pregnancy yoga vs yoga
“Pregnancy yoga is much more gentle than a standard yoga class,” says Kate. “The classes contain more focus on breath work, lots of hip opening, postural work and there is strong focus on making women feel more comfortable, by alleviating any discomfort.
“We also never hold any poses for more than three breaths, we avoid inversions, which aren’t safe during pregnancy, and core work, plus have a really lovely long (20 minute) relaxation at the end of each class, which promotes restful sleep later that day.”
Kate and Sarah’s pregnancy yoga tips to do at home
Try to keep active during your pregnancy – it is called ‘labour’ for a reason, so keeping fit is a good idea.
However, don’t expect to be able to exercise as you would do normally.
Take regular gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
Practice pelvic floor exercises every day to support your core, lower back and stave off pelvic pain.
Practice calm breathing and meditation and aim to spend five minutes of quiet time each day connecting with your baby.
Both Sarah and Kate are fully trained antenatal educators, accredited by FEDANT, and trained at the Lushtums (Yoga Alliance UK certified) yoga school in Brighton. They are trained in pregnancy and post-natal yoga.
For more information, visit lushtums.co.uk/haywards-heath-burgess-hill
Pictures: Martlett Photography
July 15, 2015 Fashion and Beauty