Yoga is the ideal exercise for pregnant woman. It is widely recommended by midwives and doctors to expectant mothers as a way of keeping fit and mobile.
During pregnancy, yoga:
- keeps the body supple without straining
- boosts energy
- relieves stress and anxiety
- relaxes and promotes restful sleep
- can be used to relieve pain in labour and childbirth
- can relieve common minor ailments during pregnancy
(e.g. swollen joints, heartburn, constipation)
- can help the expectant mother to bond with the unborn baby through breathing and visualisation techniques
Our programme of weekly classes and preparation for birth sessions offers a comprehensive system for learning and using yoga throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond. Students learn simple but effective breath and relaxation techniques, yoga postures to manage common physical ailments, and visualisation practices to build confidence and assist in easeful birth.
We recommend that to gain maximum benefit from the weekly pregnancy yoga classes that students consider attending the late pregnancy class once they have the opportunity to attend a daytime class (currently Monday and Wednesday mornings) and that all students arrange to attend a yoga birth rehearsal, together with their birth supporter if possible some time between 34 and 39 weeks of pregnancy. In this way, the practices taught in the weekly classes can be easily transferred to use in labour and birth.
Every woman completes a comprehensive registration form prior to beginning the programme, and every session is always preceded by a supportive sharing time to assess and evaluate the changing physical and emotional needs of each student.
The classes offer an holistic programme of breathwork, relaxation, postures, movement , voicework and meditations suited to all stages of pregnancy, from 12 – 42 weeks. Pregnancy yoga enhances the vitality, mobility, general health and emotional well-being of the expectant mother; it also provides a valuable quiet space in which to form a bond with the unborn child and to prepare for birth.
Please note that our teachers are trained in the first place as general yoga teachers, and then have additional specialist training and continual professional development as pregnancy yoga teachers. They are well-informed, well-trained and very safe: every class includes moderate exercise, and our emphasis is upon safety and appropriateness for you as a pregnant women, and upon the safety of your unborn child. We do not recommend excessive aerobic exercise, fast movements, inversions or jumping practices during pregnancy. Our wide experience teaches us that moderation is safest during pregnancy.
We recommend beginning the classes in the third month of pregnancy and continuing throughout (once or twice a week, as time permits) in order to gain maximum benefit, but it is possible to begin at any point in your pregnancy.
A minimum of six classes enables you to acquire a basic ‘embodied memory’ of the key techniques. The practical usefulness of the yoga increases in proportion to the woman’s familiarity with the techniques taught, and familiarity comes through repetition and variation on a core range of practices. This is particularly important in relation to the breathwork and visualisation that is the foundation of the yogic approach to gentle birth.
Although most classes are pre-booked, there are no fixed start and finish dates for ‘courses’ of classes: this means that those with erratic work patterns have the chance to attend classes on different days of the weeks, and that women at different stages of pregnancy share the same classes.
Those who have difficulty in affording a class should discuss this with their teacher, as we have a scheme for limited numbers of non-paying students, on referral by their midwife, to join certain classes.
Paid time off work for pregnancy yoga classes
Women in full time employment are entitled to paid time off work to attend yoga classes, which are covered by the category ‘antenatal appointments and relaxation and parentcraft classes’. We encourage students to exercise their right to this time off work. For further details of the legal obligation of employers to pregnant workers, please see http://www.dti.gov.uk/er/individual/03.htm
For information on bookings, prices and schedules, see our bookings page.