I started practicing yoga almost 2 years ago and was instantly hooked. Before bump, I attended regular hot classes in Happiness Hot Yoga, Allerton (if you are looking for classes to attend, I couldn’t recommend the studio and teachers enough!). Whether you are a beginner or intermediate, you feel comfortable and welcome.
It was in August (during one of my regular Monday visits) at Happiness that I felt dizzy, nauseous & just not my normal self – I was taking about 3 classes a week at the time so this was unusual. To my surprise, 4 days later I took the scary test and found out I was pregnant…shock & delight, a mixture of emotions!
I was advised not to attend the hot room by my regular teachers as the baby should not be exposed to excessive heat. However the ball was in my court to attend or not; even though my body was accustomed to the hot room and poses, I chose to play it safe! (Did I mention I’m new to this pregnancy thing…)
NHS guidelines on excessive heat are clear, anything from saunas & steam rooms to Jacuzzi’s are risky for baby, you could be feeling fine…but the little spud could be overheating. Too risky for me!
I had a break from yoga until I reached the 12-week hurdle; I decided to attend a pregnancy yoga course which was 5 consecutive weeks.
The class was not over booked (which was lovely) around 8 other expecting mamas. I was the only pregnant yogi in the early stages, all others were between 18 and 32 weeks. At this stage I could swear that there was no tiny human cooking away inside…I felt completely normal & full of energy.
The classes were informative & relaxing (I’m sure I fell asleep in relaxation every week!), it was great to meet and chat with other expecting mamas; a new territory for me.
For me personally, I jumped the gun a little, attending just a touch early in my pregnancy. I wanted a more strenuous practice, I felt like my fitness was slipping as the weeks progressed. I went from a strong regular fitness regime to little movement, this also got me feeling down a little. The real concentration during the pregnancy classes was on breathing techniques during labour. Which…is obviously not wasted!
SO…after Christmas I decided to return to my regular teacher for practice, attending a non-hot class! I owe a lot to Nikki, for helping me feel back to my usual self again…well minus the tiny person rolling round my belly mid practice. Nikki knows my experience and capabilities, so I feel in safe hands! I have been amazed at what my body can still do at almost 28 weeks pregnant…although, the bump is getting in the way a little more now!
The class is perfect for beginners to advanced, you can choose your own speed and strength of practice. Week to week I feel different, it’s nice to just go with the flow and feel no pressure to keep up with the rest of the class.
As my pregnancy progresses, I am feeling strain on my lower back especially during the evenings. My midwife has mentioned on a few occasions how important posture is (don’t cross your legs, sit up straight, don’t lie flat on the couch all night) …we all know the score! The reality is, it’s hard making a conscious effort to sit up straight all bloody day.
To ease any aches; heart opening exercises have felt particularly beneficial for me, relieving pain and aggravation in my lower back and relieve compression round my ribs (which have been my only ‘niggles’). Below I have listed poses that have made me feel great! They are not too strenuous and perfect to try before bed, which can also help promote a better sleep (as well as shoving a faithful pillow between the knees and lying on your side!)
Cat Cow: Take a position on your hands and knees; for cat position round your back and tuck your chin into your chest. Then arch your back and open your chest into Cow Pose.
Updog: Starting on your tummy (if your belly allows it) or hands and knees position. Take your hands directly under your shoulders and reach the crown of the head to the ceiling, slight chin lift. Slowly push up and straighten your arms and open your chest.
Bridge (or wheel if it is in your practice): Bridge pose is an effective heart opener, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground with your arms alongside your body, tuck your chin into your chest, and lift your back to create a bridge. If your practice (and bump) allow, you can take full wheel, take hands over shoulders & lift full body into the air.
Hopefully I will be rocking my yoga practice until full term and Baby K makes an appearance. If I can’t continue in class I will certainly take a safe practice at home!
Remember, know your capabilities and never push your body to pain, if you are a beginner to a yoga class don’t let someone else’s capabilities put you off your beginning. Enjoy it!