Prenatal Yoga Workshop

Been a busy week.  Didn’t have much chance to sit at the computer and write.  I find that I miss it when I don’t leave time for personal reflection.  Trying to carve out a little space now, between work and home.  Although I don’t have kids (and I’m “between pets”, as I like to say), I do manage to fill up my days.  Nice to know that I have a life!

Speaking of kids, we had a teacher training workshop about prenatal yoga last Sunday.  As far as pregnancy goes, I’ve lived life vicariously through others.  My sister has two boys and my sister-in-law has three.  And it seems that, for the past few years, there’s always one veterinarian or veterinary technician at the clinic that’s having a baby.  I like to tease and say that it’s something in the drinking water making all these women at work get pregnant!  Although I come from a family of six children, it seems that it wasn’t my lot in life to have kids.  My husband and I joke that we would’ve had a lot more “fun” while we were dating if we’d only known what we do now!  Sure, I’ve got my personal responsibilities as a wife, Aunty, sister and daughter.  But I’m fortunate to have time to myself, to do yoga and write my blog.  I know how lucky I am.  Sorry, I digress…

Our teacher that day was Laurel Hicks, an experienced registered yoga teacher (E-RYT) and a Doula, who is trained to assist before, during and after labour.  She’s developed a reputation as being the prenatal yoga teacher in the area.  It was great to have her experience in guiding us on what to do when, not if, a pregnant yogini is part of the class.  The big take-home message?  Expectant mothers can do yoga but if there’s any doubt about physical restrictions, it’s best for them to consult with their physician.

We used a pillow, blanket or even a small balloon over the belly and under our shirts to simulate a baby bump.  Then Laurel led us through a gentle, slow flow practice, with alignment adjustments to accommodate for the baby.  Simple things, like rocking back and forth before coming up from Low Lunge into Standing Forward Fold.  Doing twists from the upper back and cervical spine, to reduce constriction of the uterus.  Squats to strengthen the pubic muscles (think Kegel exercises).  Lying on the side for Savasana or corpse pose.  Excessive abdominal work was not advised because these muscles needed to stretch to allow room for baby in the expanding uterus.

She told us that new mothers often come to learn yoga for the first time, once they know they are pregnant.  Most seem to want to learn about breathing.  Laurel said that yoga helped to teach breathing during difficult circumstances.  Doing asanas challenges the breath and yoga reminds us to continue to breathe through it.  I would consider labour as being a difficult circumstance, don’t you think?

Had a few expectant mothers participating that afternoon.  Glad they came and offered their thoughts about yoga during pregnancy.  Several women said that doing a practice helped to alleviate back pain or sciatica.

Finally, Laurel had a few recommendations for after the birth of the baby.  Postnatal yoga can start as early as 4 weeks later, if no complications with natural delivery.   The Mom should wait 6 weeks if she had a C-section.  The other recommendation was to wait for the doctor to give the ok before starting any exercise program.  Sage advice.

Like I said, I’ve not been pregnant myself but have lived it vicariously through others.  Before this workshop, I hadn’t really given much thought to what I’d do if I ever had to teach a class with an expectant Mom as a student.  Most women will know their limitations and restrictions, Laurel told us.  I’m counting on that.