Alongside supporting women to approach labour feeling confident, empowered and excited, the pregnancy yoga class has many benefits during the pregnancy journey itself. In essence my pregnancy yoga classes are about making space. We use the yoga practices to make space on many levels, and to provide a welcome respite from the feeling of pressure, busyness and lack of space in our otherwise busy days.

As pregnant women, our lives are busy on many levels; we have the commitments and pressures of our work, if we have children already we have the commitments and constancy of mothering our children, we are dealing with changes in our relationships and preparation for our new baby’s arrival. And alongside all of this, we are dealing with the constant changes which pregnancy brings to our mind, body and emotions as well as preparing for our birth, and dealing with resurfacing memories of our previous birth experiences. This can be a lot to deal with, leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed, tearful and anxious at times during our pregnancy.

It is for these reasons that I strive to create nurturing pregnancy yoga classes which bring women the gift of space.

Space for Connection

We begin the classes by sharing our pregnancy news, experiences, hopes and concerns. Day to day life can be busy, and as pregnant women we can find ourselves on the receiving end of much advice, yet often there is surprisingly little space to share our feelings and experiences and be really listened to by people who understand what you are going through. At the beginning of each class we create the space for women to connect with one another and share the joys, challenges, anxieties, hopes and discomforts of our pregnancy journeys. We listen to one another and build connection and empathy within the group. Mums can share their experiences of exhaustion and frustration as well as excitement and positivity and be heard and held by the group. Such space is so valuable as we gain much in our connection, compassion and empathy with one another.

Space for Connection with our Baby

Alongside the connections we forge with one another, at the very heart of the yoga practices is the connection we create with our baby. By using our breathing to let go of busy thoughts and anxieties, we cultivate a quiet, loving space within from which we can connect with our babies. We still the chatter around us and within us and listen to the feelings which arise. We share our thoughts and feelings with our babies, massage our growing bellies and use visualisation to connect with our baby. We use affirmations to share our love and positivity with our babies and create the time and space to nurture the beginning of one of the most important relationships of our life. These practices can be especially enjoyable if we are mothers to other children already and feel guilty that we have not yet ‘got into’ this pregnancy and begun to connect with our baby as we did the other times. We also explain how we, as mothers, are our baby’s first home, and how we can create a home of love, peace and welcome for our baby by cultivating such qualities ourselves. We are cultivating inner reserves of love, peace and wellbeing which we can return to in times of stress and struggle during pregnancy, labour and mothering.

Space in the Body

In the early months once any nausea has passed, as we first begin to feel our baby bump and those tiny fluttering kicks, the changes in our body can feel exciting, yet as our bump grows, we can begin to feel less and less comfortable in our own bodies, and for many of us, feel as though we have little space to even eat our tea. Here we can use the yoga postures, stretches and flowing movements to create space in our body, and space for our baby. Through learning to lengthen our spine, to ground and connect to the earth and strengthen our muscles we learn how to accommodate the changes which pregnancy brings, we learn to work with ourselves rather than against ourselves, and we find that we can, even at 40plus weeks of pregnancy enjoy a deep stretch through our legs, our shoulders and our spine. We learn how to use postures to create more space to breathe, to carry our babies with a strong and sturdy core, and to create a strong space from which to progress into labour and birth.

Space to Breathe

Breathing lies at the very heart of any yoga practice, and is an integral part of our pregnancy classes. We learn how to overcome the feeling of being short of breath and practice guiding our breath deep into our body, expanding our chest and breathing down into the deep space behind our baby. We learn how simply following our flowing breath can begin to calm a whirling, anxious mind and can bring us to a place where we can slow down, think clearly and make decisions. We learn how to breathe deeper than the intensity of the surges of labour and how the breath is the tool which will carry us through each and every contraction as we make our way ever closer to meeting our baby. We learn how the breath is the way we can let go, we can let go of anything we don’t need in the present moment; any pain, feeling, emotion or niggle, and we can let it go to create the space for what we would like to cultivate. We can breathe in PEACE and we can exhale RELEASE.

Space for Peace and Preparation

As we learn to create space in our body, to create space to connect with our baby and with our breath, so too do we begin to discover more of the deep space of peace which lies within. Through breathing, relaxation and flowing postures we find we are becoming ever more aware of the deep, quiet space of peace within. As our thoughts and anxieties still, we realise that we are so much more than just our minds; we realise that there is a part of us where we are deep, powerful and eternally peaceful. And it is this space which we can return to between contractions to find our strength to breathe through the next one, it is this space from which we can make decisions, can connect with our baby and find our true strength, love and power.

Space for Ourselves

A pregnancy yoga practice is an investment in ourselves; as mothers we are setting up strong boundaries, creating fences around ourselves and creating a little time where we put down our other commitments and responsibilities, we lay down our thoughts and anxieties and we commit to spending a little time and energy nurturing both ourselves and the baby within our womb. And we need not only do this nurturing once a week during the class, but we can set aside a little time now and then during our day to connect, nurture and invest in ourselves and our babies. We can begin the day with deep breathing, stretches and beautiful affirmations of strength and love. We can incorporate a walk, stretches and some spinal curls against the wall into our day, and we can end our day with a flowing posture practice and relaxation before we go to sleep. By continually cultivating this time for ourselves and our babies, we are adding to our reserve of inner resources which can be our lifeline as we face times of struggle, doubt, fear or depression. We can cultivate kind, loving affirmations towards ourselves to hold ourselves in times of doubt and anxiety and we can begin to love ourselves and care for ourselves with the same fierce love and commitment as we do our babies.

If you are interested in attending Pregnancy Yoga I offer classes in Whitehaven, West Cumbria.

Please contact me on 07906 188 345 or milestonesofmotherhood@yahoo.co.uk  and I look forward to welcoming you to the class.