There are many good reasons to practice yoga during pregnancy and after birth.
However it is not always easy to find a nice yoga class nearby, and in the late trimester or even after birth, one doesn’t envisage trekking around town in search of a good OM. This is the perfect time to discover the beauty of yoga online.
How to learn pre/postnatal yoga online
After a few years of yoga practice, I finally trained to become a yoga teacher in Vancouver, Canada. Two weeks into my training, I realised that I would practice yoga and breathe for two. My training coincided with the whole first trimester of pregnancy accompanied by its delightful symptoms: fatigue, nausea, mood swings, insomnia. Despite the obvious physical discomfort, it was a wonderful experience and being pregnant made it even more special. When I returned to England, I lived in the countryside miles away from yoga classes. This is when I registered to gaia.com. For the rest of my pregnancy, I practiced yoga in the comfort of my living room, and I remember these moments fondly. After a long labour, when time came to push, I was readier than ever. The midwife looked at my husband in disbelief. ‘She prepared’, he explained.
Benefits of prenatal yoga
Yoga helps to keep you fit during pregnancy. You will strengthen hips, abdominal and back muscles which are under a lot of pressure during pregnancy because the centre of gravity changes. Yoga helps regulate your appetite, and hence keep those ice cream cravings under control. Yoga is also a wonderful way of bonding with baby and moving slowly together. Also, you will learn how to breathe and relax, skills that will prove invaluable on the big day.
I followed the classes of two different teachers online, they were both pregnant at the time of the video and their mums-to-be emotions come through. It creates a real closeness in this virtual relationship. The classes are ideal in length, from 15 to 55 minutes, so one can choose according to time, mood and energy levels.
I enjoyed practising the same classes often. During pregnancy, when there are so many new physical sensations and mental changes to accommodate, there is something comforting about repetition. I liked the fact that I started to anticipate the next pose and welcomed the useful reminders and tips that the teachers shared during the class.
A Flexible Practice
One of the obvious advantages of online yoga is that you don’t need to plan your class or travel. You can decide at any time to unroll your mat to have a quick stretch and small workout. Also, because you are comfortably at home, you can pause the class as many times as you need to for quick trips to the loo. You lose your inhibitions as well; yoga can be at bit intimidating at first, especially when your body is so different from what you are normally used to.
After a gentle workout, you can spend as much time on your mat as you like and have a good rest, without having to rush out and commute back. Relaxation after a prenatal yoga class is a wonderful way to re-balance hormones and energy levels. In other words, it’s alright to snore or even to cry and release the sometimes erratic flow of emotions that come with pregnancy.
What you will need
On the technical side, you will need either a smartphone, a laptop, or a computer as well as a good internet connection.
For the practice itself, a yoga mat, a comfortable outfit – pregnancy leggings, a big t-shirt and a well-fitted bra-, some pillows and a blanket.
If you have any doubts regarding your health during pregnancy do talk to your GP or midwife, before starting online classes.
Learn to meditate
Online yoga is a wonderful way to discover meditation. The practice of meditation can seem mysterious and possibly even new-agey, but it’s actually much simpler and more matter-of-fact than the non-initiated would imagine. There are some lovely meditations online and I actually downloaded them to have them ready for labour.
Meditation helps living in the moment and accepting what is: this makes a good preparation for labour and birth.
After giving birth, I found my lovely teachers again, teaching quick and easy postnatal classes. The class lengths are realistic, 20 minutes to help busy mums slowly get back in shape. Postnatal yoga is great to work at strengthening abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. It also does wonders for tired shoulders and upper arms, especially for breastfeeding mums.
As ‘Radiant Mom Yoga’ Janet Stone says in the introduction to her invigorating 23 minutes class‘ “This is a moment for ourselves, this is a moment to connect in. We can then offer out more wholly and fully.”