Pregnancy Diary Week 14: Pregnancy Yoga
I have just been to my first pregnancy yoga session and am basking in the afterglow. Pregnancy yoga was one of my absolute favourite things about being pregnant with my eldest and it felt like the most positive and wholesome way for me to make time for myself and connect with my baby. I started at about 17 weeks pregnant and looked forward to it every week. I had done a fair bit of yoga before that but am certainly not a walking advert for yoga as one might picture it. I have always been fairly sporty and blessed with a reasonable set of abs (now masked by post-baby chub and my new pregnancy belly, such is life), but I am also gifted with a short and stocky lower half, which means that I am now, basically, a bit fat. So I have never had your typical yoga physique. I also have the flexibility of a log. All this does not scream yoga guru, but I bloody love it. Before I tried yoga, I had always pictured a room full of skinny vegans, wearing hessian smocks or inappropriate lycra, eyes closed and chanting. My first ever yoga teacher was some kind of Brazilian Goddess who taught in an all in one outfit, which I can only describe as a “fucktard”, revealing a figure that any woman would murder for, but also a slightly off putting camel toe. The epitome of inappropriate lycra. At various points throughout the class we were encouraged to do “cooling breaths”, which made everyone sound like a cross between Darth Vader and Donald Duck, and were done during the delivery of an overly wanky spiritual narrative, which was impossible for me not to giggle through. Needless to say, I did not get on with that class. Fortunately I tried a different class soon after, which offered the perfect balance of exertion and toning, with accessible moves that usually came with different options that were all clearly explained. This was delivered with a sprinkling of spiritualism by a very lovely and down to earth teacher, yes with an impressively toned figure and accompanying leggings, but teamed with respectfully long tops that didn’t showcase her lady area to the whole class. These classes helped me enormously when training for a marathon and I then continued to go weekly for a couple of years. I was hooked. I was really sad to leave these classes behind when I moved to Brighton. When I found out I was pregnant soon after the move, I was keen to try pregnancy yoga but also a bit apprehensive, having had two quite disparate experiences of yoga previously. A few things that could have made my first yoga experience worse was being larger than usual, more self-conscious than usual, slightly nauseous and overly emotional. A scary thought. So my new pregnancy yoga class had to be pretty special. Lushtums was recommended to me by a friend of a friend and was just what I was looking for. I remember being quite nervous before my first class, not knowing anybody there or quite what to expect, but I was instantly put at ease by Clare who has an infectious warmth, calmness and positivity. The class was completely incredible and made me feel relaxed yet energised and really put me in touch with being pregnant and what that meant for me, which was very empowering. It enabled me to meet and talk to other pregnant women and learn about the process of pregnancy from them and from Clare, as an expert in all things bump, baby and beyond. At the end of the class we enjoyed a relaxation session where we lay down with a pillow and a blanket. I had never been to an exercise class where you get a pillow and a blanket but feel this is the way forward for all recreational activities. How can it not be? The only thing missing was cake, but I had some afterwards. During this pregnancy, I have been longing for our scan for a number of reasons but partly so I could be legitimately “out” and begin pregnancy yoga again. Having a toddler makes it extra difficult to make time for yourself so my hour and a half of yoga each week feels like a haven of peace and nurturing in amongst the chaos of everyday life and is something I am really grateful for.