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Learning about pregnancy

Florence Lefebvre

In September this year, I decided to sign up for a Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, a well-known figure in the field and Lisa White, yoga teacher and owner of Yoga Place in Bethnal Green.

Of course we learnt about the physical and hormonal changes in the body during and post-pregnancy, the do's and don'ts, but I have to say that the most valuable element I had to relearn is to nurture the mothers.

We live in a society where individuals are expected to function no matter what, whether you have a cold, are feeling tired or in this case, are pregnant. Truth is pregnancy is a real roller coaster on the body; building a new human does not just happen without creating some commotions and it certainly does require some adjustments. Now is not the time to start working on inversions or training for that 10k-run!

If you are pregnant and are already a well-seasoned yoga practitioner, be reassured, there is a lot you can do but you absolutely need to take into account the new demands put on your body at this time. Your blood volume will increase by 40-50% which is likely to cause breathlessness. You are getting more flexible due to the production of the hormone relaxin and have to be careful not to overstretch and destabilise your joints. Your growing bump will also demand of you to adapt your breath as "belly breathing" won't be an option - especially in the third trimester - and the classic Mulha Bandha has to be let go off for the whole of your pregnancy. Pelvic floor muscles exercises are still taught but in the exact opposite way of Mulha Bandha. You will inhale and lift, exhale and release instead. And these are just a few bullet points!

Revisiting the breath, poses and pace of your practice might be mentally challenging at first but non-attachement to being onto your mat as you have known it until now is essential. Nothing is ever going to be the same anyway from now on and that is more than ok!

By taking up pregnancy yoga, you are likely to find that your mind, your body and therefore your child hugely benefit. The practice is centered on your specific needs during this period as an ever-changing entity of two bodies - physical, mental, emotional -. It will help you get in touch more fully with the mother that you are becoming, trusting your inner wisdom and being reminded that you already intuitively know everything you need to know to look after your baby and yourself.