Prenatal Yoga; a Prescription for Life-Giving

At UMEUS we believe that pregnancy yoga should be as ubiquitous for the prenatal body as drinking water to avoid oedema, or taking folic acid to aid cell production. Yoga has a vital role to play in the lives of pregnant women and their developing babies, and it is our hope that more women will gain access to yoga at this stage in their lives, through connections with community and health services.

The physical aspects of yoga provide many obvious benefits. Maintaining suppleness as our form changes and affording opening and space around flesh, bone and organs, are crucial for a more comfortable pregnancy. Connecting with breathing, and supporting the parasympathetic nervous system, especially when lung capacity is restricted, can make a huge difference for sleeping, for eating and digestion, and simply getting along with every day tasks as the weight lifting increases. Building strength and resilience, are often cited as reasons for signing up to pregnancy yoga classes, but it’s exciting to know that there’s so much more to be gained.

Most women will attest that the hormonal fluctuations and emotional experiences encountered whilst pregnant can be exhausting. Awareness of breath and posture during yoga practice can help us to attune to the changes in our bodies. Having this heightened appreciation of internal energies and how to relate to them in life off the mat as well as on, can be empowering and releasing. It’s a feeling every women deserves; to recognise her internal dialogue and be able to respond with kindness to herself. ‘Ah, so that’s why I’m feeling so tired, I see exactly what I need now…,” Not only does the exhaustion take less physical toll if it’s understood through sense, but anxiety about being exhausted can also be reduced, which is nothing but good news, for expectant mothers, babies, fathers, in fact for all concerned, ad infinitum.

Given that women from all backgrounds, demeanours and experience report feelings of disempowerment when entering into the ‘process’ of being pregnant, it’s worth considering that yoga offers many a sense of ownership and responsibility for a body that is giving life to another. Women entering any kind of birth, be it in a hospital, at home, or in a community setting, can find themselves feeling more confident about their bodies, be more accepting of the actuality of birth, and more able to communicate with the support around them in a wholehearted way. Of course, prenatal yoga doesn’t guarantee an easy or uncomplicated birth, but it does afford women and partners a chance to be with their own experience, and to hold a greater acceptance of what unfolds.

Yoga during pregnancy can also help expectant parents connect with their babies. The increased interoception from practicing yoga allows women to feel more subtle movements, as well as becoming aware of the synchronised rhythms that will continue after birth, when another form of interaction will begin. Having an in utero relationship provides an early connection to your child’s body that will contribute to getting a sense of their needs during every stage of infancy and beyond.

UMEspace is UMEUS’ place for all things yoga and movement, and it’s wonderful to be offering Pregnancy Yoga to our community.
Senior Yoga teacher Ana Marcela Wakeham invites women to experience the anatomy and physiology of their own bodies and expression of the felt sense with somatic exercises, conscious explorations, imagery, and visualisations.

Sessions start Fridays from January 11th 2019.
11:45-12:45 at the Phoenix Community Centre, Brighton.
£10/£8 for concessions.

We welcome pregnant people of all abilities, but please do get in touch if you have any queries or special requirements.

Ana Marcela also facilitates our UMEspace Post-Natal Pilates, Fridays at 13:00-14:00, also £10/£8. This session is for mamas post birth offering a slow and gentle, but effective body-awareness Pilates class, to help improve flexibility, movement, and tone core and postural muscles following pregnancy and birth.

Ana Marcela Wakeham has been teaching dance since 1997, and as s Senior Yoga teacher certified by the Yoga Alliance Professionals UK, she applies her evolution in movement to all her sessions. Explorative and curious by nature, her embodied practices blend her learning, with a curious and explorative nature that is contagious and inclusive. She is certified to teach pregnancy yoga from the British School of Yoga, and as a mother her enquiry continues on and off the mat.

Find out more about Marcela and the rest of the UMEspace team here…