Posts tagged pregnancy yoga
Connecting with your unborn child
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Connecting with your unborn child
by Louise Palmer-Masterton

In 2006 I had the very good fortune to spend some one-one time with Frederick Leboyer, author of the seminal text ‘Birth Without Violence’ his 1974 book that changed the face of obstetric practice.

Monsieur Leboyer, who sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 98, was a former obstetrician who ultimately eschewed modern obstetric practice and turned to writing the story of birth from the child’s perspective. In Birth Without Violence, for the first time in history, he painted the infant's view of birth - coming from the quiet, calm womb into bright lights, noise, stress and separation (when immediately after birth the child would be taken from its mother to be prodded and ‘tested’).

Before Leboyer childbirth had always been about the mother, the procedures, the hospitals - everything but the infant, and whilst his book was initially opposed by his fellow obstetricians, midwives and mothers themselves did take notice, and slowly but surely things began to change. It is now commonplace that delivery rooms are quiet, low lit places, infants are now allowed to rest with their mothers immediately after birth. These and many more changes can be directly attributed to Leboyer’s book.

Back to my meeting Leboyer. It was even more fortunate for me that at the time of our meeting I was myself 5 months pregnant, and because of this he rather took me under his wing.

He was in his late eighties when we met, and a rather wonderful, slightly stroppy french man, with a very big twinkle in his eye.

He taught me something which went on to become the basis of what we teach at CAMYOGA in pregnancy yoga, pregnancy trainings, and our active birth workshops.

He said..

“Every day, from when you are 6 months pregnant, take 15 mins out of your day. Find a quiet place to sit and meditate. Once you are settled and focussed, take your attention to your baby. Really bring all of your focus to your baby.

Then let your baby know that you are there, and that you are listening.

Then you simply spend some time ‘listening’ to your baby.”

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He told me that if I did this every day from 6 months my baby would know me, and be connected to me, and feel safe in being born. He told me she would not cry when she was born. And guess what? She did not, and she has scarcely cried since. She was the most chilled, relaxed baby who has grown into a remarkable child. 


This article was originally written for the September 2017 issue of OM Yoga Magazine

Congratulations Pregnancy Yoga Diploma Graduates!

Congratulations to our newly qualified pregnancy yoga teachers! Here are some images and impressions from the 4 day course. We run this course once a year and is open to 200hr qualified yoga teachers wanting to advance their teaching, PLUS it can also be part of the 500hr diploma!

Our 2018 dates will be announced shortly, keep an eye on the Teaching Pregnancy Yoga page for more info. Otherwise, just drop us a line to register your interest.

Love from CAMYOGA xx

I learnt SO much more than I thought I would. We not only learnt about yoga poses, but also about stages of pregnancy, stages of birth, the anatomy of the pelvis etc. This gave me knowledge to explain WHY we teach certain things.
— L.L
I am very pleased that I chose to do the course, and I feel a lot more informed now. I won’t panic if a pregnant lady turns up in class!!
— A.D
Thank you Rachael! You were fantastic at teaching us all your pearls of wisdom. I loved every second of it and I feel so confident to safely teach pregnant women yoga and how to ease their labour!
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You learn so much more than just yoga poses. This course sets you up with the knowledge and expertise to safely teach yoga to pregnant women safely
— L.L.
Three Questions: Rachael Moore

5738_756088144418888_1458938958_nThree Questions: Rachael Moore

What yoga teacher has had the most influence on you?

RACHAEL: I have been lucky enough to have met and been taught by some really amazing teachers over the last 16 years . Each one in their own way has had an impact not only in my own evolving practice but the way I develop as a teacher myself. I really do believe you are drawn to particular teachers/styles of yoga at certain times in your life that will enrich and evolve your practice as well as yourself as an individual. My very first yoga teacher was Camyoga's Iyengar teacher Karen Stamper. Karen had a huge impact on me as she was responsible for igniting this little flame in me that has lead me to where I am today. My first pregnancy teacher Francoise Freedman was also hugely influential in demonstrating to me just how powerful and transformative the practice of yoga could truly be. More recently, vinyasa flow teacher Claire Missingham and Beverley Nolan have continued to inspire me with their knowledge and passion for this beautiful, ever constant but evolving practice.

Which is your least favourite yoga pose?

RACHAEL: Hmmm, tricky! I think that actually depends on whats going on for me at the time and as cliche as it sounds, the ones you don't particularly enjoy are usually the ones that can offer you the most ! Core strengthening poses are always challenging for me, as are arm balances for the simple reason that they are hard work and extremely humbling!! However, the flip side of that is that there is always somewhere to be aiming for, to keep you interested and switched on to the sensations in your body as they arise. It is a constant voyage of discovery so whats not to like!

What is the best way to build up strength for chaturanga? I find lowering down slowly really difficult as my arms are quite weak.?

RACHAEL: Chaturanga is a really strong demanding pose and although visited frequently in a flow class is often not 'taught' in a step by step way. To avoid injury, Chaturanga demands huge core and upper body strength as well as careful attention to alignment. Whilst building up towards the full pose, there are a few ways of building the upper body strength required. One way is to practice against the wall. Stand a few feet away, arms level with the chest. Slowly lower toward the wall, bending the elbows so the forearms are at a right angle and the forehead comes to the wall. Hold for a breath (or two!) and then slowly press back. Gradually build up the number of times you can comfortably repeat this. Other ways to build the necessary strength is to come to plank and before lowering, lower the knees to the ground before lowering your body or come to the knees, chest and chin variation both of which develop your strength and awareness of alignment. Dolphin (forearm dog) and forearm plank are also great for building core and upper body strength. In terms of your alignment, always ensure your wrists are in line with your shoulders and never 'behind' as this can cause huge stress in the wrist joint.

Rachael Moore teaches Yoga Flow, Pregnancy Yoga, and Active Birth at Camyoga. Click here to view her weekly classes and here for details of her next Active Birth Workshop.

Rachael Moore Answers Your Pregnancy Yoga Questions: Part Two

Rachael Moore Answers Your Pregnancy Yoga & Yoga Flow Questions: Part Two

prenatal-yogaRead Part 1 here

5) What postures are totally off limits whilst I'm pregnant?

Rachael: The guidelines seem to always be changing and there are always some women that will continue exactly as they did pre-pregnancy with no issues. However, as a teacher responsible for your wellbeing whilst on my class I would never recommend strong backbends such as urdvha dhanurasana (wheel )or ustrasana (camel). Twisting and revolved postures are also not recommend because of the compression they cause across the abdomen. Inversions is another area I would approach with caution. As I mentioned, you will see people doing headstand/handstand during pregnancy. There are many reasons these are contra-indicated in pregnancy, (not least because of the injury you potentially cause to yourself if you fell out of one as your centre of gravity is constantly changing!) and although there is a safe modified version of Viparitta Korani (legs up against the wall) this is best being demonstrated and talked through with the teacher first so as relevant questions can be asked and props used.

Pregnancy is such an amazing, transformative time in a woman's life and in the scheme of things lasts for such a short while. I really believe this is a beautiful time to explore the more nurturing, nourishing and supportive elements of your practice. The emphasis shifts from the practice being all about your needs to that of being about the two of you and how it can best serve you both.

6) You use a lot of mudras in your flow classes. Could you tell us more about the significance of these?

Rachael: You're right! I do like to use mudras in my classes as I think it adds another subtle and energetic layer to the practice. This is a huge area that one can read about if it interests you, but very briefly, a mudra has many meanings. A mudra can include eye positions, body postures or breathing techniques as well as the more familiar haste (hand) mudras used in class, to convey a gesture, a seal or symbol. it is believed that mudras engage certain areas of the brain and/or soul and exercise a corresponding influence on them. These hugely symbolic gestures, depict certain states of consciousness, which can then help lead the practioner to the states of consciousness that that they symbolise. So for example, when we practice earth mudra in class, it is believed it will help promote feelings of security, confidence, strength and being grounded.

Rachel-Moore

Rachael Moore teaches Yoga Flow and Pregnancy Yoga at Camyoga. For a list of her scheduled classes please click here. Rachael is also a member of our Teacher Training Faculty.

Rachael Moore Answers Your Pregnancy Yoga Questions

Rachael Moore Answers Your Pregnancy Yoga Questions: Part One

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1) How far into my pregnancy can I continue with my yoga practice?

Rachael: With some considered modifications and really taking into account how you are feeling at the time of your practice, there is absolutely no reason why you can not continue your practice and reap the benefits of a regular practice right up to the point when you go into labour!

2) Have you ever had anyone go into labour in one of your classes?

Rachael: Thankfully no! Not yet anyway!

3) Can I keep going to my regular yoga class whilst I am pregnant? I have quite a strong practice.

Rachael: This is both a yes & no answer! It depends on what style of yoga you practice and whether your regular teacher is happy to include you into the class and is aware of how to safely modify the practice for your pregnancy.

If you have a hot yoga practice then I'd look to changing to a non-hot class. If you have a very strong vinyasa/ashtanga practice then you will need to modify your practice, for example, avoiding twisting postures (or modify to an open twist), no big backbends (ie. urdvha Dhanurasana - wheel) or strong core work and stepping instead of jumping back.

You may find that the further you progress through your pregnancy, the more you will be drawn towards a softer practice, focussing on hip opening, sequences to help with common pregnancy ailments and breath work to help with relaxation. If you maintain your regular practice, it would be worthwhile complimenting it with some pregnancy yoga classes as well, to learn how to work with your ever-changing body and needs at this transformative time both for your pregnancy and labour itself.

4) Did you do yoga during your pregnancies?

Rachael: Yes I went to pregnancy yoga classes during all three of my pregnancies. I have no doubt what so ever that it was my yoga practice that contributed hugely towards three amazing natural active births. Although you can never guarantee how your pregnancy and labour will progress, I strongly believe that by preparing your body and mind, informing yourself and embodying this knowledge you enable yoursef to have the best chance possible of having the pregnancy and labour that nature intended!

Rachel-Moore

Rachael Moore teaches Yoga Flow and Pregnancy Yoga at Camyoga. For a list of her scheduled classes please click here. Rachael is also a member of our Teacher Training Faculty.