Enhancing the journey
Teaching yoga during pregnancy and beyond. By Sue Fuller
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Yoga has an incredible ability to enhance, enrich and support life’s ever-changing path. This is one of the many reasons why the career of a yoga teacher can be so rewarding. It seems that there is not one situation or experience that yoga practices are unable to support. The words from the late Krishnamacharya “if you can breathe then you can do yoga” consistently ring true.
Yoga was once practiced only by men, now the benefits are enjoyed universally by all genders. Yoga knows no boundaries. Due to its enhancing and supportive qualities, practices can be modified to ensure that they provide a safe and relevant practice for all — pregnancy is no exception. A well-structured yoga class can provide an appropriate practice for all stages of pregnancy and the postnatal period. Teaching yoga during pregnancy allows yoga teachers to share valuable techniques that can be drawn on not only during pregnancy but for life.
Life during pregnancy can be magical although emotions may fluctuate, and different anxieties or fears could be experienced. Yoga can help to balance these emotions. It teaches techniques that soothe the nervous system to help maintain healthy stress levels, reduce anxiety and induce relaxation. Yoga teaches valuable breathing practices that can be drawn on during labour. It prepares the body physically for birth and provides a time to bond with the growing baby. Postnatal yoga helps to restore and rebuild strength in areas where the body has been physically challenged, whilst providing a time to relax and regain emotional strength and vitality.
In addition, prenatal and postnatal yoga classes provide support and a sense of community. For some people, their yoga classes might be one of the few times that they interact with other adults who have shared or who are going through similar experiences.
Teaching antenatal and postnatal yoga is enriching, it enables teachers to share practices that are beneficial. At times, life can feel hectic or even overwhelming during pregnancy and beyond, finding time for self-love might not be easy, yoga classes provide this time. Students that attend usually want to practice yoga not only for themselves but to benefit their growing babies and the rest of the family too. Techniques learnt during yoga classes can be drawn on beyond the parameters of the yoga mat, such as easing achy or swollen joints at the end of the day, or during labour to help manage pain or to help soothe both mother and baby in those early days of being a new parent. Being a part of this journey as a yoga teacher is both magical and rewarding.
Sue Fuller is the founder of Yoga 2 Hear and creator of the Yoga 2 Hear Diploma in Teaching Yoga. Visit: yoga2hear.co.uk.