I left off a few weeks back having spent the majority of my first trimester feeling pretty rubbish. Morning sickness, exhaustion, little yoga teaching and, worst of all, no yoga practice. I was pretty miserable in all honesty but knew that beating myself up was only going to contribute to me feeling rubbish, so I signed up for two teacher trainings so that I could continue on my yoga journey whilst allowing my body the time it needed to grow my baby.
The first training I embarked on was my pregnancy yoga training. I took this with renowned pregnancy yoga expert and doula, Nadia Narain, at Triyoga in London. Nadia was amazing – honest, insightful, knowledgeable and full of character. She taught us about pregnancy yoga in a way that seemed real and reminded us just how powerful the female body is. As well as Nadia, we spent time with an osteopath, a midwife and a doula and the message was loud and clear – giving birth is the most natural thing in the world and we should embrace instead of fear it. As a pregnant woman myself, this training and communication was invaluable to how I approach my own pregnancy.
The other training I conducted was in Yin/Yang yoga, with Sarah Corbett at Whitespace Studio. The idea behind this form of yoga practice is based around the traditional Chinese (Daoist) theory of yin and yang. I won’t go in to too much detail here because I have a whole blog post dedicated to this exact subject coming soon, but the idea of exercise being yin or yang is pretty revolutionary. Yang forms of exercise are all about strength, stamina and power (think running, swimming, cycling, gym workouts, vinyasa yoga, hot yoga), whereas yin yoga is all about relaxing and releasing in the body and mind to get a deeper, more internal stretch. It’s still, calm, quiet, and the focus is on relaxation. Both yin and yang are essential to human health.
Thinking back, both of these trainings taught me a very similar lesson – to release, to relax, to soften, to let go. They both provided me with new insights in to myself and how I approach things in life. Instead of forcing myself to think or do certain things, I should allow my body to dictate what it needs.
With this new positive outlook I set out on the path to get my yoga practice back and to set up my own yoga classes in the local area. I decided to start teaching one class at a time so as not to overwhelm myself. I began teaching a Tuesday evening vinyasa flow class in Leighton Buzzard and quickly added in a Thursday night candlelight Yin Yoga class. I am now just about to add pregnancy yoga to the schedule with a class starting at YogaBuddy Studio & Juice Bar in Wolverton, Milton Keynes, starting this week. I can’t think of a more inspiring class to teach whilst experiencing pregnancy myself.
Teaching a ‘community’ class is a very different experience to teaching at a yoga studio. To start with, most people who are attending my classes are very new to yoga. It’s meant that my approach to teaching has had to change and I have to remember that overwhelming feeling of being a beginner again. It’s important that I take classes step-by-step, am encouraging and understanding, and provide an abundance of modifications. I need to find the balance between encouraging people to achieve the unachievable whilst making them feel safe and secure. As a result I can feel myself growing and evolving as a teacher.
There is such a sense of achievement in people coming back to class again and again and it’s given me the confidence to set up two more classes, this time at a lovely venue called The Studio in Leighton Buzzard. I’ll keep you posted on when these are coming. Most pregnant women start to slow down as their pregnancy progresses but I have more mojo than ever and am full steam ahead. I am currently letting my body guide me and will carry on teaching and practicing for as long as I feel good.
On that note, I have to add that pregnancy now feels great. As soon as I emerged from the first trimester I started to feel healthier, happier and full of life. Nothing will beat the feeling of your baby moving inside your body and it’s not just kicking you can feel…it’s squirming, rolling, waving, stretching, yawning, hiccupping and generally having a lovely time in there. I only wish my husband Stuart could jump in my body for a few hours to feel what I feel…but I guess that is the beauty of being a woman and something completely unique to us. Building a bond with your baby is so special and as I venture through these next few months I am embracing my mind, my body and my baby.