For a great prenatal yoga class in Paris, check out Yoga Bija Paris taught by Sharon Bales. Sharon teaches several weekly pre- and postnatal classes at various studios across Paris.
I am a firm believer in the powers of prenatal yoga. I have been passively interested in yoga for years, but when I became pregnant, I made a point of committing to my practice to prepare for the birth of my baby.
I was surprised to learn that prenatal yoga wasn’t just about relieving sore muscles. It was really a training camp for the marathon of childbirth. Prenatal yoga helps women release anxieties, develop breathing techniques, practice visualization, strengthen their pelvic floor, and open up their bodies to facilitate labour. Prenatal yoga classes also provide a safe and supportive environment where women can quietly bond with their growing babies.
I had a very swift, uncomplicated, and—dare I say—enjoyable labour, for which I have prenatal yoga to thank. On the day of my son’s birth, I woke up at 6 a.m. to pop felt in my belly. I sprung out of bed and ran into the shower so I could get a “head start” on getting ready for labour. I called out to my husband from the shower that I was pretty sure today was the day, and went back to thinking about doing my makeup and curling my hair before heading to the hospital. However, about 10 minutes into my shower, I realized that I was in active labour. Apparently, I had blissfully slept through early labour, and my contractions started coming on strong and fast.
I started gripping the shower walls and moaning to my husband to “start the app!” (a timer to track the duration and frequency of my contractions). The midwife arrived around 9:30 a.m. and announced that I was 3 cm dilated. By 11 a.m. we were at the hospital, where I paced back and forth in my spacious room and laboured in, what felt like, a luxurious tub. By noon, I was 7 cm dilated and coping remarkably well with labour. Yes, it hurt and I was moaning and swearing like a sailor, but I remembered my months of prenatal yoga practice: brahmari breathing, allowing my body to embrace the pain, visualizing each contraction bringing my baby closer to the world, and knowing that the moments of rest in between contractions were a slice of heaven.
I should also point out that I had not received an epidural or any form of pain relief up to this point. I found that not having any drugs during labour made me acutely aware of what was happening to my body: the contractions were pushing my baby further and further along the birth canal. Another benefit of not having an epidural was that I was able to move around freely. I was constantly changing my location, my position, based on the feedback coming from my adrenaline-filled body. By 3 p.m., I didn’t think I could take anymore. But my prenatal yoga practice, even during the most intense moments of my labour, had paid off. I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push. At 4:21 p.m., my son was born.
Because I had taken care to prepare my body during prenatal yoga and follow my practice during labour, I had no complications or tearing and was back on my feet in a matter of days. Prenatal yoga is one of the absolute best thing you can do to optimize your pregnancy and delivery.
If yoga isn’t your thing and you’re looking for a different kind of prenatal workout you can do at home or in the comfort of your hotel room in Paris, check out my friend Alyson’s blog post for her review of the “The Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project.”
Namaste tout le monde.
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