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Pre natal yoga blog

Michela has produced a beautifully written and illustrated account of her thoughts and feelings after attending prenatal yoga with Antonella her prenatal yoga teacher and Erika her Midwife.

Michela likes the idea of finding space in her life for herself, her baby and making this vital connection whilst pregnant. This is so important, to find space in your body and heart for a baby whether its your first or subsequent pregnancy. The asanas bring awareness of the birthing muscles involved with pregnancy and birth. Anatomy of pregnancy and birth are also discussed in these fun and informative classes which empowers us as women to know what is happening to you and your baby during the birth process. To birth as a woman is instinctive, but more people including maternity professionals need to trust in this timeless process. Classes can become body memories and as a birthing woman you will remember certain things, in particular the breathing, which will help you in all situations through out your life.

Antonella attended the Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Health Professionals course in London in 2012 presented by myself and Alison a, Friend, Midwife and Yoga teacher. Ellie came  with great enthusiasm and commitment for women as has since birthed a beautiful daughter Stella.This enthusiasm and passion will always be reflected in her work and classes, and I feel incredibly proud of her.

Wendy Gadsden
Birthlight Yoga Tutor for Maternity Professionals

Pre Natal Yoga - A Blog by Michaela

Original blog in Italian

Translation below...

Lesson number 1

I do admit, I got there partly by chance and partly cause I wanted it….
To clarity, between all the thoughts of a working mum who has to think, do, organize a lot, in the last few months the word Yoga kept coming up. But then, I asked myself, could I possibly enroll in a “normal” course (for non-pregnant people, I mean) I didn’t know where to go…So, the usual excuses we all find when we don’t really want to do something.

And then, all of a sudden, a friend of mine posted on Facebook a link on Pre Natal Yoga classes! As soon as I had a minute, I checked out the website,  and I immediately decided to contact the teacher. Two days after, I had started my first lesson!
So here we go, straight to the point. The atmosphere was really relaxing: a bright, serene, welcoming loft, which makes you feel at home. Even the midwife Erika and the teacher Antonella, are welcoming people who put you at ease. For example, our lesson had started with a warm herbal tea and biscuits!
Then, we had a theory part. Interesting, having never done Yoga before, it was a pleasant  and informative introduction for me.

Then, we started trying out some exercises. I can’t explain how surprised I was! No, not just about the fact that I had very little equilibrium, and felt sore muscles during certain positions.
My biggest surprise indeed was having felt for the very first time, in five months, that the baby I carry inside had always been there, waiting for me! He awaited me, and I was always so busy that I hadn’t had time to give him a hug yet.  The reason I had enrolled this course was easy: for once, I wanted to dedicate some time to myself, even just an hour, but it had to be just for me. Mums know well, that sometimes even at the toilets you have one or more kid following you, and even the shower isn’t relaxing anymore.
Instead, I had discovered a tiny flower, which had blossomed and was just waiting to be admired, smelled, watered….I had found a connection with the tiny flower I carry within me, and that I probably took for granted. I found out that rather than dedicating myself some time, I needed to dedicate US some time!
After this first lesson, I already feel like recommending all pregnant women to try out this experience. Let’s see what kind of things I’ll learn next time! I cant wait already!

Lesson number 2

I finally have some time to tell you about my second Pre Natal yoga lesson! This time, we did very little theory and lots of practice….in fact, my muscles can feel it, today!

But first I’d like to explain what prenatal yoga is…As my teacher Antonella said in her website, “Prenatal yoga is such a big help not just to your body which changes a lot, to your mind that needs rest and concentration, but also to the delicate and intense connection between mum and baby. Yoga postures (Asanas) practiced during pregnancy, slowly and carefully, help women to keep in shape, meanwhile finding a mental and spiritual awareness that really helps.

Our lesson started with Erika the midwife, who gave us some info on Staminal Cells and preserving the umbilical cordon, so we can read on during the next days and talk about it again next time.

Then, we started with practicing. I learnt lots of good positions for backache, or those who tend to lean forward with their posture – just my own case! This is the simplest one. You go on the Cat pose, an all fours, with legs as wide apart as shoulders and legs opened. Toes need to touch each other. Then you lean forward as if sitting, at the same time stretching arms. In the final position, arms legs and head have to be close to the mat. But please, do follow a teachers instructions while learning, or you could get damages rather than benefits.

Another exercise to favor optimal faetal positioning, but also during labor, is as follows: starting from the Cat position, (on all fours) but your feet needs to be as wide open as your knees. Then you start circling with your hips. Which means, your hips nearly touch the floor. Even doing “8” movements are perfect. While learning, make sure you are guided by a teacher.

Finally, we learnt the “alternate nostril breathing”, useful during labor as well. You place your index and middle finger on your forehead, (incidentally, where the third eye, the wisdom is) then with your thumb, you block the right nostril. Then, you breathe in with the left one. Taking your thumb out, you block the left nostril now and exhale (making a deep long one) with the right nostril. You inhale with the right and block the left nostril, and so on, alternating the breathing.

Lesson number 3

Today, third lesson: we have discovered that we have a pelvic floor!

We started out with Erika the midwife, who brought along his tiny Filippo, a baby boy doll with his own umbilical cord, placenta and mum’s pelvis. It was really interesting to see the movements a baby has to do, in order to come out, and how a mother’s body modifies to make space for him. This image is an example, your midwife might explain it too.

Otherwise, come and practice with us and you’ll meet Filippo too!

We also had some info about the perineum area and how to prepare for birth, strenghtening the pelvic floor area. But do YOU know, what it is?    

The perineum consists of muscles at the bottom of your hips, which means those muscles that sit on the bike. It is also called pelvic floor, (maybe for its shape, as the muscles  and  ligaments are horizontal and close up the hips). These muscles are between the pubic bone and the end of the spine. These muscles support the bladder, uterus and intestines.

Il perineo -

IF the pelvic floor is weak, it can cause problems such as incontinence (meaning, you cannot control your urine flow) or reduce the sensibility during sexual intercourse (as explained by NHS).

So if you are pregnant, or are planning for a pregnancy, you can practice some simple exercises to reduce these problems.

Now, I’ll tell you about the practical part of the lesson. We started with the butterfly.

Posizione della Farfalla - immagine da

This posture allows the hips to be opened, making space to the baby inside. Hands needs to be on ankles to favor a straight spine. Antonella, our teacher, advised us to put our hands behind the back, well pressed on the floor, pushing our chest out a bit, so we were even straighter. Then, we were back on all fours (cat Asana) and we were guided in a series of exercises for the perineum. We had the opportunity to really understand where these muscles are and how to move them to keep them strong and flexible.

I will never get tired of saying to make sure you have a competent person to teach you Yoga and perineum rehabilitation,  in the best possible way.

This lesson, too, made me feel relaxed and helped me with the awareness that small, daily gestures (like simple Yoga postures or pelvic floor exercises) can really help with a better labor and awareness of your body and how it will change during the birth of your baby. For the third time, I really feel like I didn’t waste time, and I advise all of you to start a Prenatal Yoga class.

Lesson number 4

So here we go, with the fourth lesson, of our Prenatal Yoga class, and today very little theory, lots of practice. Some exercise was badly needed, you always feel better after.

L'insegnate di yoga pre natale Antonella Torti.

This time, even the postures were more difficult than usual…..Luckily my belly is not that big yet, so I was  allright, at least, I think so). The triangle pose and the warrior help with opening the hips and finding a balance between our inside and outside…

What I mean is, the basic PreNatal Yoga concept, which is to create a space inside of us, to welcome the growing baby and open to the outside, at the same time, and  to enable labor and birth to be easier.

La posizione del triangolo (semplificata).

I really like this idea, of making space. A bit like when you de-clutter a room, tyding up. It’s hard while you are doing it (like when you practice) but after, everything looks more beautiful, spacious, bright. I like  to think that I am creating a more comfortable, spacious, cosy place for the baby growing inside of me. Just like I am preparing the internal space, I am getting ready for the outside, as the road to my baby’s birth is as wide and welcoming. Often, we just think of material stuff, and what the baby will need when he’ll be in this world: clothes, nappies, crib etc. But then you forget to prepare a welcoming environment while he is in your belly, as you think that while he is inside, he’s fine. True, he is protected, eats, sleeps, play. But he also feels our presence, hears our voice through the vibrations in the amniotic liquid, he is cradled while we walk, and eats what we eat, hears our heartbeat, and feels the changes (so in a sense, he feels our emotions). So if we think about it, he really can hear and feel everything we live.

If we look at this point of view, it comes easier to think that he need a warm environment while he is inside. Once he is out, he will recognize his mother from the same warm hug, that will remind him of the warm hug he felt while he was still inside. All this for me, is Pre Natal Yoga!

La posizione dell'albero.

But now, let’s carry on with our lesson! The Bee Breath, made me smile, reminded me of when I was a child. All you do is block your ears and make a vibration sound like mmmmm. The fact that no external noises can be heard, but just your own sound, allows you to isolate completely and connect just with our baby, that feels the sound through the vibrations of our body and the liquid. A kind of exchange between mum and baby. Our midwife has underlined how this breathing can be nice with Water Birth, as the vibrations go all around in the water as well!

Finally, we did some meditation, the part I prefer.  we 
I had done something similar at the pre-natal classes with the midwife Erika. And I remember that I really enjoyed it too. It’s a sort of guided meditation that allows the mother to connect with her baby, hug him sending positive energy and imagining our body that opens up and, well I cant really explain all the emotions you feel then! It’s just like the external world disappeared, and there was only me, Mother, and Baby.

I would like to write more and more, but it’s getting too long. But one thing, I really want to add, I just cant keep it to myself. During the whole lesson, my Baby moved, as if to tell me he was there too! And even now that Im writing, thinking back about the nice emotions I felt, he keeps shaking! You might think it’s just my fantasy, but I do really believe that him or her feels or felt during the lesson, that I was there just for him/her and I was dedicating some time just to him/her, without any interference of brothers, work, telephone etc.!

Lesson number 5

Today, I am a bit sad. This was our last lesson for this course..But I have already booked for the next one!Instead of leaving thank yous til the end, I would like to do it here, and thank:

Erika, my midwife who is always close to me in the last few years, and its thanks to her that I found out about this course!

Antonella, my Pre Natal yoga teacher, because she was able to make me feel really deep emotions!

And thanks to my classmates during the course: Giulia, Marzia e Francesca. Thanks for sharing your experiences and feelings. I wish you all well and that your babies bring you lots of joy!

So, after this touching moment, I recollect myself, and will explain what we did in our last lesson.

Firstly, we tried the Sun Salutation, as usual simplified for our bellies! I only had to do it twice, to feel tired. I think it’s a sign that I’m still out of shape. I ill try do more. With this exercise, you really get ready to face the day, because all muscles “wake up”,  stretch, open to the world.

Il saluto al sole - immagine da ecplanet

This time, too we did some pair work, including the Warrior. Couple work, I’m not sure if I told you, add to the benefits of Yoga, the trust in each other. You should need a glance, to understand each other and follow the strength or to support the weakness of your partner.

Michela and Marzia

The Ujayi or Ocean breath, is another type of breathing that might be useful during labor. We were in the Mountain position, standing up with legs slightly apart, hands near the body and eyes closed. You inhale normally and exhale with your throat, so you feel like you are making a noise. Exhaling needs to be longer than inhaling. Keeping your eyes closed, without being disturbed by external noises and just feeling the noise you make with the throat, you really feel like you are beside the seaside, listening to waves on the beach. It is really relaxing!

La respirazione dell'oceano - immagine

Another exercise we did, was some meditation. We sat comfortably and imagined a Golden Tread coming our of our mouth and climbing high. This small thread became slowly a rope, to which we could grab on to lessen the pain and effort during labor. The same golden light enveloped the baby in our belly. I adore these relaxing moments as they really help my mind to free itself from all thoughts, concentrating on my emotions and on the baby growing inside of me!

As I mentioned, this was our last lesson for now, but I will surely continue the course, so keep tuned for more! For anyone interested in a Pre Natal Yoga course (Brescia city), you can get in touch with  Antonella Torti through her website or Facebook page.