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The journey of pregnancy can be a tumultuous and exhilarating experience. It is not only a time for physical change, but emotionally it can feel like you’re on a rollercoaster. This is partly due to the influx of hormones rushing the body and partly due to the fact that your mind is simply reeling from the changes that are about to occur in your life.
Thoughts like “will I know what to do?”, “what kind of mother am I going to make?” and “am I going to be able to cope with birth?”, give way to feelings of anxiety, doubt and fear. We are often a mix of elation at being pregnant, anxious about the pregnancy going smoothly and fearful of what’s to come.
Unfortunately there’s no simple way of alleviating these fears, particularly as no one can tell you what your journey will bring. However, we can prepare ourselves to be in the best possible shape, both mentally and physically for whatever lies ahead.
Obviously things like a healthy diet, gentle exercise (like yoga) and rest can go a long way in preparing the body for the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth, but how do we prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for what, to a degree, is the unknown?
Breathing and meditation techniques are not only good preparation for labour, but they have a positive effect on our nervous system. Techniques such as deep belly breathing and quietening the mind stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system, which brings us into a ‘rest and digest’ phase. This essentially has a calming effect on the body, so you can imagine why this is particularly helpful during pregnancy and childbirth, not to mention postnatally when we’re dealing with the challenges of being a new mum. During pregnancy, this calming effect on our mental and emotional state also directly correlates to that of our baby – i.e., calm mother, calm baby!
The challenging thing about labour is that we’re trying to bring into harmony two natural and opposing reactions in the body. During labour we are trying to support the natural process of birth by counteracting the body’s natural reaction to pain. Yes, birthing is a natural process of the female body, but we also have an inbuilt reaction to our perception of pain.
Essentially, in preparation for labour we want to train ourselves to be able to use the breath to calm the body, going against or changing our body’s automatic reaction to contractions. When you’re in the throes of unfamiliar pain, breath control can be the first thing to go and it’s likely you’ll naturally want to tense up the body – this of course works negatively against the natural process of birth, which of course is to release and relax. Consequently, if using the breath to calm the body is a new concept for you, it won’t be a natural response. The key to using the breath to prepare for labour is to practice so that it becomes second nature, so that it becomes a natural response.
It has been said that the body uses the equivalent energy in childbirth that it would take to run a marathon. Well, you wouldn’t enter a marathon without training would you? The same goes for childbirth.
The journey can be a long and unpredictable one, but a journey that you can prepare for nonetheless. The power of yoga, and particularly prenatal specific yoga, is that your movement always has a focus on the breath. This is true of all yoga of course, but can be utilised in a specific way to support you during each stage of pregnancy, birth and beyond.
The more we move in connection with the breath in yoga during pregnancy, the more we are training the body for the breath to become second nature. Our movements support the changes in the body and build strength for labour, the breath prepares us physically and mentally for the endurance required for childbirth. The more we practice, the more likely it is then to become a natural response.
Of course you can also apply this concept to most aspects of life – stressful situations, busy periods, traumatic experiences. There’s no end to the benefit of exploring movement and breath for life.
Join us this Sunday for an exploration of how movement and breath can be used to support the body during pregnancy, labour and beyond.
Yoga & Wellness for your Pregnancy Journey ~ Sunday April 30, 1-3pm
Dr Elizabeth Johns & Dr Kate Johns (Osteopaths) from Eastern Osteopathy Melbourne will be discussing the changes that occur during pregnancy, covering common discomforts and conditions, exploring pelvic floor health and explaining the benefits of using movement & breath to support your journey.
Andrea, Yoga Therapist & Pre/Postnatal specialist, will be exploring specific exercises to support the changes in the body and guiding you through a prenatal yoga & meditation practice.
Breath & move for a healthier you and a happier baby.
About your presenters:
Dr Elizabeth & Dr Kathryn Johns / EASTERN OSTEOPATHY MELBOURNE
Both Kate & Liz are qualified Osteopaths, each with over 13 years experience, who regularly treat pregnant women and new mums, as well as newborn babies and children. They share similar views on how to effectively assist the ongoing physical changes, prepare the pelvic floor and pelvis for labour, as well as provide post birth care and treatment to help resolve any strains present and prevent potential long-term issues. They both recently attended a Female Pelvic Floor Workshop at the Nepean Hospital, which not only furthered their understanding of pelvic floor health and dysfunction, but became a big component of their day to day practice, allowing them to compassionately treat various complaints associated with pregnancy, postpartum and pelvic floor health. Liz has also completed training in Prenatal Yoga and Kate in Pre & Postnatal Pilates. This has allowed them to assist women both pre & postnatally using these modalities to support their osteopathic treatments.
_DSC7818 (2)Both Kate & Liz recently became mothers, which has enabled them to gain invaluable experience and further understand the changes and challenges women go through when expecting a baby and the recovery postpartum. They love sharing their integrated knowledge from this perspective to inspire you to fully embrace this special time and have the most comfortable experience possible.
Andrea Broadbear (Yoga Therapist) / YOGAMAMAS
Andrea Broadbear is a passionate yogi and mother of 2 (soon to be 3!) She completed her 500hr teacher training in 2010 and was immediately drawn to the pre & postnatal space, continuing her training to specialise in this area the following year. Of course it was the birth of her two children that allowed her to truly appreciate the benefits of yoga for pregnancy & beyond. Following her passion for supporting women through this important time, she furthered her training to include pre & postnatal biomechanics & prenatal Pilates, as well as completing a certificate in pelvic floor heatlh. Andy also recently completed a 500hr Grad Cert. in Yoga Therapy and teamed up with friend and fellow yogi, Kate Payne, to create YogaMamas ~ an online wellness space to support mamas & mamas-to-be through yoga. Andy’s prenatal classes are welcoming, informative and come from a space of experience and genuine care. She understands that pregnancy can be both an exciting and challenging time in a woman’s life and is passionate about supporting mamas-to-be on this journey.
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic power yoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au.  Or follow us:
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