Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yoga for Women: Fertility, Pregnancy and Postnatal Classes

After working with so many amazing women in our all-levels classes this past year, I decided it's time to set up some specialized classes that serve the unique needs of women.

Everyone is quite used to pregnancy yoga, but there are many other ways in which yoga can facilitate women's unique experiences. To meet these needs, I'm now offering three new classes at Healium: Fertility Yoga, Pregnancy Yoga and Postnatal Yoga.

Fertility Yoga

One great barometer of a woman's health is her fertility. Whether you're just past menarche, in the prime fertile years or heading towards menopause, maintaining your hormonal health is key to maintaining your total health.

In this class, we'll explore postures, breathwork and meditations that can support the balance of hormones, prevent anxiety and depression, as well as build muscle and bone.

This class if great if you are working towards pregnancy, have endometriosis or other menstrual conditions, or are heading into peri-menopause or have reached menopause. While this class is not designed to be a "treatment" or a "cure" for these issues, it is designed to support your process and bring about better health in an environment that is open and supportive.

Pregnancy Yoga

There are many styles of pregnancy yoga available, and many ways to teach and practice yoga for pregnancy. However, my perspective on many of them - when I was pregnant - is that they didn't do much to help me with pregnancy or prepare me for labor and birth.

So this class is designed to do that. We already adjust our usual, all-levels classes to suit prenatal needs, but this class allows us to explore in greater depth how the sequences facilitate a comfortable and healthy pregnancy as well as a beautiful labor and birth experience.

We'll work on specific postures that help the body adjust through the different trimesters of pregnancy - so that you have fewer aches and pains in your day-to-day life as your body adjusts to new physical demands. We'll also develop deep concentration and physical endurance to give ourselves opportunities to experience the sorts of intensity that we often encounter in labor and birth - a sort of specialized training for this unique life experience.

And, every few weeks we'll have a special class on breathing alone. According to traditional midwifery, a woman can "breathe out her baby" - no pushing, just a gentle process. We'll work on how to breathe most effectively to help access this capacity to prepare for the birth.

And of course it's a great complement to our other yoga classes, which are also (still) prenatal appropriate! So, you can take a number of classes during the week to work on these techniques that we develop in this special Pregnancy Yoga class.

Postnatal Yoga.

I remember what happened to my studio practice after I had my baby. I also remember how my back, hips and stomach felt afterwards. Babies weren't allowed in regular classes, and most of the classes weren't designed to handle my unique post-baby needs.

So, I did a home sequence, and now I'm offering that sequence to other mums!

In this class, we'll focus on realigning the hips, strengthening and aligning the pelvic floor (as well as getting ride of the mummy tummy!), creating strength and flexibility in the spine and releasing tension in the neck, arms and shoulders. And bring your babies (up to one year old) - because I know it's tough to take a class AND find a sitter!

Hang with other mums, and we'll also tell our birth stories and share some laughs about what it is to be a new mum (for the first, second, third or fourth time - or more for that matter!).

See you soon!

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