YogaBirth - Pregnancy Yoga

This was the best two hours of my pregnancy. Muzzi

I come out of yoga class every week feeling like a new person. I walk in exhausted and leave feeling refreshed! Joelle

You and your classes are such a profound part of my birthing experiences. Amy

The yoga of YogaBirth is inspired by Vanda Scaravelli- with awareness of gravity, breath and subtle motions through your spine and the whole of your body. Some feels gentle, some stronger. All is done with great care and attention to how you feel at different times in pregnancy, and what your body needs.

The birth of YogaBirth is rooted in Active Birth- using yoga as a way to prepare for birth with your body, breath and intuition. Many yoga postures and movements are also physiological labour and birth positions. Full, rhythmic yoga breathing turns into the natural breath of labour and birth. By practising these each week they become familiar and soothing, and they awaken the deep instincts in your body for birth. Then, when you’re in labour you’ll move and breathe more easily, and you’ll find the most comfortable positions which also help your body work well…. exactly as women have done throughout time to birth their babies.

For 90 minutes each week, we practise gentle yoga to enhance your health and wellbeing during pregnancy. Yoga is beneficial in so many ways, as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable way to come out of your head and into your body- the best possible preparation for labour and birth- and to have some precious time to yourself.
YogaBirth will also help you to:

• Experience full, healthy breathing and a feeling of space in your body
• Improve your balance and posture, easing backache and pelvic pain
• Learn simple movements you can do every day to feel good
• Understand and effectively do pelvic floor exercises
• Encourage your baby into an optimal position for uncomplicated labour
• Ease swelling, varicose veins, piles, heartburn, shortness of breath, insomnia, anxiety
• Relax and meet other pregnant people in a supportive and informative environment
• Connect with your baby and enjoy lovely moments in your pregnancy
• Prepare for birth in a very special and effective way.

My yoga classes are infused with birth learning, in a way unique to YogaBirth/ Active Birth, and based on my experiences supporting birthing women as a doula for over 20 years.  Woven into each class is physical, emotional and practical preparation for giving birth.  By doing a little each week throughout pregnancy your body learns to instinctively use:

• Natural breathing rhythms for relaxation and pain relief 
• Upright positions and soothing movements to make labour faster, easier and safer
• Positive words and images for comfort and strength
• The immense power of gravity to help your labour and birth
• Ways to rest during labour and maintain your energy
• Practical, realistic ideas for things that come up in labour: using the space around you, using birthing pools and showers, protecting your hormones for healthy labour, working positively with fetal heart monitoring and internal examinations, avoiding the need for other interventions in labour, plus working with labour if you do need medical support, including during a caesarean birth.

There is no “right” way to birth, and each mother/ baby will only know what’s truly best when they’re in labour.  Practising yoga during pregnancy helps you to have a natural birth, as so many mothers and midwives know, and evidence is beginning to show. Equally important, my classes also help you if you should need medical intervention. Many people use YogaBirth to prepare for an induction or caesarean birth- there is always at least one person in class who knows this will be their birth path-  and so many more find that if circumstances change during a natural labour they can still use what they learned in class to cope well through medical support.

After yoga we have tea and chat for half an hour about anything to do with pregnancy, childbirth, early infancy, parenting… all thoughts and questions are welcome. These short, informal childbirth education sessions flow easily after the relaxing yoga. Occasionally we have a guest speaker, or someone from class returns with their baby to tell their birth experience. Our conversations offer valuable information and different perspectives, including the rich experiences of other mothers, plus my years of childbirth study, doula work and motherhood… so that you’re able to find what’s best for you.

Coming to your class gave me a sense of womanhood, and how birth is about femininity and power. The practise contractions came back to me during labour to make what we learned instinctive. When things veered from how I wanted during the birth, my mental preparation meant that I remained absolutely calm and was able to show strength I never knew I had. Gabby

What I learned at antenatal classes was theoretical. Jill’s yoga classes gave me the practical strength and the deeper physical knowledge to actually go through my labour. Talia

Jill’s yoga gives you an understanding of your body and the parts you use in labour. Nothing else gives you that. Amanda

Yoga with Jill was the highlight of my week and I don’t know how I would have managed my pregnancies without it. Taking two hours for myself in a hectic schedule and having a space to exercise, breathe and just ‘be’ was so hugely necessary. Jill has such wonderful calming and nurturing energy and just being in her presence for two hours a week irrespective of the yoga was a huge treat. Leah

I never would have imagined such a natural and empowering birth and it was all because of the yoga moves you taught us, the visualisations, learning to accept the body’s instinct and ability to give birth, and standing up for your own wishes and needs as the mother. Elisa

I really can’t thank you enough for the support and valuable knowledge that you gave me. During your classes I felt empowered, supported, valued and inspired. My first birth experience had more of an impact on me than I realised at the time and having the space to talk about that in a non-judgemental, constructive way helped me to understand it for what it was. It also really helped me to clarify in my own head what I wanted to get out of my birthing experience this time around, and I really feel that I achieved that. Zoe

I found it hard coming to terms with the fact that I was having a C-section for a while but I knew for me and due to my births it was the right thing. Although the birth wasn’t ‘natural’ as such I picked up so much in the classes on remaining calm, positive thinking and breathing techniques to get me through. Danielle

I used all of my breathing techniques that I learned with you and stayed active until the epidural. When I felt it wearing off I continued breathing and swaying to help move baby. I know how much the breathing works, as I found it better than the gas and air at points! Suzanne

As well as the yoga aspect, there was something really validating about being in a room full of pregnant women all on their own pregnancy journey and to be able to discuss any fears or doubts in a listening and open space. Leah

It’s my friend’s due date today and she has been feeling a bit nervous, so I sent her a message to say: “Never ever doubt your super-powers!”…which I think is probably the super-distilled version of everything I took from your classes, and it got me through. Rachel

Yoga is an ideal form of both exercise and relaxation during the months of pregnancy. Gentle stretching postures and fluid movements increase physical strength and suppleness. Yoga breathing reconnects us with the breath as a source of inner calm and nourishment, and an essential tool for labour.
Just as pregnancy is a bridge into parenthood, yoga provides a path from the hectic, outward-focused life most of us lead, to a more peaceful and grounded way in which to welcome the births of our children. 

Jill, writing in Dr Yehudi Gordon’s book Birth & Beyond

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