I'd been wanting to start participating in a yoga class for a while, so when I found out that I had a little bun in the oven it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
I soon discovered that there was a prenatal yoga class at Yoga Circle on Monday nights with Tonya. The class starts at 5.45 pm and runs for just over an hour. Prior to being pregnant I had always played indoor netball on a Monday night so the Monday class was perfect for me. I felt like I could still carry on exercising, but in a way that would be more safe for my baby and I.
Yoga classes at Yoga Circle take place in a cute bungalow, opposite Mander Park. There's plenty of parking on the road, as well as a brand new car park at the front of the building. The bungalow provides both a cosy and comfortable setting to practice yoga in. I was a bit nervous before attending my first class, simply because yoga was new to me and I knew I wouldn't know anyone there. My nerves soon disappeared though. Tonya makes you feel extremely welcome and all of the other girls are really genuine and friendly. Attending the prenatal class has been a great way for me to meet other mums who are having babies around the same time. Tonya has also kindly created a Yoga Mums Facebook group for us so we can all keep in touch after we've had our babies too.
You don't need to bring anything along to yoga (other than maybe your drink bottle), as it's all provided for you - including: a yoga mat, bolsters, a blanket etc. At the beginning of the class we all introduce ourselves and share how far through our pregnancy we are. Because you're doing yoga with the same group of girls each week you really start to develop a connection with them and it's nice knowing you're all in the same boat when exercising, while pregnant.
Tonya's prenatal yoga class provides you with a range of yoga poses that are safe during pregnancy, breathing and relaxation techniques and a special time to connect with your baby. Tonya also encourages you to have a sankalpa (a positive affirmation to use during your yoga practice). For me, mine has been 'I am relaxed'. This year I've been working longer hours, because I've taken on extra responsibilities at work and we're also building our first home, while I'm pregnant with our first baby. As a result I often find I'm more stressed than usual and am constantly rushing to get the next thing on my list completed. Having a sankalpa to focus on has been really helpful and had made me focus on things in a more positive way.
I've found yoga to be the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day and connect with my baby. From towards the end of my second trimester I've also experienced a lot of back pain. Yoga has been the only thing that has helped to relieve this pain. The prenatal class is perfect for learning more about what will work for you and your body. Everyone is different, but I know we each take little tips and tricks away to help us at home too. Tonya also provides you with suitable poses to do after you've had your baby, while breastfeeding etc.
At the end of the class we spend some time focusing on mediation and relaxation techniques. You can use both the bolsters and blankets to make yourself comfortable before beginning. The lighting is dimmed and there are eye packs to put over your eyes if you wish, too. I really enjoy this part of the session, as it's a great way to have some 'me time', but isn't something I make enough time for myself. After the class you can either head off or stay for a cup of tea. It's a nice way to end the class and a good opportunity to chat to the other mums. I definitely need to invest in some of the raspberry tea for at home. After my very first class I left feeling really relaxed and knew that yoga would now become part of my weekly routine.
I've been going to prenatal classes at Yoga Circle since the start of my second trimester and would highly recommend both Tonya and her class to anyone that's pregnant. Tonya is a mum herself and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to yoga.