Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; November 26, 2015: Practicing yoga can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing, and even for pregnant women, yoga is a safe and effective way to get fit and stay healthy.
Discussing the benefits of prenatal yoga was one of the highlights of a recent event organised by Smitten, a specialty boutique known for its chic pregnancy wear and trendy kid’s clothing. The event, titled ‘Mummy and Baby Yoga Bonding’, was held at Smitten’s shop, The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, and attended by mothers – both pregnant and not – with their little ones in tow.
A fun yoga session led by yoga and wellness expert Sasha Quince, who is also the founder of Let’s Go Yoga ME, was the event’s main activity where some kids gamely joined their mummies doing a variety of easy yoga poses. Another important part of the event was a Question and Answer portion wherein Sasha explained the basics and benefits of prenatal yoga, while sharing her top tips on keeping fit and healthy during pregnancy.
“To stay fit and healthy for your growing baby is essential. Fitness during pregnancy is limited, and midwives and OB-GYNs recommend yoga during pregnancy. Yoga will help mums to be energised, as well as relieve them from stress, gain strength, improve circulation, relieve back pain, alleviate pregnancy discomforts and prepare them for the birth of their baby by increasing breath capacity,” Sasha, who herself is pregnant, explained.
Using yoga to keep pregnancy stress at bay has actually been confirmed effective by a 2014 study conducted by Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester in UK. The study revealed that women who practice yoga during pregnancy can reduce their risk of developing anxiety and depression. Stress during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth, low birth weight and increased developmental and behavioural problems in children, while high levels of anxiety during pregnancy are also linked with postnatal depression, which can lead to later mental health problems. Breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques and physical postures from a single session of yoga were found to reduce maternal anxiety by one third and stress hormone levels by 14 per cent.
Sasha explained that no previous yoga experience is required for a mum-to-be to engage in prenatal yoga. “In fact, many women come to yoga while they are pregnant and continue it much after enjoying its vast benefits,” she said.
It is recommended to start prenatal yoga after the first trimester, usually on the 12th week of pregnancy, and it is safe to do it regularly once a week (at the minimum) up until the woman’s due date. Sasha revealed that she practiced yoga in her first pregnancy until the day her son arrived.
“If you’re looking to try pregnancy yoga for the first time, please ask your doctor if she is okay with it, as everyone has different conditions. A registered prenatal yoga teacher who has done a specialised training should guide you – and a bonus, but not necessary, is if she has had a child before, she would be more familiar with the poses and techniques having navigated a pregnancy as well,” Sasha advised.
As for her tips on best foods to eat before and after yoga session, Sasha had this to say: “Best foods to eat before and after a yoga class are smoothies, fruits, almonds and mixed nuts. The larger meal should be after the class not before the class.”
Smitten is located at Shop 53, Level 1, Dubai Marina Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road, with telephone number +971 04 4519779. The boutique is also present in Abu Dhabi, with a branch at Shop 38, Level 2, The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, telephone number +971 02 6224303.