Beginners and improvers Yoga & Meditation in Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.
The NHS recommends you should spend at least 2 exercise sessions a week focusing on strengthening the muscles. We should also spread out the amount of exercise we do over the week, focusing on strength, balance and flexibility. Yoga is a great way and accessible way to achieve this!
This class also includes a focus on Meditation, especially at the end with 20 minutes dedicated to developing beginners and improvers meditation and relaxation skills.
At AMALAwellness, we offer an array of Yoga, Meditation, Relaxation and chair Based Exercise classes to aid with over-all mental and physical wellbeing.
– AMALAwellness – Who are we? –
AMALAwellness is a Registered Community Interest Company in Teesside. We offer a variety of Yoga, Meditation, Chair Based Yoga and Exercise and Relaxation classes in:
Redcar & Cleveland / Middlesbrough / Stockton / Norton / Guisborough / Nunthorpe / Kirkby (Great Broughton, Newton Under Roseberry)
Our Mission: To transform lives & promote healthier communities by connecting people through Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness and Gentle Movement.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
– C.S Lewis
Community Yoga in Nunthorpe.
Our Friday Morning Yoga Class is officially 2 years old as of January 2022!
Day & Time: Friday 9:30-11:00am Pricing: £5.00 for a block booking (£30.00 for a 6 week block). Block bookings are at 25% discount. Pricing: Drop in – £6.50. (Block bookings are non-refundable or non-transferable, please see our T’s and C’s for more information). What the class entails: The class includes kneeling, inversions, seated, table top and standing postures. We also do some postures lying on the front or on the back. Classes begin and end with a short guided meditation and a final relaxation (Savasana) at the end. Postural practice focuses on flexibility, balance and core strength. We marry movement with breath, making the whole practice good for soothing the nervous system and helping to still the mind.
Relaxation techniques are a great way of helping the body and mind to rest and recover.
Sometimes we can find it difficult to switch off. Especially as we have many day-to-day demands, work stresses and are constantly switched on due to notifications from phones.
This leads to increased stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.
– Why is it important to learn to relax? –
Symptoms of stress, anxiety and other mental health ailments can affect both our physical and mental wellbeing; as well as motivation, relationships, sleep just to name a few things. It can negatively effect the way we behave and react to certain situations.
Relaxation is not only about finding peace or doing a relaxing hobby. It has a very positive effect on both physical and mental health. These techniques help with maintaining wellbeing. They can help alleviate and regress long term health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of pain.
– How Yoga and Meditation can help –
Yoga is a mind body practice, that helps with not only physical wellbeing, but mental too. It combines gentle breathwork with physical postures, gentle, controlled movement, meditation and relaxation. There are a range of practices from the very gentle and accessible Chair yoga, to Hatha Yoga (most suited for beginners), to the very physical practice of Ashtanga Yoga.
When you find a practice suitable for you, it can help us become more flexible, mobile and active as well as reducing stress and anxiety within the mind and body. This in turn leads to a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.
The Best thing is, Yoga and Meditation is suitable for anyone. All you need to do is practice.
– Aimee, AMALAwellness
Meditation helps with becoming present, slowing the heart & mind down and feeling at peace. When practiced regularly, meditation can have a wonderful effect on mental wellbeing. However, like working our physical body, the mind must be trained to see the benefits.
– Relaxation techniques you can take anywhere with you –
Consideration of Environment…
Take time to create a peaceful environment where ever you are, whether it is your desk at work, or your bedroom or living room. Make time to create a peaceful and calm environment.
Set time aside for peace, calm and relaxation…
Whether its an hour to read a book in the bath, taking the dog for a long walk or attending a local yoga class. Taking this time is crucial for our wellbeing.
Gently moving the body, stretching and having a focus on the breath can really help to calm the mind in a positive way. It helps to soothe the nerves and the nervous system, takes our mind to the present and gentle movement and stretching helps the body to produce hormones and chemicals which invoke a sense of relaxation and recovery within the body.
Autogenic = coming from within…
Autogenic Relaxation uses visualisation and body/mind awareness to invoke relaxation within. It includes guiding muscles to gently let go and relax to take the mind and body into a place of deep calm. Usually, this is practiced lying down and to feel the benefits, 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted practice is needed.
Gentle breathwork is a process where we use or breath to change out physical and mental state for the better. It helps to soothe the nervous system. Slowing the breath and taking a one point focus to the breath helps us to calm the mind and body, slow down our heart rate and allow the mind and body to relax. Click here for a short practice to take with you anywhere.
By just pausing, inhaling deeply, exhaling fully and gently closing the eyes, we can practice meditating anywhere we find ourselves. By just relaxing the shoulders, face, removing the tongue from the roof of the mouth and taking an awareness to the breath, it can being us back to the present moment.
– Guided meditations to practice at home –
Local AMALAwellness’ classes.
We run classes across Teesside.
Yoga & Meditation – Tuesday Evenings, Ragworth Community Centre, Norton, Stockton on Tees.
Gentle Yoga – Tuesday Afternoons // Meditation and Relaxation – Thursday Afternoons, My Core Wellbeing , Guisborough.
Yoga and Meditation – Friday Mornings, St Mary’s Chuch Hall, Nunthorpe.
Combining Asana (Postures) with Pranayama (Breathing techniques)…
Hatha is the root of all yoga. Iyengar, Vinyasa, Yin, Ashtanga and other forms of Yoga all stem from Hatha yoga.
A ‘Hatha’ yoga class will typically involve a set of physical postures (yoga poses) and breathing techniques, practiced slowly and with standing, seated and sometimes inverted static posture holds.
Hatha means ‘force’ in Sanskrit हठ and attains that through the physical practice of Yoga, we receive the benefits. So Hatha yoga can be considered as anything you might do with the body to still the mind, including:
asana – yoga postures (practised in any style of ‘yoga’)
Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body and mind. This practice is often modified and can be as challenging as you wish it to be, with modified poses for beginners. More challenging options are included for more experienced practitioners, making it accessible to all. Your practice deepens and grows with you as you progress.
It is recommended that you abstain from eating or drinking anything but water 2 hours before practice.
When practising, asana (postures) are important, but there are 8 limbs to yoga and asana is only 1 of these limbs. When practising the other elements of Hatha yoga, such as chanting, pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, kriyas (cleansing), and philosophy, plus eating a vegetarian diet, we can begin to link the benefits of healthy mind and healthy body.
What is Hatha Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa means “to place in a special way” , where in Hatha, we tend to hold asana postures for longer, in Hatha Vinyasa we flow through asana, linking postures and movement with breath. Without practising the other limbs of hatha/ hatha vinyasa yoga, you are only doing a gym class. It is really important to develop a fully rounded practice to learn and get the benefits from Hatha properly. This is an integral part which is sadly getting lost and diluted in the west.
Who is the practice suitable for?
The practice is suitable for anyone who is looking to begin or deepen their practice. It is suitable for beginners and improvers.
Postures include lying down, kneeling, lying on the front, beginners/improvers inversions and standing.
– Schedule –
Aimee teaches a Gentle Hatha class in Guisborough on a Tuesday Afternoon, an evening class on Tuesdays in Stockton, as well as a morning class on a Friday in Nunthorpe. Please see our timetable for more information.
The benefits of this practice are well known. In the west it is mainly used to bring strength and flexibility to the body. However, if you take the time to learn about other aspects of Yoga; you can really begin to develop a deeper practice. Not only for your body but for your mind.
Beginners Yoga in Middlesbrough – at AMALAwellness we cater for beginners and improvers in all of our Yoga and Meditation classes. We run classes in Stockton, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland. We also offer private one-on-one classes, on zoom and in-person, as well as running Move it or Lose it! classes across Teesside.
Why is AMALAwellness good for beginners looking to practice Yoga?
Aimee has had a regular practice since 2013 and a daily practice since 2017. She has over 470 hours of Yoga teacher training and professional development, with bodies such as Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Professionals.
Experience and Knowledge
Aimee’s practice has grown with her. When she first started Yoga, she couldn’t touch her toes and suffered with anxiety. Yoga and meditation had such a positive effect on her life, that it transformed her physical and mental health. Aimee quit her 9-5 job as a Scientist to travel and practice Yoga around the world. Upon return to Teesside, she decided to set up her own business to teach people the tools she has learnt from her teachers and on her travels to help people transform their physical and mental wellbeing.
Aimee has ran 6 Week Beginners Courses with local Studios in Teesside and knows how to accommodate for all levels within a class.
Aimee is also trained in teaching Yoga and Gentle Exercise for Mobility, as well as experienced in teaching seniors and Yoga in studio and gym settings. Aimee has progressed in her practice, studying and learning from an array of experienced teachers from all over the world. Aimee has a range of knowledge and experience which means whatever your ability or goal, she can cater for you.
Reflections on being a beginner and a focus on progression….
Remembering what it felt like to be a beginner, Aimee always take a holistic approach to practice. Movement is important for both physical and mental wellbeing, but at AMALAwellness we focus on philosophy and meditation to teach Yoga in its entirety.
Aimee always explains postures, breathwork and meditation techniques to make sure that the practice is suitable for beginners and helping improvers to advance.
More than just a gym class…
Meditation, gentle breathwork and philosophy are intertwined with a phyiscal asana practice. This makes the practice suitable for beginners and improvers, with postures differentiated for those looking to improve their postural practice.
A focus on Community, with a fun, light-hearted and friendly atmosphere…
Classes always have a community feel, where people feel welcome. We focus on inclusivity and believe community and a non-judgemental space where people can enjoy practice should be at the fore-front of lessons.
We also practice meditation and relaxation techniques, allowing the mind to practice being still and peaceful.
Beginners Yoga in Middlesbrough -Affordable classes with a community feel…
Aimee teaches in Community Centres such as:
Ragworth Community Centre – Stockton & Norton
Norton Grange Community Centre – Norton
St Mary’s Church Hall- Nunthorpe
Academy 17 – Ormesby
AImee also teaches in Guisborough.
Classes can be drop in – so you can try before you commit to anything. You can also book onto a block of lessons, to really give the class a go. Block bookings are cheaper, but our drop-in rates are still really affordable too.
As well as Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Beginners Yoga and Meditation classes, we offer Move it or Lose it! Classes – running across Teesside and online.
Move it or Lose it! classes help encourage and motivate people so they enjoy later life. We encourage top to toe workouts to help people stay active and feel fit for LIFE! Our aim is to help people to stay active and independent – especially those with mobility challenges. Our classes are fun, friendly and help build a sense of community.
Would you like to give one of our classes a try? Why not contact us for more information. You can complete the contact form here, or email Aimee directly at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras state that to live a meaningful and purposeful life, one should follow ‘Ashtanga’. Ashta translates to eight and Anga translates to limbs in Sanskrit, so the word Ashtanga means the eight limbed path.
There are eight limbs to Ashtanga Philosophy, which focus on self-control, self-discipline and moral and ethical codes we should live by as Yogis.
They give advice on staying healthy, cleanliness of self and environment, meditation and physical asana practice.
The 8 limbs of Yoga: What are they?
Yamas – the five ethical and moral codes Yogi’s live by. Ahimsa – Non violence, Asteya – Non stealing, Aparigraha – Non greed, Satya – Truthfulness and Bramacharya – being good with ones energy.
Niyamas – Five self disciplines. Saucha – cleanliness, Santosha – Contentment, Tapas – Austerities and heat, Isvara pranidhana – surrenderin.g to a higher power, Svadhyaya – Study of the self and Yogic Scripts.
Asana – The physical postural practice of yoga. The most common perception of Yoga, where we focus on the physical and mental well-being.
Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses through meditation practice.
Dharana – One point focus, removing all other distractions, focusing on inner awareness.
Dhyana – Contemplation and meditation. Quieting the mind, unbroken flow of meditative state for long periods of time.
Samadhi – Union with the divine and self, deep sense of peace and stillness.
Beginners Philosophy, where is best to start?
It’s best to start with the physical asana side of practice and focus on bringing the Yama’s into your practice. There are many Yama’s we can incorporate into our lives both on and off the mat.
Often, Yoga is practiced for fitness reasons and the essence of the practice is lost. Incorporating the eight limbed path on and off the mat helps us to benefit from the philosophical and meditative sides to the practice.
A good place to start with asana practice is learning Surya Namaskar – The Sun Salutations. They help us learn proper breathing techniques within the practice. It also helps us build strength and flexibility, as well as teaching the foundations of building a lasting practice.
For example, incorporating the Yamas – Ahimsa and Satya into practice.
Ahimsa – No harm in thought and action.
Ahimsa translates into Non-harm/Non-violence in Sanskrit. We can start to incorporate this into our practice both on and off the mat. It becomes obvious to not harm in action, but how often do we do this in thought? Especially to ourselves? are we kind to ourselves on the mat? Do we practice with ease, or do we force ourselves? could we modify our diet to practice Ahimsa? Perhaps, leaning to more vegetarian or plant based diets. Could we look after ourselves, or others, mentally and physically more?
All of these pointers will help us practice Ahimsa both on and off the mat.
Students often ask for meditations to practice at home, so I thought I would make some articles about starting to incorporate a practice into daily life. Also, including a meditation to practice independently from the comfort of home.
However it is important as we progress in practice to start learning meditation independently.
Mindfulness Meditation is a way of training the mind. It is a practice that teaches the mind to:
Let go of negativity
Slow down racing thoughts
Calm the mind
Invoke rest and relaxation within the body
Promote healing, both mentally and physically
How does Mindfulness relate to Yoga?
Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodha – Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind
Patanjali – Yoga Sutras, Sutra 1.2.
As this sutra states, Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations the mind. Learning to still the mind is the primary aim of yoga. Everything else is just a wonderful side effect of practicing this Sutra.
Mindfulness Meditation – both on and off the mat
Meditation and mindfulness, both on and on the mat play a vital role in attaining a still mind. It must be practiced daily and be at the forefront of our practice. If we just practice asana, without this element, we lose the essence of what Yoga truly is.
It is really important to marry both movement and postural (asana practice) with meditation techniques, to have a whole, well rounded practice.
A Mindful Meditation to practice at home
This simple meditation can be practiced anywhere, for as long as you wish.
Part one – gentle breathwork
Inhale from the base of the spine to the throat, slowing the breath to an extended count of four. Pause, retain the breath for a count of four. Exhale from the throat to the base of the spine for a count of four. Pause, retain the breath for a count of four. Repeat as many times as you wish.
Remember, you can return to a normal breath then practice again if you wish. This is your practice and your time.
Part two – Mindfulness Meditation
Become aware of the breath – what happens to the belly, chest and ribcage as we inhale? What happens as we exhale? Feel the sensations associated with air entering and exiting the body. Pay attention to the rise and fall of the belly. Bring a focus to each breath.
After a while, return to a normal breath. Just be still. Listen. Become aware and listen to sounds around you, without putting to much emphasis on them. If thoughts come, don’t put too much emphasis on them, just return to the awareness of the breath then let the breath return to normal.
Stay in the practice for at least 10 minutes.
Yoga classes in Middlesbrough, Guisborough and Stockton
Aimee teaches an array of classes in Nunthorpe, Marton, Norton and Guisborough, and across Teesside. Mindfulness is always incorporated into classes.
Mentally and physically preparing for the easing of lockdown, as well as the return to face-to-face classes.
Aimee is running an exciting new five week online course, VIA zoom, starting Thursday the 13th of April 2021. A taster session will run next week (6th of April) so that you can try before you buy.
Gentle Yoga Flow – get fit, moving and active again after lockdown…
There will be a free taster session next week for our upcoming 5 week online Gentle Yoga Flow Course ran VIA zoom, from the comfort of your home.
As the end is hopefully in sight, preparing for a more active lifestyle is as important as ever. Especially looking after our physical and mental wellbeing moving out of lockdown. We know there are many benefits of practicing Yoga and Meditation. Our gentle movement and exercise classes help to open up the body and tone muscles in a safe, inclusive environment. We also practice gentle breathwork, meditation and relaxation. This helps the body to relax, reducing stress, anxiety and improving mood. We also include philosophy within the course, learning about body’s reactions to stress and how to alleviate this. We learn the theory and philosophy of relaxation and how to access this anytime.
When will the Gentle Yoga Flow course run?
The taster class will be on Thursday the 6th of April at 7:00-8:15pm. The classes will run for five weeks. It will run Thursdays 7:00-8:15pm every week from the 13th of April to the 10th of May.
If you sign up to the full course, here will be weekly emails and articles to help you develop a home practice. It will include tips of how to improve mental and physical wellbeing. This is really important as we start to approach the easing of lockdown restrictions, as many are finding the transition a challenge.
How much will the course cost?
The course will cost £17.50 for the 5 weeks, that is £3.50 a session plus support to develop a home meditation and yoga practice.
Drop ins will be available at £3.50 per class, however you will not get the emails and support to develop a home practice during the time the course runs.
What will I learn on the course?
You will learn gentle flowing yoga to help improve flexibility, respiratory fitness, balance and strength. This will be done with lying, seated, kneeling and standing postures. You will also learn how to incorporate movement into your daily life in bitesize chunks. Also, you will get advice on developing your own routines for day to day life. Incorporating 5-10 minutes practice of meditation and breathwork, for example, can make a massive difference to our day-to-day life.
Do I need specific equipment to join the Gentle Yoga Flow course?
Just a yoga mat, a peaceful quiet room and enough space to stretch out. Also, a blanket and comfy clothes are a must!
Sounds great! How do I sign up?
If you or a loved one would like to sign up for taster session, the process is simple. Just email Aimee at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a health registration form, then you just log in using the link at the top of the screen (located in the ‘classes’ tab). It is essential the health registration form is filled in prior to joining any classes.
What classes will be running face to face, when restrictions lift?
Aimee of AMALAwellness has used a Neti Pot for many years, here she speaks of her experiences:
– What are Kriyas & What is Jala Neti? –
Kriyas are a cleansing technique used in Hatha yoga to help clear toxins and purify the body. One of the most popular Kriyas is Jala Neti.
I have had the chance to experience a few of the Kriyas in my practice and Yoga teacher trainings. One I love doing and regularly do is Jala Neti. I practiced it a lot in Rishikesh, Northern India and still continue to practice to this day.
– How do you use a Neti Pot? –
As the diagram shows; salt water is passed through the nasal cavity, with the aid of a ‘neti pot’ or lota.
When you hold your head at a certain angle and pass salt water through one nostril with your mouth open, it passes out the other nostril.
– Sinus Relief –
Some common symptons with sinus problems include:
Pain / Pressure / Swelling / Tenderness in the face
Reduced smell and taste
Neti pots with a saline solution help to clear the sinus cavity and reduce these symptoms.
– What are the benefits of Jala Neti? –
It is really effective at removing mucus and dirt from the nasal passages and clearing sinuses. I had really bad sinusitis recently and practising jala neti reguarly recently has helped to clear it and my sinuses feel a million times better! Its been a good thing to practice as it can be quite dusty here, so I have been doing it regularly early morning before practice.
It definitely improves a persons ability to breathe more clearly.
Mental & Spiritual Benefits
This process helps clear and cleanse the third eye chakra (agna chakra), helping us think more clearly and aiding with stilling the mind when practicing meditation.
– Give it a go …! –
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who suffers sinus problems or asthma.
It may seem weird at first (I can remember the 1st time I did it and thought… what is this bizzareness!) but its a practice definitely worth doing. When I have showed my friends how to do it, they also enjoyed it!
What are others experiences with Kriyas? I’d love to hear from you!
Move it or Lose it! classes help motivate people to move more so they enjoy later life. We encourage top to toe workouts to help people stay active and feel fit for LIFE! Our aim is to help people to stay active and independent – especially those with mobility challenges. Our classes are fun, friendly and help build a sense of community.
Aimee is setting up classes across Teesside – see the timetable below. All classes are on the ground floor with ample parking.
Join a safe and friendly community to exercise, socialize and try new things.
In todays Spotlight is Steph Wall, a lovely and talented Yoga Teacher who specialises in Pregnancy yoga and Post-Natal yoga classes in Middlesbrough. She is also a massage therapist and reflexologist working from her home treatment room in Marton.
She was interviewed about her about her experiences with Yoga and Pregnancy / Mother & Baby Yoga. Read on to find out more and the classes she runs in and around Teesside.
1. Why were you drawn to Yoga initially? What made you interested in Pregnancy Yoga and Mother and Baby yoga?
I started practicing yoga by accident really, 20 years ago I went along to a class in a tiny church in Hull with a friend and didn’t really know what to expect. I became interested in Pregnancy Yoga and Mum and Baby yoga through my own experience having a dedicated yoga practice and throughout 3 pregnancies. I am passionate about sharing with others how yoga practices, however simple or complex can really empower women throughout all stages of pregnancy, birth and post natally.
I wasn’t even sure if I liked yoga at first, I was about 40 years younger than everyone else, it felt really slow and I found it really hard to slow down and stay still! Looking back it was exactly what I needed at the time. Despite being unsure that tiny seed was planted and I went to that little Hatha class with dedication for another 8 years. At that point I was truly hooked on my yoga path. My teacher Hilda Ormrod was in her late 80s when I started and she continued to teach until she was 91! She was and still is my inspiration. Hilda was one of the first women in England to train and teach yoga through the very early days of the British Wheel of Yoga.
2. How did you start to practice? What effect did it have on your life, both mentally and physically? When did you decide to practice and teach pregnancy yoga?
I didn’t really know of many other styles of Yoga at that point as it wasn’t as mainstream back then as it is today. I learnt to love the slowness of Hatha and also it continued to challenge me. Hilda always encouraged us to delve deeper into the philosophy underpinning the asana practice. At that point I became pregnant with my first daughter. I didn’t know that “pregnancy Yoga” was a “thing”! By that point I had a good understanding of the basics and instinctively adapted my hatha practice to what felt good. I was a full time teacher so didn’t have the same level of practice that I have now but I clearly remember how yoga suddenly seemed so important and magical during my pregnancy. I had a homebirth and the pranayama techniques I was familiar of in class (especially ujaii breath) became instinctive, I felt I could trust my inner wisdom and the birth was an amazing experience. I remember the midwives actually in shock that I had given birth! I knew then that it was all to do with Yoga but it still wasn’t quite clear to me how.
3. How did your mind and body change when you started a regular practice? Was anything a quick change, did anything take a long time? (Give examples if possible) did you feel any effects from pregnancy yoga?
I think when you start a regular practice changes definitely happen but you don’t always notice them as they can be subtle. The changes in my mind and body I found from my early practice were very different depending on the style of yoga. The years of Hilda’s classes gave me a solid grounding in breathing techniques, meditation, Yoga Nidra and Yoga Philosophy. It also began my meditation practise. I found it nearly impossible to lay down for Savasana but as the months and years went on it became my favourite part of the practice. I found that I was able to navigate through the highs and lows of life in an easier way. Yoga is like a friend that is always there for me and it allowed me to connect to that inner stillness. That’s what I needed and the challenge for me to connect to that. Later after I had my first baby I felt that I was looking for strength and for something else, a more physical practice. I found an amazing teacher with Anne-Marie Mainprize in Hull and that was really transformative both physically and mentally. I found that my body became so strong. I loved the repetition of the practice and could feel physical progress (as in strength and flexibility) quite quickly. Whether it was Ashtanga or Forrest Yoga I found that I moved from one goal asana to the next whether it was a head stand, then lotus, or forearm stand. There was always and is always somewhere to progress to. The strong postures, the flexibility and smashing those inversions were all very alluring but I soon realised and began to feel that it was the practice itself – not the elusive asanas that gives the benefits. As an example it took me 2 years of a stronger practice and 8 years in total before I could do some kind of headstand. It’s that mental dedication, focus and practice itself that matters not the actual headstand.
4. When did you decide you wanted to facilitate and teach pregnancy and mother and baby yoga classes?
I qualified to teach yoga in 2015 and during that time I was about to embark on IVF. I instinctively moved away from a strong Forrest Yoga practice to much gentler and nourishing yoga to try to help my fertility. I was drawn to Uma-Dinsdmore Tuli’s work on Yoni Shakti. It’s the incredible approach to gain back the feminine power of yoga. That book really changed my practice and my life! I enrolled on her Pregnancy and Post-Natal training course in London and I’ve never looked back. The practices I learnt are not just for pregnancy but they empower women in all stages of life, helping women (and men) get back to their inner wisdom, to use that wisdom to nourish and bring back power and freedom. I really immersed myself in all the practices of this Yoni Shakti or “womb yoga” ( awakening the feminine life force “Shakti”). I started up a pregnancy yoga class and our IVF was a success and I was pregnant myself. I don’t think it’s a necessity to have experienced pregnancy to teach this form of yoga. However, personally I felt I could really relate to my students and adapt my classes through experience. When my little boy was born I felt so much more empowered and equipped with the knowledge of how to maintain a yoga practise in a safe way, I understood how to rebuild my core strength and how the body changes. I set up my first mum and baby yoga class when Dylan was 5 months old, it was a magical time as my mam brought him along to the class and we all practiced together!
5. What are the benefits, both mentally and physically, of practicing Yoga and meditation when pregnant?
Lots of my students come to pregnancy yoga without any other yoga experience. Doctors and midwives strongly recommend yoga now along with hypnobirthing techniques. There are so many reasons and benefits, the most popular reason women come to pregnancy Yoga is to be able to continue physical movement and gentle exercise knowing its safe. It can help prevent SPD (pelvic pain), It can reduce swelling, improve the lymphatic system, ease lower back ache and general pains and improve posture and strength. We also cover techniques to help with birth; such as learning how to release the pelvic floor and the chemistry of hormones. When women come to class however they find that yoga is so much more than just the physical benefits and has profound effects in unexpected ways! We practice relaxation and Yoga Nidra which is so important. It nourishes both the mum and baby in the womb, it helps balance hormones that constantly change and fluctuate. Most importantly it makes you feel good! Sound practices and mudras (hand gestures) are so magical and powerful during pregnancy. Working more on the energy body we can directly bond with the baby in the womb, a low hum is like giving our baby a little sonic massage. They love the vibrations, their heart rate lowers, stress hormone cortisol is reduced, babies also recognise these sounds after birth and feel soothed. I feel it’s important to share in my classes the scientific research that backs up all these ancient practices too.
6. How do people benefit from mother and baby yoga?
Everyone has such different experiences during pregnancy and Birth. When women come back to me for Post-Natal Yoga they share their stories. They are there to support each other to help navigate this constantly challenging but also beautiful time. I feel that’s the most important thing for the wellbeing of new mums. Whether they have had a C section, a traumatic birth or a natural birth (and all inbetween) we come together to work out what that particular group need at that time. We always work on strengthening the pelvic floor, gentle core work, easing out aches and pains in the shoulders and upper back common with nursing young babies. We learn yoga sequences and breathing techniques to nourish and gradually build up strength. I want the mums to feel looked after, cared for and safe for that small time so always have time for relaxation. The sessions are balanced so they are really beneficial for baby too! Babies love the sound practices, songs and rhymes and its lovely to see they recognize them! Mums learn postures that help babies development and also fun yoga that they can enjoy together and bond.
8. What would you recommend for people looking to practice Yoga and Meditation when pregnant & postpartum , but don’t know where to start?
For anyone interested in pregnancy yoga or even looking for a class with their baby I would always suggest asking other mams and friends. There are more and more classes out there now and it’s always good to go with a recommendation. It’s been especially hard during this last year with Covid as many classes are cancelled but on the flip side this has opened up a whole new world on online classes and groups! In some ways online classes may be more accessible for some women and you can connect with women and teachers from allover the county or even world which is pretty exciting! I recommend a teacher called Suzanne who is based in York who has put together an Online Pregnancy Yoga programme for anyone who may not be able to get to a class in person. I am affiliated with this course so feel free to contact me for more info on this. Also find her directly at www.formodernmothers.com
Vikki is amazing and an ex midwife who offers all kinds of services for fertility, pregnancy and hypnobirthing in the Stockton and Middlesbrough Area.
Janis Leach is a lovely teacher, currently teaching 1:1 zoom pregnancy yoga classes and is based in Redcar.
Most teachers offer trial classes before booking up a block of classes so its’ always worth trying a class first as its important to feel a connection with the teacher or group.
I personally love to teach face to face and I’m waiting patiently to be able to set up my groups again soon. I run a Pregnancy Yoga class on Saturday Mornings and Mum and Baby classes on Wednesday mornings.
– Thank you Steph! –
Thanks so much Steph, for taking the time to feature on our SpotLight for this week.
For more information on Steph and the services she offers, see below: