D’s cousin told me about Sunfish Yoga in December, and I emailed Alison straight away to enquire. J said she hadn’t gone to any NCT classes as these classes prepared her enough for the births of little J and A, 6 & 8 years ago respectively. She also said she met some lovely other women there who she remains close to.
I’d wanted to do some kind of pregnancy-safe exercise, and give myself the opportunity to meet other first-time mums. While we’d booked for NCT classes, they don’t start until March and that seemed like a long way off. The class concentrates on breathing techniques, and exercises to ease common pregnancy symptoms, and for optimal foetal positioning. The classes wrap up with relaxation and then a cup of herbal tea and a biscuit and a chance to chat to the other ladies.I can’t recommend these classes enough. The exercise is gentle, the instructor is friendly and approachable and it really feels like it’s going to help towards a more straightforward birth (but I’ll report back on that sometime around May!). I’m starting to make new friends too.
Taught in the picturesque village of Wye, the classes are on Wednesday evenings, from 6.15 to 7.45pm, and Friday mornings, from 9am to 10.30am. At the time of writing, it’s £42 for a block of 6 weekly classes. I leave work early on a Wednesday to get myself there for the evening class. As we don’t have a car, and I am coming from work in London, I take the train from Ashford, it’s a 5 minute train ride (£4 return) followed by a 10 minute walk to the Methodist Church. There’s plenty of parking too for drivers.
Alison delivers a birth preparation workshop, addressing:
- the stages of labour
- pain relief options
- optimal foetal positioning
- active birth positions
- use of the birth ball
These are £12 a couple or included in your weekly classes if you’re already enrolled for the Wednesday or Friday class. Like the yoga classes, this also comes highly recommended – we attended the most recent class on 17 February. All of the other parents there were first-timers like us, and many just as clueless as us about what lay ahead. Alison laid out in a way that was easy to understand and her approachable nature meant it was easy to ask questions, no matter how silly they felt.
Alison also does individual tuition, and postnatal yoga (babies welcome), which I am looking forward to joining as soon as I am able. She also practices maternity reflexology and Jin Shin Jyutsu.
All you need is comfortable clothing, a blanket and a couple of cushions. As I am traipsing from London and have to lug everything with me, I take a fleece blanket from Tiger which is quite compact, and our sofa cushions, which are the smallest I have. Clothing wise, I usually wear leggings or sweatpants, most recently these – they aren’t maternity, but buy a size or two up and they are comfy as anything:
Since Alison demonstrated the best massage techniques for partners in the session, it became apparent that I need a pregnancy ball at the earliest opportunity, so I’ve just ordered this one from eBay, nothing fancy, but anti-burst is the most important thing here, no pregnant woman wants a ball bursting under her increased girth!
Obviously these classes are local to me and thus not everyone who might read this, but I’d thoroughly recommend looking for classes/practitioners near you. Hopefully I’ll be updating in a couple of months time, to say how much the yoga helped with the birth, and even if not, I’m having a jolly nice time, relaxing with new friends!