Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Yoga & Mindfulness For Pregnancy & Birth

I was recently sent a DVD to review with a bit of a difference.

Usually the DVDs that come our way are family movies to review, but this time it was something just for me.

A health DVD with a difference - Yoga & Mindfulness For Pregnancy & Birth by Nadia Rafaat.

I'm sure most of us in this day and age are familiar with the concept of Yoga, but just incase...let me cover the basics. Yoga is an ancient spiritual, mental and physical practice which originated in India. There are a variety of Yoga disciplines and practices, which I won't go in to here, but rather than being purely fitness focused - which is a common misconception - many focus on personal well being, breathing and bringing calm to oneself. And we could all do with calm in our lives, right?

All of these things are, of course, essential when pregnant making this DVD absolutely ideal for mum's to be.

I have always enjoyed practising yoga to help with my anxiety issues, and I used to regularly attend a class with my sister - however once my firstborn came along I found it difficult to commit to a regular weekly class, and to this day I've never returned.

Having a DVD such as this has meant that I can practice at my own pace in my own living room without life getting in the way. It's been just perfect for bringing some peace and a sense of calm back in to my life after a long hectic day with three children!

Throughout the DVD, Nadia teaches 5 practices for the Mum to Be. Each practice is between 40 and 53 minutes so not too time consuming at all. 

These practices are;

Flowing with Breath - This establishes the practice of moving your body in harmony with the rhythm of your own breath.

 Gentle Strength, Soft Power - Explores the strengthening poses of the pregnancy Yoga Pantheon with a sense of ease and softness.

Open your Body, Open your Minds - In preparation of the birth, this exercise gently encourages flexibility of the hips, shoulders and pelvis.

Support and Yield - Discovering positions and movements, with the aid of a chair, that can be used antenatally and also during labour to facilitate progress and encourage descent.

The Birth Dance - This step encourages you to move freely and to trust your body. This class culminates in a liberating and energising birth danc - now I have to admit that I expected to find this a little amusing and "Hippy"ish (judgy pants!) but honestly the movements make perfect sense and I can see how beneficial this would likely be.

This DVD release is the first of it's kind and offers a full 240 minutes of practice designed to support and help women with the transition from birth to motherhood. The steps are very easy to follow and have been endorsed by midwives, doctors, doulas and other birth professionals.

Having followed the practices I can honestly say that I wish I had owned this DVD during my recent pregnancy with Sailor - I think it would have helped me to deal with the pain I was in during the final months and would certainly have helped with my anxiety around the birth.

The steps are so gentle, easy to follow and fun, and really allow you to discover how to breath and relax properly. For a pregnant woman these are essential practices and spending just a little time following Nadia's friendly, gentle and encouraging steps on screen will really help you unwind and feel a real sense of calmness and tranquility.

Even though I am not currently expecting another child, Nadia's DVD is something I have found myself watching again and again. I find it to helps me to find peace and centre myself after a long day.

A little about Nadia Rafaat....As well as being a practising birth Doula and birth teacher, she is also the co-founder of  Battersea Yoga in London. A teacher of Yoga for pregnancy,  birth, and the postnatal period for 10 years, she is trained and certified with the British Wheel of Yoga, Birthlight as well as being a member of the Federation of Antenatal Educators and Doula UK.

Yoga and Mindfulness During Pregnancy & Birth is available from Amazon and www.yogamatters.com,  priced at £16.00.

Nadia also offers something even more hands on to those mums to be lucky enough to based in the London area with her Mindful Birthing course - an 8 week course aiming to help mums to be through the birthing process - for more details please visit the Becoming Mother website here

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