Thursday, 17 August 2017

ALEX GLANVILLE: PREGNANCY YOGA REVIEW


I was a complete yoga virgin before I attended a Birthlight Yoga class with Alex Glanville. I'd always been intrigued by the idea of yoga but I'd never had the confidence to attend a class because I imagined that I'd be far too out of shape to be considered any good at it. I thought of my huge pregnant belly as a bit of a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card; a totally valid reason why I couldn't get my leg behind my head or my arse in front of my face.

I found Alex Glanville, located in Tilehurst- Reading, by conducting a quick Google search and I mentioned it to a few of my friends one evening. A couple of weeks later the sweethearts revealed that they had bought me a block of pregnancy yoga lessons for my birthday so I trotted along to my first lesson in my old H&M leggings and a "too big" t-shirt. Potential yoga fitness model, I was not.

I remember my first lesson vividly, mainly because I really bloody enjoyed myself. Alex spent the first few minutes of the lesson going around the room getting everybody to introduce themselves (just your name! Nothing anxiety inducing!) along with how many weeks through their pregnancy they were and whether they had any aches, pains and ailments that week. I had been struggling hugely with lower back pain. It quickly became apparent that this was a common complaint amongst the other preggos and so Alex incorporated stretches and positions that would help to relieve tension in our lower backs into our session that week. Do you know what? IT WORKED. I felt like a new woman the next day. I could touch my toes, I could walk up stairs. I got out of bed without making that "URGH CHRIST" sound. Pregnancy yoga gave me back some control over a body that was determined to test me with a new and exciting malfunction every week of my pregnancy.

A typical pregnancy yoga class with Alex consists of positions called 'open poses' which are completely safe for pregnancy. There is a good mixture of floor positions and standing positions. Some of the exercise is conducted in pairs which is another really great way to meet the other women. She has regular breaks for peeing (necessary in both the second and third trimesters!) and anybody who wants to take a quick timeout to grab a drink (or pee again!) is completely welcome to.

Alex splits her classes into two depending on 'how far along' you are. Tuesdays (6.15-7.35) are for women who are between 14 and 30 weeks. Thursdays (also 6.15-7.35) are for women who are 30+ weeks. A large part of the lessons for women who are 30+ weeks pregnant focus on assisting you with the actual dreaded B-word part; the birth. There are certain positions that can rapidly accelerate the birthing process. There are also some that can slow it down to give you a bit of a 'pause' in labour. Finally, there are a few breathing techniques which are so beneficial for your mental wellbeing during labour. I had contractions for two days and ended up with a C Section. I can absolutely promise you that my mind flashed back to these breathing techniques and I used them to help me get through those days. I have a vivid memory of being sat on a birthing ball in the hospital chanting "Round mouth, round mouth, round mouth" to myself (this will make sense once you've been through her program!). I even used the breathing techniques whilst I was sat in the operating theatre waiting for the anaesthetist to insert my spinal block. Knowledge is power, and I really feel like Alex gave me some power in a situation that would otherwise seem totally out of my control.

Alex Glanville is hugely qualified and this truly comes across in her understanding of pregnancy. She has had two children herself which for me was very important because it gave her such credibility in her field. Alex has a Traditional Yoga Association Diploma to teach general hatha yoga, which she then followed with further diplomas (with Birthlight, a trusted pregnancy wellbeing organisation) to teach pregnancy yoga along with mother & baby yoga (baby yoga & massage together with post-natal yoga). Alex's classes contain a real mixture of women from varying ages and backgrounds. I've met a lot of truly lovely people through my yoga classes and the great thing is that I am now meeting them all again on Monday mornings as part of another class that Alex teaches: Mother and Baby Yoga!

I would highly recommend pregnancy yoga to anybody who would like to take part in some gentle exercise to keep fit throughout their pregnancy. It keeps you active and gives you an hour to focus on yourself and process some of the occasional panic that comes and goes with every pregnancy. If the exercise part isn't enough to convince you, I will also say that Alex is just a positive person to be around (so much so that I named my baby after her! ha...). She makes you feel good about yourself. Her classes are a real treat. I'm currently on the waiting list for her 'proper' yoga classes which will give me a welcome hour away from my adorable baby boy. I am so thrilled that I've finally found a hobby that I feel truly passionate about and look forward to every week. Give pregnancy yoga a go!

Alex can be contacted via her website which is HERE.

Baby Alex and I at Mum & Baby Yoga. Alex working hard as always. 
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