With the hustle and bustle of life right now, I promptly accepted when I was invited to try pregnancy yoga at Isleworth Leisure Centre. There’s a lot going on at the moment, and I find little to no time for myself.
I used to practice yoga once a week before I fell pregnant with Arjun – more for meditation, and really felt it helped centre me and refocus. As my pregnancy progresses, our extension continues with the worst of it yet to come, having a testing toddler, I’ve struggled to make time to “bond” with my baby and to make time for myself. I knew yoga would be a great way to focus on that. It was an added bonus that my sister in law came with me – it’s always nice to have a buddy!
Here’s a review of how we found the class:
Parking & Location: The leisure centre is not sign posted but it is easy enough to spot from the road. There is a bus stop located directly outside.
Parking spaces are limited and quite tight for a large car and squeezing bumps out between cars! We arrived with ample time luckily as we had to wait for a parking spot. Several people left at about 10.45 so perhaps there is a class beforehand which finishes just in time.
Reception staff: we found the reception staff very friendly and helpful. The gentleman that tended to us was very generous with offering information on the class and the facilities within the leisure centre.
Changing rooms: Although we didn’t use the change facilities as we both showered at home afterwards, we did pop in to use the toilets. The changing rooms appeared to have been recently refurbished and were clean.
The studio: Both Mane and I noticed how clean the studio was. It was also very spacious given the number of people that attended the class (7 of us including the instructor). The mats and blocks provided were also clean however I would recommend you take a towel to cover the block if you’re OCD like me!
The instructor: The instructor’s name is Catherine. She qualified in 2004 and has been teaching pregnancy yoga for 12 years. She has 2 children of her own and so is familiar with pregnancy and child birth.
She oozes such a beautiful and radiant aura and has a very calming nature. Her mannerism is gentle and her voice is soft. I really do believe that with yoga, it’s so important to have a teacher that you feel instantly calmed by – that was Catherine. It was evident from her radiant presence that she’s very much in touch with her spiritual side. She was great at bringing my focus to the room, to my body and to my baby. She had a very direct calming effect on me. I admired her nature – she was patient, caring, kind and calm. Something that rubbed off on me during the session.
I found Catherine to be very genuine in wanting to help us – she had no sense of urgency despite it being a Saturday morning and probably wanting to rush back home to her children as soon as the lesson was done! She ensured we got the 5/10 minutes we used to set up at the beginning of the lesson back at the end as there is no class directly after which meant we got a full hour of practice.
The class: The class generally consists of no more than 6/7 people attending so it’s a comfortable number and not overcrowded. We were all well spaced out.
Catherine asked everyone to introduce themselves at the beginning of the session including name, how many other children you have and how far along in pregnancy you are. This was a nice way to open the session as we all got to know each other a little more. We found the other ladies that attended really friendly.
The floor to ceiling mirrors helped to see if we were doing our poses correctly (and to see that I didn’t quite look as elegant as I probably would have thought I did without the mirrors! Haha!).
The class consisted mainly of relaxation techniques and stretching. The poses and stretches focused on all parts of the body by combining breathing techniques. I found the shoulder exercises particularly useful as I get a lot of tension build up in my upper back.
We were told how poses could be adapted if we struggled. Catherine was very attentive to everyone’s needs and was also really kind and helpful in moving mats if we needed to to get comfortable. She also invited us to share any particular target areas we’d like to focus on and was helpful in offering advice e.g. stretches for lower back – she suggested stretching out by leaning against a wall or table when at home. She also offered tips for things to do at home such as how to deal with cramps (pinch lower lip, or press pressure point between big toe and second toe).
The class is well paced and the hour flew by. The exercises were not strenuous but they did help stretch out the body.
The session finished with a relaxation sequence of 31 points of light and energy in your body. It helped to relax the body and will definitely be something to try if I’m unable to sleep!
As well as focusing on pregnancy, Catherine also highlighted which stretches and breathing techniques would be good for during and after birth too. For example the shoulder rotating helps to loosen the knots built up from nursing a baby were you often end up with hunched shoulders!
I felt a lot looser and relaxed after the class.
The class takes place at 11am on Saturdays for £8.80. Mane and I would both highly recommend it if you live close by. We are hoping to return!
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post either in the form of remuneration or a free product being sent to us for review however all thoughts and opinions are our own.