Benefits of Pregnancy (Prenatal) Yoga- an interview with Elaine Whittaker of yogabeing
Updated: Jan 3
Elaine Whittaker is an experienced and qualified yoga instructor, a mindfulness coach and the owner of yogabeing. I have interviewed this lovely, intuitive lady to find out more about the benefits of doing Yoga during pregnancy.
Q: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. When did you first launch yogabeing and what was your journey towards yoga and mindfulness like?
Elaine: I’ve been enjoying yoga and meditation myself for well over 30 years. Whilst I was working in Sales and Marketing in corporate environments my yoga and meditation helped me manage stressful situations, kept me grounded and calm.
About 13 years ago I made the decision to embark upon a yoga teacher training programme. First a one year Foundation Course, then a two year Diploma. These courses covered not just the physical postures (asanas) but also breathwork (pranayama) meditation, mindfulness and of course how to teach others.
I launched my business part-time whilst still working in 2007, and about 4 years ago took the plunge and became fully self-employed. I love what I do and am eternally grateful to all the lovely people who come to my classes and thereby enable me to continue doing what I love.
Q: How long have you been teaching pregnancy yoga?
Elaine: I qualified as a Pre and Postnatal yoga teacher about 6 years ago. I love observing the changes in my students as their pregnancy progresses, and often receive lovely feedback from them about how their breathing and meditation practices have helped them during labour.
Q: What are the main differences between prenatal yoga and your other, "normal" yoga classes?
Elaine: So much of what you do in a ‘normal’ yoga class is not advisable whilst pregnant – for example, no laying on tummy, no laying on back post 18 weeks, no strong twists, no strong back bends, no deep forward bends even some of the breathing techniques in ‘normal yoga’ is not advisable.
So a pregnancy class is really very different to a normal class. I tend to focus on ways of
relieving and avoiding back, neck and shoulder paid, learning breathing techniques and
meditations that will be useful in labour.
Learning breathing and meditation techniques can be invaluable to retain a sense of calm during the highly stressful time of labour and delivery.
Q: When is the best time to start pregnancy yoga?
Elaine: You can start at 14 weeks and continue as long as you wish – I’ve had several ladies in classes up to the week before their delivery.
Q: What are the benefits of pregnancy yoga to both, mother and baby?
Elaine: For Mum, you learn ways to avoid and relieve back, neck and shoulder pain, to strengthen the muscles around the hips, pelvic floor exercises, and calming breathing and relaxation techniques. For baby, I guess a calm, happy, confident Mum must be a good thing!
Q: Are there any Yoga or Mindfulness techniques that can be used to make labour and
Elaine: Learning breathing and meditation techniques can be invaluable to retain a sense of calm during the highly stressful time of labour and delivery.
Q: When and where do your prenatal yoga classes take place?
Elaine: I run a weekly Pregnancy Yoga class on a Tuesday evening, starting at 7.30. The classes are held at The Clifton Centre in Bicester – a lovely clean, warm, comfortable venue.
Q: What inspires you and your yoga practice?
Elaine: I love the way yoga and meditation makes me feel – physically, mentally and emotionally and really enjoy sharing this with others.
You can find more details about Elaine's yoga classes on her website: www.yogabeing.co.uk.
Elaine's pregnancy yoga students will receive special voucher for a free maternity photoshoot with The Second Star Photography. Ask Elaine for details after your Yoga class.