Why can't your pregnancy be a little more blissful?

- Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I haven’t met a single pregnant woman who wants an uncomfortable and stressful time during their pregnancy, birth and transition to motherhood.

In fact, if ever you meet a pregnant woman who beams at you and says “my pregnancy is amazing and blissful” you might think she was completely crazy. Or probably lying. And underneath it all, you'd probably be feeling totally envious and wondering what was her secret.

Pregnancy is an incredible time in the journey of a woman's life. It's a time to celebrate and shine in all your feminine glory.

Yet I’m not suggesting that pregnancy, birth and motherhood will transport you to a fluffy, ethereal world with cherubs playing harps for the rest of eternity. But surely you deserve a little of the bliss? This bliss I’m talking about, is not something we find on the outside, it is not handed-out alongside the pee-cup to confirm our pregnancy at the doctor's surgery. It's something that we must create for ourselves.

It saddens me that for many pregnant women, pregnancy and birth is not blissful. Rather, it's just something to be endured or 'pushed through.'

Yes there are plenty of unwelcome and uncomfortable aspects to pregnancy. You may be quite familiar with your old friend ‘morning sickness’ (which never just greets you in the morning right?). There's the sore boobs, achy back or those restless and sleepless nights. You might've even experienced some of the less common side effects like random, dizzy spells in shopping centres, swollen ankles and hair loss!

Whilst pregnant we tend to focus a lot on the physical side – how the body feels and looks - and it’s not always a positive focus. What can really help us to enjoy the experience more, and even enjoy a bit of bliss, is our mindset. How we think and react is something we can control and nurture. And sadly, it is often completely ignored by both ourselves and those around us.

Doctors and medical professionals are intensely focused on your physical body and your baby’s growth and development. And we want that – that’s why we hire them.

But who attends to and nurtures your mental and emotional state during this period of change and growth? That's up to you.

You can choose to take time-out for yourself by joining a supportive Pregnancy Yoga group. This is where you'll get the time and space to be honest with yourself and consider and share important things that can really make a difference to your mental and emotional state. Things like: your attitude; your worries; how to manage work stress; dealing with your feelings about pregnancy and how it might be to be a mother. Doing this helps you to make conscious choices and thrive in pregnancy! It's invaluable to your overall health and wellbeing.

Too much time is spent obsessing over the best model pram or deciding on colour schemes and themes of nurseries, instead of reducing stress and increasing ‘down time’.

Why shouldn’t you feel great when you are pregnant?! Pregnancy is an exciting and even euphoric time. Don't let society pressures leave you feeling inadequate, scared or just unsure about what's going on. 

Pregnancy Yoga is a great way to spend time nurturing yourself, not just feeling good in your body or alleviating the aches and pains, but also giving you space in your mind to leave all the demands, expectations and responsibilities aside.

With a clearer head-space, pregnant and birthing women are able to:

  • Make better choices about their own health and wellbeing (and ultimately the health and wellbeing of their unborn baby);
  • More positively influence their attitudes towards their changing body and emerging role as mother and carer of a new life and;
  • Remain calm and enjoy their pregnancy and birth experience more.

A totally uncomfortable and stressed out pregnancy experience doesn’t have to be your default position. Why not take the opportunity now to shift it?

Can you stop, right now, just for one minute. Close your eyes and in this moment focus on one thing that is great about being pregnant. Notice how that makes you feel.

For more than one minute of bliss and contentment, book into our next 6 week Pregnancy Yoga Course where you'll meet a group of like-minded women who are also keen to have a positive, relaxed mindset.

Alison Hilton is Momentum’s Pregnancy and Postnatal yoga specialist. She has been teaching yoga for 5 years and also works in adult education in the university sector. As a mum herself she realises that bliss during motherhood some days can be when your darlings are peacefully asleep and you can sink back into the couch and have a moment to yourself!

Five ways yoga strengthened me in pregnancy and as a mother

- Tuesday, July 14, 2015


There are many false claims about what yoga will and won't do for pregnancy and motherhood. 

Pregnancy yoga won’t determine whether or not you have a natural birth, a caesarean birth or anything in between. Yoga won't make you a miraculous super-mum able to be eternally peaceful. Pregnancy, birth and the unique motherhood journey are all events that unfold very much outside of our control. 

The biggest gift that practicing yoga will provide you is a way to face and accept everything that comes from being a mother.  Yoga offers the loving arms to hold you when things are tough, the strength to endure sleepless nights and a space to remember how amazing you truly are!

Here are a few ways I used yoga to handle some of the tougher moments I've encountered whilst pregnant and as a new mum.

1. Pranayama (Breathing)

My baby needed surgery. It was a difficult situation - but I knew what to do to give myself support. I used my breathing techniques as a shelter to create calm. While it was still such an emotional time, I wasn't just being blown around in a storm of that emotion. I could come back into myself and create moments of stillness with breath. At a time when circumstances were so out of my control I found I still had the power to help balance myself.

2. Chanting and Positive Intentions

As a yoga teacher, you might expect me to be really “into” chanting! And yes, there were certainly a few beautiful Sanskrit chants which nurtured my tired and aching body and lifted my spirits. But even simple intentions and positive phrases like “this too shall pass” or “breathing in, breathing out” were of immense value - especially late at night with a baby who hadn’t yet learnt the difference between night and day.

3.  Relaxation

If you are a person (like me) who could never sleep during the day, then deep relaxation is definitely for you! Resting while your baby rests; even if you don’t actually sleep is crucial. Sleep deprivation is awful; it has a huge physical and emotional effect on the body. Unfortunately, there is the temptation (or guilt or expectation) about “getting things done” whilst pregnant and when you are a new mum. Pregnancy_Yoga_Course_Momentum_Coaching_and_Yoga_Melville

Yoga practices help with relaxation by teaching you the difference between feeling tense and letting go. Tuning into the need to unwind and relax is one of the most important lessons you can teach your baby, and an amazing gift to yourself.

4. Being in the Moment

Throughout all the challenges and new things to learn, learn to stay present and enjoy the moments! 

The first flutters of the baby moving, hiccups in the womb, the first touches of birth, smiles and baby fingers around your hand are all amazing moments. Enjoy the beautiful moments, especially if things have been a challenge. Pregnancy and motherhood are not smooth sailing all the time, nor are they guaranteed to be. By keeping focused on the present (rather than dwelling on the past or being impatient for the future), you can remove many of the pressures and expectations.

5. Asana – The Physical Postures

Carrying a baby around in your womb for nearly ten months is a huge physical undertaking. Your body will get tired and sore at some point. By learning and actually practicing the different asanas (physical postures) you can help relieve some of the aches and pains.

I was surprised after birth how much I needed asana. The challenges of breastfeeding and holding a baby all day created soreness and stiffness in my shoulders and neck that I simply was not prepared for. But take it easy, with your asana practice, your body is ever evolving and changing and sensations in the body may be quite different from day to day.

During pregnancy, we spend considerable time focusing on the health and wellbeing of our babies, being conscious of what we eat, drink and how we exercise. It’s logical to be aware that these things can affect our unborn baby.

However remember too, that the relaxation and yoga practices that create calm in you as a mother, can instill a calm in your baby's psyche that goes well beyond their time in the womb. 

If you'd like to learn how to bring these empowering yoga techniques and perspectives into your experience of pregnancy and birth, then check out my upcoming Pregnancy Yoga Courses. 

Enjoy the exciting journey ahead.

Alison Hilton

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