With pregnancy related treatments and exercise classes taking off in Doha, Jessica Bailey Ackerman chats with Yama Yoga Studios to find out more about their prenatal yoga classes.
No matter where you are from, having a baby in a foreign country, especially for first-time mothers, can be a daunting experience. You may be far away from your own family, your support systems or your trusted local childhood doctor, and this can create anxiety. Many women have mixed reviews about giving birth in Doha and for those with small social circles, it can often be a very lonely time.
But for no longer, as Yama Yoga Studios have expanded their studio to offer more prenatal yoga classes to assist women through childbirth and to offer a support system of like-minded individuals. Alongside prenatal yoga, they have natural childbirth coaching, which is a two-day course run by a professional doula, as well as baby massage lessons and postnatal yoga (which you can bring your baby to). I met up with instructor Alissia to hear more about why prenatal yoga has become so popular in Doha and what the benefits are.
Yama Yoga has 45 yoga instructors, certified by the largest Yoga Alliance in the world, a handful of which have qualified further to teach prenatal yoga. ‘It is essential that the instructor taking the class has completed the correct training,’ Alissia tells me. ‘It is important you have someone watching over you that knows what they are doing to keep you out of harm’s way.’
Prenatal yoga is a lower-intensity yoga with modified poses and the occasional use of props. There are certain poses and twists that one can only do up until a certain point. Its benefits are not far off those typical of ordinary yoga. Alissia explains that, ‘prenatal yoga helps to increase pelvic floor strength, promotes relaxation and breathing techniques to help with labour. It helps to open the hips with the help of the natural hormone Relaxin, aiding flexibility, and lengthening muscles. All of which aids in an easier birthing experience.’
At Yama Yoga, two types of sessions are on offer: prenatal yoga and prenatal flow. Prenatal yoga is tailored for those who have had little to no yoga experience and focuses on breathing and relaxation. Prenatal flow is a little more challenging, focusing on strengthening muscles, and designed for those who have had a bit of yoga experience in the past.
Just about anyone can do prenatal yoga and Alissia recommends starting in your second trimester. ‘We have some women who come almost right up until the day they deliver. If you feel up to it, we will teach you up until the very end,’ she says. ‘You don’t need to get your doctor’s approval, unless you have an underlying condition, and many doctors actually advise their patients to take up yoga because of its proven benefits.’
Apart from the physical benefits of prenatal yoga, there is a massive community factor surrounding the classes that keeps women going back again and again. ‘Especially in the summer,’ Alissia says, ‘as you are stuck in the house all day with your baby, and so many mums crave adult human interaction and to chat to other new moms-to-be. It’s good to be out of the house and to socialise.’
Overall, a range of women in different stages of their pregnancy attend the classes and for this reason there is a pre-screening process to find out a bit about their pregnancy, such as how far along they are or whether they’ve faced any complications the instructor should be aware of, for example.
Classes can accommodate approximately 20 people at a time but sometimes more. The Yama Yoga Studios team has tried to accommodate as many people as possible, and with the new studio, which opened last month, they are also able to offer more classes to women who work or prefer evening classes.
On top of all that, next year, they hope to have more qualified prenatal yoga instructors as their teacher training course kicks off in September. So the mums-to-be of Doha may never feel lonely again.
For schedule information go to the website www.yamayogastudios.com or call Garvey’s (European Family Club) Studio (66175802) or Asas Towers West Bay studio (55721728). Classes are QR60.
Three to try: pregnancy treatments
Mother To Be at Four Seasons Spa
For the expectant mother, a massage has been especially designed to nurture mum and baby. Gentle and relaxing massage techniques improve circulation and relieve common pregnancy discomfort, including mental and physical fatigue. This service is performed during the second and third trimesters only.
60 minutes, QR695, Four Seasons Spa, West Bay (4494 8888)
Pre and Post Natal Massage at Remède Spa
For those expecting and for those who have recently delivered, Remède Spa has designed a unique massage to combat ailments brought on by pregnancy, such as circulation and excess water retention.
60 minutes, QR600, Remède Spa, St Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0300)
Lighten Up at Dados
This treatment focuses on combating swelling specifically in feet and legs, something that is common with pregnancy. Dados has many pregnancy related treatments and they all make use of Mama Mio organic products, made specifically for pregnant women.
30 minutes, QR200, Dados Salon, Al Seal Towers, West Bay (4498 0033)