What Is Yogalates? Exercise For Pregnant Women Explained
A fusion between yoga and pilates, yogalates is a safe and effective exercise for pregnant women explains fitness instructor Rachel Gaffey.
As the name suggests, pregnancy yogalates is a fusion between pregnancy yoga and pregnancy pilates. The exercise technique combines the benefits of the strength training of pilates and the flexibility of yoga.
How does it work?
It is helpful to firstly explain how yoga and pilates can benefit a pregnant woman. Pregnancy yoga works on creating space in the mum-to-be’s body, while releasing any tension that accumulates in your muscles. It helps to lengthen and make space in tight areas particularly between the ribs and hips. Pregnancy yoga can improve a pregnant woman’s posture as their body shape changes to accommodate a growing baby. It is fantastic for working on breathing techniques also; as these will benefit mums when it comes to labour and delivery.
Pregnancy pilates can help to keep a mother-to-be’s body strong as they hold their baby in over the course of their pregnancy. By the end of pregnancy, on average, mums are carrying two extra stone and a lot of this is held in the pelvis. With this in mind, pregnancy pilates focuses a lot on bum, thigh and hip strength. We include squats, lunges and upper-body work in our classes with a firm focus on strength, combining this with breath-work.
Both pregnancy pilates and pregnancy yoga help to keep the spine flexible to avoid any tightness and stiffness, a common pregnancy ailment. Both exercises work mindfully on the hips, another part of the body that comes under pressure during pregnancy. And in every class of both pregnancy pilates and yoga, you will work on pelvic floor strength. You need to have a strong yet flexible pelvic floor, as this is what holds your baby in, and it’s where your baby will push into to get out. A strong yet flexible pelvic floor is vital for your postnatal recovery.
Ideally, you should work on your strength three times per week to encourage a pain free pregnancy and to help your body change and accommodate your growing bump.
The perfect combination
Pregnancy yogalates combines the best bits of yoga and pilates. It is ideal for mums who can only get to class maybe once a week and want to obtain the strength offered in a pilates class, while at the same time getting the flexibility that pregnancy yoga offers.
Throughout the class, your teacher will guide you through a series of exercises, mixing between yoga and pilates. Classes start with a quick check in with the mums-to-be in the room, followed by some breathing work and then your teacher will start to warm up your muscles, building to the exercises planned for that day. All classes finish with a few minutes of deep relaxation. This is the magical part of the class where your body and your baby get to absorb all the benefits of your practise.
Expect to leave your pregnancy yogalates class feeling fabulous. Any tightness or stiffness will have disappeared from your body. You will have a satisfied feeling that you and your baby have had a good workout.
Benefits of yogalates
Pregnancy yoga, pilates and yogalates is suitable for mums-to-be from 12 weeks right up until you deliver your baby. As a mum of three, I have first-hand experience of the impact that pregnancy has on your body. And as a pregnancy yoga and pilates specialist, everyday I see the benefits of incorporating yoga, pilates and yogalates into your exercise routine.
- Mums regularly report that coming to class keeps their bodies free from tightness or stiffness for up to two days after a class. When your body is strong, flexible and pain free it is much easier to enjoy your pregnancy.
- Doing this type of strength work three times a week will not only help your pregnancy, but it will also help your labour, birth and delivery as you have built strength, stamina and practiced breathwork throughout your pregnancy.
Where can I do it?
To find a class suitable for you, check with your local yoga or pilates studio, and make sure that you find a teacher who is trained to take care of pregnant students.
To find out more about Rachel, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org