Following her own pregnancy, Janine became passionate about the benefits that yoga can bring to pregnant women to help ease the transition into motherhood and beyond. Here, she talks about the benefits of offering a suite of classes, from prenatal and hypnobirthing, through to mother and baby, and baby massage.

Pregnancy yoga is a joy to teach; watching a woman step into a different, more aware state and step into her feminine power is Joy. The transition can however feel a little daunting for many and this is where yoga provides a lifeline; an ability to bring calm and ground through asana, pranayama and sound work. Indeed, in pregnancy, women are naturally more in their yogic state so are willing to embrace all aspects of yoga philosophy and come home to themselves.

I wanted to offer a whole suite of pregnancy-related classes to support women on their entire pregnancy journey and beyond, so I trained as a hypnotherapist; weaving this knowledge with yoga philosophy to offer hypnobirthing. My classes became so busy that I had to run them as courses! I also started to get more one-to-one work, particularly with ladies that suffered from anxiety who needed extra guidance and attention. I then introduced couples birth rehearsal classes, which believe it or not, were a favourite amongst men! They love this practical (yet subtly hypnotic) way of experiencing birth preparation. The men even began and still do attend my general adult classes! What’s more, midwives I have come into contact with have communicated that those ladies with a regular yoga practice, tended to feel extra empowered and confident during and immediately after birth.

For me, one of the joys of teaching mothers-to-be is seeing them become mothers. This is where baby yoga and baby massage can help women nurture the bond with their newborns. The comfort and safety we provide within classes is pure sangha for these new mums and tiny baby yogis! It represents a safe space where they will have already carved a space for themselves and made friends. This haven of practice and familiarity can make a huge difference to mothering and a mother’s wellbeing.

Watching new mums and their babies learn to communicate with each other through yoga massage and song is pure joy! The practices are essential for early motherhood and the pranayama is a lifeline. In modern society we are disempowered from our instincts after being bombarded with all the ‘dos and don’ts’ in society (not even mentioning parenting books!) The opposite is true in the yoga massage classes. It may be the only time a week that they are empowered to remember that they can trust their instincts! The invitation that was present in pregnancy yoga continues - everyone can be present and inhabit their bodies - honouring their hearts and inner teachers.

Women are desperate to come back to yoga classes after birth, and as a teacher, I get to witness and in many ways share their journey from the first trimester to becoming a mother, to then coming back home to themselves. I run postnatal classes as the need is apparent and classes end up overflowing! As a yoga teacher, it makes sense to offer the whole suite of pre and post pregnancy classes. The demand is high, and if you specialise in this field, it can be very rewarding.