The importance and benefits of Pre-Natal Yoga: An in-depth look with Simmi Fink
Pregnancy brings a new meaning to the concept of connection. It is a period of immense joy coupled with excitement and wonder. By developing a deeper awareness of your body, a powerful connection between a mother and her child is established. We got in touch with Simmi Fink, Yoga and Hypnobirthing teacher to hear all about her personal experiences as well as tips for your pregnancy journey!
Simmi completed her 500 hour yoga training in 2013, which included some Pregnancy Yoga Training. At the time, she didn’t know it would become such a big part of her life, especially when she fell pregnant only 3 months after the training.
Simmi knew she wanted to continue on her path of healthy and positive living through her pregnancy and committed to attend Hypnobirthing Anti Natal Classes 5 week . “The breathing techniques, fear release exercises & hypnosis scripts really aligned with everything I learnt in Yoga & this just made it really easy for me to affirm that I was on the right path towards a drug free, positive birth experience.”
During her second pregnancy, she decided to take her preggy yoga journey further with some more formal education. “I was also able to really feel what was happening in my body & gain understanding at a really deep level.”
Simmi continued teaching yoga until 8.5 months pregnant with both pregnancies, and yoga really saved her life during this intense time of emotional upheavals, body changes, fears arising, and the general ups & downs of having a baby living inside your body.
The knowledge of yoga was everything!! “I could not have imagined what it would be to not have yoga in my life while being pregnant."
After her second pregnancy, Simmi completed her Hypnobirthing Teachers Training, "It was just incredible… and goes hand in hand with pregnancy yoga teaching!
What is Hypnobirthing?
HypnoBirthing® is a program that guides and prepares a woman in giving a peaceful and beautiful birth.
When someone is under hypnosis, they are in an extremely relaxed and almost dream like state, similar to what yoga practitioners would experience in savasana. This is the ideal state that you would want to be in when you are birthing your baby. In contrast, if a mother were to experience fear or panic during the birthing process, adreline kicks in and blood gets transported to the vital organs, not the uterus. With a lack of blood, and therefore oxygen, the baby does not get its essentials! Without having to rely on medication to override your nervous system, Hypnobirthing prepares you for that moment when you need to find that relaxed state in order to have a gentle and natural birth.
“It is like running a marathon.” Says Simmi, “You would not do it without training would you? Birth is the same. Seriously, It takes the same amount of energy! You want to succeed in that birthing marathon, you have to prepare!”
When asked what her pregnancy yoga journey was like, Simmi expressed that not much had changed. “I just continued with my regular practice with my pregnancies, taking out the deep twists & making adjustments as my belly grew.” Each trimester comes with its own challenges & Simmi found ways to overcome them within her yoga practice:
During the first trimester, when the nausea was prominent, Simmi spent a lot of time upside down, mostly in down dog.
In the second trimester, as the body settles, there was a positive swing as Simmi was able to practice with her baby growing. "It was magical! You can still do strong classes if you are used to yoga"
Gradually her practice became slower & more focused on hip openers & leg strengtheners towards the end of the pregnancy. Simmi explained that her Hypnobirthing instructor and Preggy Yoga teacher insisted on doing 100 squats a day to prepare. She spent more time doing calming breaths & long relaxations in restorative poses
As a mother and yoga teacher, Simmi brings a unique and individual approach to her pregnancy yoga classes “The way I like to structure my preggy classes is by bringing awareness to the womb- heart connection, & connecting to this life within.” There is power in making friends with your unborn baby. There are aspects of building stamina, mentally & physically to overcome anything that comes their way when it comes to birth & generally, bringing more mindfulness into the room for the preggy mom. There are specific breaths, movements & postures that are really important for pregnant moms to do, to help them on their journey.
The benefit of a prgancny yoga class over a regular class is that it is tailored to specific needs of the expecting mom. It does not have to necessarily be less active or “not such a work out.”
“Malasana, takes pressure off the lower belly muscles, strengthen & open the hips & decompresses the spine. This poses is also an amazing birthing position as it shortens the birth canal therefore the baby would not have to travel as far to be born. This compared to the conventional birthing scenario of lying on their back, where the tail bone has no room for movement (and can often get damaged!) as well as not using gravity to help.We would work towards holding Malasana for up to 10 minutes, because that might just be how long it takes in that final birthing stage for baby to be released into the world.. It’s the little things
Simmi even went on to say that yoga is a great tool for expecting moms to learn even if they have no prior experience practicing yoga. “It is a great time in a womans life to begin yoga, as yoga always meets you where you are at.”
Simmi's tips for having an awesome hospital birth..
Visit the hospital as your due date approaches & make friends with the nurses.. they can make or break your experience.
Take an electric hot water bottle and put the bottle on lower back or lower belly for amazing pain relief!
Birth Balls are your friend! Take one with to sit on, rolling your hips in circular motions to encourage baby to bear down.
Visualizations & guided meditations- listen to them every day, envisioning opening imagery like a rose or flower opening up. The positive affirmations for birthing are really an incredible tool to keep calm & to speed up the process.
Water has an immediate calming effect & pain reliever. The effects last over 24 hours so bath regularly towards end of pregnancy & consider a water birth- once you get into the water, gravity is defied for instant pain relief of around 20%.
Do as little as possible! Resist the urge to do do do and rather be be be!!!
Simmi is currently completing her Doula training, so that she can support Women & families in the birthing room to have a positive birth experience.
"Every single woman in the world deserves a dignified, positive birth experience.Having the strength & guidance of a powerful woman in a conscious way by my side really is what made my birthing experiences even more amazingly transformative!"
Simmi will be hosting an advanced Pregnancy Yoga teacher training in 2018 at her Yoga studio, hOHM Yoga Sanctuary in Umzumbe, KZN. This training is open to anyone, as well as yoga instructors who would like to incorporate pre-natal yoga into their classes. On this training you will learn how to adapt classes to expecting mums through the different trimesters, a wealth of info on natural ways to heal & get over any sicknesses, how to look after your body & baby bump with nutrition, ways to release fears, & many aspects guiding a woman towards that incredible moment of meeting their baby.