Holy shit I've been Kundalini'd (okay I'm not sure if Kundalini'd is a word) but I certainly feel like I've just been 'done' as opposed to doing.
At sixteen weeks pregnant and woefully under exercised, I blame it on having two kids and regular #mumboss duties. I have made the vow 2016 is going to be my healthiest year yet. More walks, more swimming and more yoga, okay some yoga.
I've always had an on/off relationship with yoga, which on the surface of things could or should really be my thing...I've tried many different types over the years: vinyassa flow, hatha, power yoga, bikram yoga, iyengar and sometimes I thought I was on the tipping point of falling in love with it...and then not so much.
I want to be flexible. I really, really do. But I also want to sweat. If I'm going to put my gym kit on, I want to feel like I've had a proper work out, otherwise what's the point? Having said that, I don't want to be reduced to a sniveling wreck on the floor, begging for mercy and water - The Bikram Experience. True story.
So, after announcing I was pregnant (again) a colleague and someone I have been recommending to clients for pregnancy and birth support for a couple of years now, Doula Laura Jones AKA Wise Mother said 'Great, I'm just about to start up my pregnancy yoga classes again.'
My response, 'fantastic.'
Internal dialogue: How the hell do I get out of this one? I hate pregnancy yoga. You breathe, you relax, you talk about pregnancy ailments and mainly I get cold. Very cold from the overall lack of action. The other thing I was slightly concerned about was that Laura is a Kundalini teacher... Kunda-what?? The only things I'd really heard about Kundalini, involved Russell Brand and sex. Not together, but I have heard it referred to as 'The sexy yoga'.
I was certain this was not going to be up my street at all. But when you commit to having the healthiest year ever alongside telling yourself you want to be more flexible and someone says they're starting up a pregnancy yoga class like you've never experienced before, you've got to try it out right?
So...I'm writing this after my second week of classes with Laura and I'm pretty blown away.
Kundalini is yoga, like you've never experienced before.It's different. The first thing you'll notice when you go to a class is that your yogi is dressed from head to toe in white. I'm not really sure of the significance of this, but they definitely look like they mean business.
Laura teaches in a small but beautifully formed studio in South-East London. With only room for a maximum of five students, it feels gorgeously intimate and you benefit from lots of personalized attention.
Once the hot waters and lemon teas are handed out, it's time for the proceedings to start. Each session kicks off with a chant. It doesn't matter if you don't know the words because these are very thoughtfully printed out for you to read. There is something immediately centering about starting the class focusing on the sounds you are invited to create, and with that your practice has begun.
After a the short chant, you do a warm up before moving into what is known as the Kreya.
What surprised me about the warm up is how flowing the movements were. I'd describe them as lyrical, almost dance like, and during my first week all of this action took place on the floor. Large sweeping motions that got the heart pumping and my muscles almost audibly saying, 'eh up, what's going on here?' You then move into the main part of the class The Kreya. Which is a set of very simple movements that are repeated and build up on themselves over a period of about 20 minutes to half an hour. The movements are simple, but the self-control and discipline required to stick with the posture and hold the alignment is really bloody hard.
And that is what makes is so different from all of the airy fairy pregnancy yoga classes I have tried in the past. You're learning to find a space within your mind that detaches you from the rest of your body. Laura coaxes you through the poses, guiding you to find expansion, find the little bit of pleasure in your body that maybe trying to convince you to 'just put your arms down.' Until your time in each posture is up.
Laura's years of experience of working with women through pregnancy and birth shines through as she connects the dots. Tying up what you're doing in class and how it will serve you during labour in a way that is completely tangible. So by the time you finish the class you leave feeling open, stretched and like a warrior princess. It's amazing!
It's something that I'll definitely be recommending to my London based students at The Calm Birth School as the perfect bedfellow to what they are learning throughout their hypnobirthing classes. If you are a woman who loves to feel the burn and wants a yoga class that will challenge you both physically and mentally during your pregnancy you need to check out The Wise Mother.