Mother and baby stretch and bond

Dr Anna Arya of King’s College Hospital Clinics tells us more about the benefits of pre- and post-natal yoga, and why you should try their class

Mother and baby stretch and bond

Despite the languid tranquility that sets in the capital during the summer, many mothers and expectant ones sometimes feel overwhelmed. Besides being busy and concerned with the health and happy growth of their precious bump or newly born infant, they may have to juggle between work, taking care of the household, doing the very much-dreaded grocery shopping, taking the pet to the vet, and even calling the pest control services. This may result in a great deal of stress for these women, who should be calmly enjoying their motherhood.

In an attempt to help mothers in Abu Dhabi to live serenely through the summer, King’s College Hospital Clinics Abu Dhabi, along with OmAge Yoga, have set up a series of pre- and post-natal yoga classes, taught by Yoga Alliance and Children’s Yoga certified teacher Vivid Riley.

Dr Anna Arya, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at King’s College Hospital Clinics Abu Dhabi, tells us, “Yoga that is tailored to pregnancy and motherhood has considerable benefits on the body and mind of the mother.”

For instance, she says, pre-natal yoga teaches mental centering, which focuses on breathing and the perception of one’s body, therefore making mothers feel calmer and in turn reducing stress and anxiety levels. “This is essential during labour as it helps ease the pain and discomfort,” Dr Arya explains.

At the same time, pre-natal yoga also improves a lady’s quality of sleep and increases the flexibility of the body while strengthening the muscles at the same time (all of which is clearly very useful during natural childbirth).
Interestingly, pre-natal yoga also reduces the risks of pregnancy related depression, according to a study published in Depression & Anxiety (the official journal of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America).

And what about after the baby is born, you ask? Well, Dr Arya says post-natal yoga is equally beneficial. “[It] helps mothers get back in shape and keep healthy,” she says. “In post-natal yoga, mothers practise with their infant, making them bond even further and connect with their bodies.”

Hala Saqqa, a UAE resident and mother, says pre-natal yoga was her best friend when she was pregnant last year. “I found that exercising three to five times a week helped strengthen my back and condition my muscles, which really supported me,” she says. “Breathing in and out was a real saver and also helped tremendously during birth!”

Dhs75 per class. Pre-natal yoga: Sun 4pm-5pm (during Ramadan), Sun 6pm-7pm (after Ramadan). Post-natal yoga: Sun 11am-noon (during and after Ramadan). King’s College Hospital Clinics, The Shining Towers, Mubarak bin Mohammed Street, (050 778 5268).

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