By: Brooke Chenoweth
Yoga therapist and doula Jeanne Hauguel is passionate about practicing yoga. She details the benefits of both prenatal and postnatal yoga.
How often do you practice?
I try to practice every day. As a mother of four with a young baby and living on an island, I need to wake up very early to have everybody ready, and I spend most of my days juggling work and the kids’ drop-off, pick-up and activities. Some days are busier than others and don’t allow me any time to myself for a self-practice; in that case, I make sure I practice with my clients while I’m teaching.
I’ve been practicing yoga for almost a decade, but I became addicted six years ago when I realised the benefits it gave me. Yoga completely changed my posture and started to tone my body as I got into a more advanced practice.
What I love about yoga is that, firstly, it’s not a fitness regime or a sport; it’s a way of life, a philosophy. It works on your body but also on your mind – balancing both is the key to having all the benefits of yoga.
I used to have a bad back due to the wrong posture; yoga taught me to be aware of my body. And, of course, learning some anatomy helped me understand why pain or discomfort appear and how to solve or alleviate these issues by strengthening certain areas and stretching others. Now, if there is a day I can’t practice, even just for 20 to 30 minutes, my body tells me something is wrong. I do give myself some breaks here and there, but I always find a moment to at least give myself a good stretch with a few yoga poses and some breathing practice.
How long have you been teaching yoga?
I’ve been teaching and practicing more intensely for the past six years. Being a doula, I have a real passion for pregnancy and afterbirth. This is the reason I decided to train as a yoga therapist and pre-/post-natal specialist: to combine both my passion to help other mums feel better during this stages of their lives, and to have better birth and postpartum experiences.
What are the benefits of yoga in pre- and postnatal fitness?
Prenatal yoga really helps alleviate the daily bodily discomfort that comes from changes that occur during pregnancy. It also helps future mothers to prepare their bodies to give birth, and it’s a good way to teach mothers to listen and connect to their bodies, allowing them a better body awareness that will help them during childbirth. Postnatal yoga is great to start early after childbirth (four to six weeks), to teach new mothers how to quickly regain some strength, get rid of some extra weight and shape their bodies back to normal. It also helps to protect new mums from long-term issues that can occur after childbirth.
Any advice for expectant mums looking to try yoga during and after pregnancy?
It’s very important to know that you do not need to be a yogi to start prenatal or postnatal yoga. Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life, and having a practice dedicated to the body’s new evolution and condition is important as it helps understanding what is happening inside, alleviates discomfort, and prepares for birth and after.
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This article first appeared in the February/March 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.