- Written by by Queen Munguti for Kenyakidz
‘Mommy and Me Yoga’ classes are giving Kenyan mothers a chance to keep fit during and after pregnancy which will see them lose up to five kg in a month. This can reduce pregnancy obesity that affects over 2 million pregnant women as research conducted by the obstetrics research team at Cahrite University Medicine in Berlin, Germany found.
“It helps lower the blood pressure and keep the heart rate normal. It also relieves pregnant women from back pains and makes their muscles stronger. It does not involve painful exercises, it about a feel great work-out,” said Sheila Otieno, a yoga instructor who teaches the class at Acacia Studio.
Nearly half the pregnant women are overweight. This can lead to obese babies being born, birth complications such as the baby's shoulders being stuck during delivery and surgical delivery by cesarean section.
Th Mommy and Me Yoga classes target both pregnant women and those who have just given birth.
A woman who is six weeks pregnant can begin the classes but Otieno places emphasis on getting approval first from your doctor before beginning the classes. “At six weeks, the body is already settled and is prepared for the coming change, but before everything is somehow loose and anything can happen,” she said.
For those who have already given birth, the classes are done while the mother ‘wears’ her baby. “The mother can choose to involve the baby in the yoga by strapping them to her or laying them on the yoga mat as they work out,” said Sheila.
Sheila Otieno, a mother of a 17 month baby, has been a yoga instructor for ten years but she started the Mommy and Me Yoga classes six years ago. “I wanted to pay exclusive attention to the mother and her child together and so far the feedback has been good.most women usually come back when they get pregnant again.”
The classes give an opportunity to women to regain their strength and flexibility after pregnancy and are a way for the mother to bond with their baby in an enjoyable activity.
But it is more than just a yoga class, it is a learning platform for new mothers. “New mothers get to learn from others, things like how to breastfeed their babies with ease, how to help them burp, why they are crying and encouraging each other,” said Sheila.
Yoga is not a new concept in Kenya, just last month Kenya joined the world in celebrating the International Yoga Day by holding a session at the University of Nairobi grounds in which over 5,000 people took part. The United Nations International Day was proclaimed on 21st June in a bid to bring about awareness of the holistic benefits of yoga such as relieving stress.
Sheila Otieno's classes are one hour long from 10.30 am and 11.30 am on Fridays, a session is Sh1000 and the the father of the child can also tag along. Her class is at the Acacia Studio in Westlands. For more information, call her on 0728885387.