woensdag 29 augustus 2012

Singaporeans do things differently: Prenatal yoga

As most of you have picked up on, I am pregnant with a second little Tamtam. (The first little Tamtam appears to be comfortably blocking this knowledge from appearing on her radar.) If all goes according to plan, in about four months time we will not only have a Tiger in the house, but a Dragon as well.

So I'm working on a plan.

As part of the plan, I am attending prenatal yoga classes. (Another part of the plan that I hope to get around to tomorrow morning is prenatal massage because my lower back is killing me. Or, it's killing my ability to sleep, which is worse.)

Prenatal yoga is offered in the Netherlands as well, and consists of gentle stretches, breathing exercises and lots of chattering to get to know fellow mummies.

Prenatal yoga in Singapore* consists of proper asana's with an instructor walking around, eyeing up postures and remodeling you (usually mainly me) so it hurts more it stretches deeper. There is a bit of meditation, lots of cushions and bricks to make sure the pregnancy loosened muscles and joints don't get torn, and lots of encouragement to keep on breathing. As one instructor pointed out to us, "you will need to breathe throughout your labour as well"**. (I like plain speaking instructors like that. It motivates me.)

There is not a whole lot of gentility to prenatal Singaporean yoga outside of the instructors beatific smile and soft voice. And there is no chatter during the 75 minute long work out. None.

Now, all I know about Dutch prenatal yoga is hearsay. I myself opted for the more traditional prenatal gym class, set in primary school gymnasium and consisting of twenty minutes of actual exercise, forty minutes of explanations about birth and labour (including a gruesome video during which S. leant over and whispered: "Is that or isn't that guy your old publisher boss?"), and as much chatter as we could squeeze in between stern admonishments by our track suit clad instructor. That is about as far from Singaporean prenatal exercise as you can get.

There are lots of birthing classes without exercise on offer in Singapore, set up by hospitals, by doula's, by heartland community centers. However, I've already gone through the whole thing once, and as far as I remember all theoretical knowledge went straight out of my head when the real labour pains hit.

Luckily for me, S. had - under duress - actually attended one class with me and he was in no pain whatsoever so could actually remember quite clearly how to breathe. So there we sat, me moaning it hurt, him squeezing my thighs and huffing and puffing in an exemplary way. When I gaspingly tried to point out that it was easy for him to maintain a steady rhythm, the nurse told me to shut up and follow him along because "otherwise it'll just hurt more". (Did I mention plain speaking motivates me?) So I shut up, huffed, puffed, went into some sort of weird time warp survival zone for a couple of hours and the next thing I knew I had a daughter.

All this to say that I don't think I'll be attending any birthing classes here. I might make S. go for a refresher course though.

* After visiting several prenatal yoga classes, I have opted for Casa Santosa on Robertson Quay. I especially like Pharrah, who does the Thursday morning class, because the pace suits both my 20-week belly (still fairly flexible and able to do an actual work out) and my non-knowledge of yoga (patience, lots of posture correction). The classes are small and the instructors focus on helping mums find the right position for their body, instead of simply modelling the desired asana with their lithe, non-pregnant limbs.

** Writing this down brings back the memory of my prenatal gym instructor teaching us an ingenious way of hurting one another by squeezing a pressure point on the shoulder and then making us breathe while being manhandled by our fellow mummies. She must have been my Singaporean yoga instructor's spiritual sister.

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Oma,
    Ik zie bij de Yoga 2 items staan die voor jou nog niet gelden
    improves sleep
    reduces backache
    Hoe komt dat nu toch!!

  2. Omdat er hier in huis al een kleine Tamtam rond loopt, die het af en toe nodig vindt gezellig een nachtje door te spoken en die met regelmatig op en van dingen af wordt getild! :)

  3. Het rondspokende tamtammetje lijkt op haar oma, die mocht of niet meer naar bed, viel dan vanzelf in slaap,of kreeg wat lekkers van pappie wat hielp!
    Voor je rug nog dit advies, inpakken met bladeren van de witte kool!

  4. Dank voor het advies - de zwangerschapsyoga lijkt nu toch aan te slaan, dat is ook heel fijn. En ik til een stuk minder na aanmaningen van vader Tamtam, dat helpt ook goed. Kool is hier goed te verkrijgen in de winkel, daar zijn de Chinese Singaporezen dol op!