Going on a Yoga Retreat while Pregnant? Definitely!
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One year ago, I did my first yoga retreat and enjoyed it so much, that I decided that from now on I want to do this every year. Doing yoga, meditation, enjoying healthy food and relaxing somewhere in the sun, is my kind of thing. When I found out I was pregnant earlier this year, I changed this plan a little bit. I didn’t want to be far from home, didn’t want to fly anywhere, but I wanted to do some yoga somewhere nice. I even thought about looking for a special retreat for pregnant yogis, but decided against it, as I was not doing any particular pregnant yoga classes at home, but still keep up my regular Ashtanga yoga class.
When I stumbled upon a short retreat near Wiesbaden/Germany called “4 Days of Sunshine – Yoga, Breath and Meditation”, which my yoga teacher from last year’s retreat was going to teach, I booked it immediately.
On the last weekend in May, all my bags were packed – I was ready to go.
A little piece of heaven
The retreat was hosted by YOGAdelight and took place at the beautiful seminar house Sampurna, which lies in the middle of nowhere, close to Wiesbaden in the Taunus region. The house used to be a primary school and has been completely renovated and refurbished only five years ago. It now holds 24 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, 5 seminar rooms in different sizes, one big room serving as dining room and lounge for everyone, as well as a sauna in the basement.
I was greeted warmly by managing director and Sampurna founder Caroline Parvati Engel. After moving into my single room and unpacking most of my stuff, I took a walk around the house and was stunned. The whole house was so beautiful, nice colors, fresh flowers everywhere, paintings and statues and little things that just made the perfect impression. My personal highlight – the biggest of all seminarrooms right under the roof – with a big piano, chandeliers and this very special atmosphere.
Getting to know each other
After my first tour of the house, I sat down with a cup of tea and a book in the outdoor area and waited for the other participants to arrive. We were a small group of only five women plus two yoga teachers. Everyone else was from Cologne and some of them had already spent the previous year at Sampurna. I was the only pregnant yogi, but not the only mother – so we had another topic to talk about, aside from yoga.
We were also the only group booked into the house that weekend. Not only could we choose the seminar room we liked best, but we had the whole house to ourselves – what a luxury!
On the Mat
Our first yoga session started on our first day – after arriving and unpacking, we all met downstairs in our yoga room „Maitri“. Antje, whose calm and caring way of teaching I had already enjoyed in Malaga, made us focus on “balance” for this first class. I was able to keep up with the others quite well – in spite of my baby belly – especially in the standing postures and flowing sequences. When it came to lying down, on the belly, Antje offered special alternatives to me – and I was able to enjoy the whole 90 minutes of yoga as much as everyone else. The class closed with some pranayama and a short meditation – and it was then, that I really arrived in the here and now.
A quick shower and we all met for our first dinner in the lounge. This was quite a culinary experience. Joshua, the young cook, who had only recently started working for Sampurna, amazed us all with his delicacies. Not only that first evening, but also in the days to come. For dinner we could choose from soup, salads with different dressings, antipasti, olive bread fresh from the oven, cheese and spreads and a vegan main dish, such as paella, rice and curry or gnocchi with tomato sauce.
For our brunch he served us scrambled eggs, salads, a warm dish (such as vegetable burgers, veggie lasagne or pasta), cereals with milk and plant-based alternatives, again bread fresh from the oven with lots to put on top.
We definitely had no risk of starving – on the contrary! We all had to hold ourselves back in order not to overeat – because it was just so delicious!
Starting and Ending the Day with Yoga
Starting the day in silence is something I remembered from my first yoga retreat. We all kept quiet and to ourselves until after our first yoga class of the day, and did not start conversations until we sat down for brunch. We all had the start of our days to ourselves, occupied only with our own thoughts – a wonderful experience, especially for us mothers. At home, the days normally do not start in silence.
Antje and Dulce took turns teaching the classes. This way, we had a perfect mix of different approaches and practices, each one special and enriching. Balance, releasing energy, clarity, creation, wisdom and contentment – each approach consisting of asanas, breathing exercises and meditation – just like the theme of the weekend promised us.
Our last yoga session on Sunday morning ended with a guided gratitude meditation by Dulce, who reminded us of all the things we could and should be grateful for. I am especially grateful for having booked this retreat and for having been able to participate. This was made possible to a great deal by my family, who always gives me the time and liberty to perform my hobby intensively. I am also grateful for the host, the seminar house and the two wonderful women and yoga teachers, who made this weekend a special and unforgettable experience. Last but not least, I am grateful for myself and my body, who lets me enjoy yoga even this far along in my pregnancy.
Going on a Yoga Retreat while Pregnant? Definitely!
Even though this retreat was a short one, it was still a wonderful opportunity for me to relax, gather strength and energy and of course to get some advice for the rest of my pregnancy and the upcoming birth. Which asanas can help me preparing for birth, which should I avoid, how can I gather strength and how long can I keep practicing yoga at all?
Even though this weekend was not designed for pregnant yogis in particular, I noticed I could keep up with everyone else due to my regular practice in the last three years. My fellow yogis were also surprised and impressed at how I could manage two 90 minutes sessions of yoga every day.
I know my body, I know what it can do and what it can’t do, I am mindful when it comes to practicing. I will continue to do so and to step on my mat as long as it benefits my body and makes me feel good. Currently it helps a lot to keep the usual pregnancy issues at bay … I know, which postures can help with back pain, which I don’t suffer from so far. As my belly grows and my body changes, my practise will also change – and I am curious, how much longer I will really step onto my mat.
I can only recommend yoga to all pregnant women. Those of you who never did yoga before, should seek out a special prenatal yoga class, as those focus on relaxation, breathing techniques and relieving methods – all necessary for the upcoming birth. If you are an experienced yogi, you can keep up your usual practice as long as it feels good. Every yoga teacher can help you with alternative postures, to prevent lying on your belly and explains to you which asanas to avoid from a certain stage of pregnancy on. And last but not least, you know your body best and know what helps and feels good – and yoga definitely does!
Yoga Teachers: Antje Schulze and Dulce Jimenez, Lord Vishnu’s Couch Cologne/Germany
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