M.B. & Amber attended the prenatal classes
Even though I wasn’t able to attend for the whole term, I just wanted to tell you how invaluable the techniques we learnt about in class were during the birthing process. I was able to use many of the active birth positions and found these really helped with the first stage of labour. So much so that I was able to stay at home for quite some time before heading to the hospital and found by the time I arrived at the birthing suite I was already 7cm dilated. Even better, the only medical pain relief I used during the whole birth were two panadine tablets and Matt’s massaging techniques (that he picked up at the couples class) really did the job to get me through the contractions!
I really felt so empowered knowing that I could work with my body to birth my baby and feel so delighted that I was able to fulfill my goal to have a natural birth!
Thanks so much Julia for running such a fantastic class! I am very grateful to you and will be recommending your services to all the pregnant women I know!
I have been fortunate enough to have attended Julia Willoughby’s Pre-natal yoga class for both my first pregnancy and in preparation for our second baby. As a soon-to-be-mum I thoroughly enjoyed meeting other pregnant woman often who shared my desire to aim for a natural birth. Julia provides frequent opportunities for class participants to share their past birthing experiences and for first timers to contribute their current birth preparations and how they are feeling as their pregnancy progresses. I have gained a lot from listening to other woman talk about their feelings, concerns, plans and insights on labour and birth. The yoga positions taught were always gentle on my pregnant body and I left each class feeling refreshed and calm. Many of the yoga positions practiced are perfect for labour and I was able to recall these movements easily as I moved throughout the different stages of labour with my first baby. In the early stages of labour I moved freely around our home and when a surge approached I would lean forward and sway my hips from side to side. I remembered Julia’s words, which she would frequently reinforce throughout her classes, that the contraction “was just a muscle working”. This helped to ease any tension and allowed me to work with the surges rather than against them. When I arrived at the hospital I continued to stay active but by this stage I needed my husband to physically support me as I completed pelvic circles and remind me to breath slowly throughout the surges. Again Julia’s words crept into my mind, “imagine your cervix opening like the petals of a flower”. This imagery was extremely powerful and before I knew it I was entering transition then I was ready to birth my baby. While many of the movements may have come instinctively in my labour, I truly believe that Julia’s emphasis on beneficial positions and strategies to use in labour was one of the reasons why I was able to quickly respond to the different sensations my first birthing experiences provided.
Julia’s class aims to celebrate pregnancy but also highlights how important preparing your body and mind for birth is. I would highly recommend this class to any pregnant woman who wants to find calm in her pregnancy and in her labour.
Sally, Adelaide and Holly attended both the prenatal and postnatal classes
As an Osteopath I highly recommend all of Julia’s classes.
I attended the classes my self during and after the birth of both my daughters and loved the way they gently helped me cope with the changes both physically and mentally during the pre and postnatal period. I found the classes nurturing, extremely informative and safe. I looked forward each week to the classes and the opportunity to share this special time in my life with so many other mums, some of which I developed lasting friendships with.
The deep relaxation techniques and some of the stretches and strengthening exercises I learnt during the classes I still use regularly and will continue to use lifelong. I especially loved the partner’s night as my husband found the class to be very informative and it was great that I got lots of massages at home after that.
I also think the classes instilled a deep sense of calm and special ‘bonding’ time for myself and baby.
A big thank you to Julia and her team for providing such a wonderful opportunity for so many mums and their babies.
I attended pre-natal yoga and so far have attended two terms of ‘Mums and Babies’ yoga with Julia.
Pre-natal yoga was a special time for me each week to relax and bond with my baby, while preparing mentally and physically for birth. I look back with satisfaction and joy at how I birthed my baby. I’m certain that the pre-natal yoga classes contributed to my calm and confident approach to giving birth for the first time. The yoga stretches – suitable for different stages of pregnancy – helped me release the tensions of the week and familiarised me with active birth positions. The positive message I took home was that my body could do some amazing things, and that I could trust myself to birth my baby while remaining open to whatever my labour experience might bring. It meant a lot to feel that support from positive role models with a healthy approach to childbirth.
‘Mums and Babies’ yoga is, without doubt, my favourite activity of the week. The yoga stretches and sequences chosen are specifically appropriate for post-natal women. They help stretch out any sore muscles from breastfeeding and carrying my baby, and work towards re-toning the body after pregnancy. I find the accompanying breathing invigorating. The babies are very much a part of the yoga session, although if your baby is not well or you need some time out it’s fine to come on your own. We entertain our babies by doing our stretches over them (sometimes while pulling silly faces!) or balance them on our bodies if the pose allows. There is always a song or gentle stretching game for the babies too. The second half of the session is for sharing experiences on a given topic. Julia and Tracey help to create such a warm and supportive environment when guiding the discussion, making it easy to listen and contribute without judgement. This creates a real bond between the women in the group. I have made some lovely friends and taken home some great ideas from other mums in the group. I always come out feeling calm, energised, nurtured and – above all else – empowered to be the parent I want to be.
These pre-natal and post-natal yoga classes encompass so much more than just the yoga itself. In addition to physical energy and strength, I have discovered a support network, an excellent source of information and reading material, friendships and a positive environment that inspires women to confidently birth and parent their children in their own way.
Attending Julia’s Prenatal Yoga class before the birth of my first child was probably the single most important thing I did to prepare myself for the birth. The class helped me quite a bit with easing physical aches and pains during the pregnancy and recommending safe and effective stretches and exercises, but just as important were the little bits of information, stories and advice about managing the experience of labour and birth that came out in each class. I was quite scared of birth- having seen lots of unpleasant images in movies and TV shows and not hearing many positive stories from actual people. Julia and her team of teachers have such a positive and empowering state of mind that it effectively calmed me down and made me more confident too. When I was pregnant with my second child, the class was the same – much to my delight. For me then, the benefit was having a calm, positive oasis to focus on connecting with and preparing for the arrival of my new baby.
I attended the Postnatal Yoga and Support Group with each of my two children – and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I had quite a hard time in the first year of my first child’s life – adjusting to my new life as a parent at home with a baby instead of being a full-time paid worker and not having any family in Canberra. At the yoga class, I learned about so many things I couldn’t possibly list them all! The best part of it was the atmosphere of trust and respect that Tracey and Julia and Susie established. The class was something I looked forward to each week- as a time for nurturing myself and a forum for sharing ideas and learning. The yoga helped me focus on regaining my core strength after the pregnancy and to loosen tight muscles from having a newborn. The topical discussions helped me grow as a parent and meet the challenges of my new life as they came. It is an excellent, excellent class for any mother of a new baby.
Sarah, Alissa and David attended the natural birth preparation class
My husband and I attended the birth support class with Julia Willoughby and thank goodness we did. It was a fantastic way to prepare us both for the impending birth of our daughter. The class was informative and practical. It was amazing to learn about what your body actually goes through for labour and learn techniques to assist in what your body does naturally to get through the pain of labour. The array of techniques to help you through labour were great – like a tool box of ideas to try out when the time came. The massage pressure points on my lower back worked wonders. The course was so fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone. My husband found it so helpful – before the class he had no idea what to expect and how he may be able to help but after the course he felt confident and ready to be a wonderful and useful birth support partner, which he was!
The partner workshop was very beneficial as it allowed us to focus on the birth of our baby together and learn massage techniques to be used during labour. The workshop stimulated discussion between us as a couple about how we thought/would like our labour and birth to go. In the end we used many of Julia’s massage techniques during labour, I don’t know what we would have done without them.