YOGA - Preparing For A Healthy And Safe Delivery
Sabine has practiced yoga since her early 20s and continued throughout the different chapters of her life, which saw her move from London to Asia, working in the private equity sector and having three children. She credits yoga as the constant in her life, which has kept her grounded during life’s highs and given her stability throughout. Returning to London last year she realised her dream of expanding her part-time yoga teaching while living in Singapore, to setting up "Yoga with Sabine", which enables her the run more prenatal yoga classes while giving her the flexibility of spending lots of time with her kids aged seven, five and four.
Sabine Chalopin, you teach yoga and run prenatal classes at “Yoga with Sabine” in Brook Green, West London. What inspired you to teach?
During my first pregnancy in Singapore, I had a wonderful prenatal yoga teacher who encouraged us to be strong physically, mentally and emotionally. I went back to her during my other two pregnancies and I have always been very grateful for her guidance. After my pregnancies, I returned to a more dynamic practice called Vinyasa/ Ashtanga yoga with another inspirational teacher, who taught me patience and perseverance (both on and off the mat!!). Both teachers were in their 40s and had such great energy, optimism and also simplicity in their life that I see them as role models. I like to think that while I teach I am passing on the knowledge, which they shared with me, to other students here in London.
What are the key things to watch out for in antenatal/ prenatal classes?
The good news is that you can go to an antenatal/ prenatal yoga class even if you have not practiced yoga before. However, you shouldn't attend a class until you pass the 12th week of pregnancy. In the first trimester, it is really important to be gentle on yourself and take all the rest you need. When you are ready to attend a prenatal class, avoid any twisting postures. Some students who have practiced yoga prior to their pregnancy may want to do fancier poses such as inversions, but I would discourage that, as I don’t like to encourage taking unnecessary risks.
What can one do oneself at home /with kids running around?
I find that a lot of my students have really tight shoulders, either through being in front of the computer too much, breast-feeding or carrying children - so "shoulder openers" are great and easy to do daily. My favourite one involves holding a belt with straight arms at shoulder height, at a distance a little wider than shoulder width. Palms are facing down. Inhale to bring the belt up overhead, so that the palms are now facing forward. As you exhale, bring the arms back behind you, lowering the strap. Inhale to bring the strap back up overhead, exhale to bring the strap back to the starting position. Do this a few rounds, and remember that the movement follows the breath. I give regular tips and advice on my instagram account.
I also love getting my kids involved, so if you have little ones try getting them to join. Mine love doing poses like downward facing dog, tree, cat and cow. It’s a great way to play with them and get them do some physical movement, as well as learning their 'right' from their 'left'!
How can one have a session with you and what is your philosophy when teaching?
I teach at a boutique yoga studio called Yoga Studio 39 in Brook Green, in West London. I am also available for private bookings where I come to people’s homes. I like teaching small groups or individuals as each body is different, and each person will have their own challenges. By having small groups or private students, I can tailor-make the class according to the student's needs. Often a lot of emotion or stress is held in the body, and I love helping students release anything which doesn't serve them well. And of course, I believe that a class should be fun, while being a little bit challenging at the same time!
How do you achieve a work life balance with three children?
I teach as much as possible when the kids are at school! During the week, I drop off the kids at school, start teaching, and then pick them up again in the afternoon. There are a couple of evenings when I teach, so I make sure that my husband gets home from the office on time! I also have a rule where I don't teach on the weekends so that I can really be present with my husband and kids.
Finally, my best tip is to put the phone away when spending time with kids so that you are not so easily distracted by emails, social media etc.!