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The Benefits of Yoga, and How It Can Help Depression and Pregnancy

Posted by Sarah McCylmont on

Yogini, model and fitness enthusiast Becky Hampson talks about the benefits of yoga, and how her healthy lifestyle has helped her through depression, pregnancy and as a new mum.

 

Hi, my name is Becky and I teach classes in aerial, pole dance, body blast, yoga, family yoga, acro balance and aerial yoga. I also hold fitness and reiki healing retreats in the UK and Europe.

My hobbies are being a mummy to my 8 year old son Myles, my newborn Vinnie and my dog Obi. I am a single mum so they are my everything and my days revolve around their needs.  Alongside being a mummy, I fit in my fitness as much as possible, which is not only my career, but my hobby and passion.  I am fascinated with nutrition and plan to study nutrition next year so that I can help other people with their eating habits as well as their fitness.

My favourite clothing brand is Wink Fitnesswear. I not only love the style of the brand but also find the clothing to be super comfy, made with quality fabrics that keep me dry and supported during my classes.  Everyone is always commenting how fantastic my outfits looks, which is great for the confidence.  Wink moulds to fit your body shape and I was actually able to wear Wink throughout my entire pregnancy. As you can see from my photos, it definitely made me love my pregnancy body more.

Becky Hampson wearing Wink Siren Top and Shorts, 38 weeks pregnant

 

 

 

 

 

 

RELAXATION

IMPROVED FLEXIBILITY

INCREASED MUSCLE STRENGTH AND TONE

IMPROVED ENERGY AND VITALITY

MAINTAINING A BALANCED METABOLISM

DETOX

CLEANSE

ALIGNMENT

STRENGTH

FOCUS

PROTECTION FROM INJURY

HELP WITH CONCENTRATION

 
Becky Hampson wearing Wink Elektra Crop Top and Leggings, before pregnancy.

 

How has yoga changed your lifestyle?

My lifestyle has changed in many ways through yoga. My diet was one of them, as I became more spiritually connected, it was my time to give up animal products and become Vegan.

My sleep pattern has improved, I perform a 30 minute evening pranayama (breathing technique) session before bed, which helps my sleep, and I wake up refreshed ready to perform some morning asanas.  Usually I choose ones that suit my mood, for example if I’m looking for some more energy I’ll do a headstand, if I’m looking to detox and feel sluggish I’ll do some twisting postures.  My moto is that yoga is like a toolbox, where as a toolbox fixes items, the yoga toolbox fixes you. Like a toolbox, yoga healing can be transported and used anywhere as and when it is needed.

My outlook on life has changed, we can hold onto things in our mind that drag us down but I’ve learnt to send forgiveness to people and situations no matter how hard that might feel. This really helps to heal you as well as the people you are forgiving. I have even said a little prayer for them, even if I’m feeling hurt or upset by them.

Yoga has helped me learn that everything happens for a reason and no matter how challenging life can be it is your life and your journey.  When we face these challenges we grow as a person. At first we might think that a stress free life would be ideal, but then I remember how each challenge has made me the person I am today.

 

You have stayed in great shape during your pregnancy and look amazing after the birth. What do you eat?

My diet consists of a healthy variety of foods, I am vegan so I’m very aware that I need to make sure I’m getting all the correct nutrients and vitamins. Many people question the health benefits of being vegan, but I have never felt better.  I have more energy, a brighter complexion, longer glossy hair and nails, plus have enjoyed major benefits throughout my pregnancy.

I made sure I had my Pregnacare vitamin daily, lots of water, and ate beans, pulses, seeds, vegetables, vegan protein powder and peanut butter by the bucket loads.  I ate plenty of healthy brown breads, pastas and snacked on hummus, veg sticks, and nuts, all day long.

PLEASE SEE MY NUTRITION TIPS AND RECIPES AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE

 

Did you still do yoga throughout your pregnancy? If so, did yoga help?

I practiced and taught yoga throughout my pregnancy up to 34 weeks teaching and 37 weeks practicing, I researched what postures to avoid in yoga.  For my aerial classes I got helpers in class to perform moves I felt were too much to teach.

My students and the gym that I worked at were supportive and knew I would not do anything my body could not handle. I think they appreciated my warrior outlook and bombarded me with gifts.

The yoga throughout certainly helped. I had the most traumatic labour with my first born and was hospitalised for a long time. My new mind-set for healing past experiences steered me into opting for a home birth using yoga as my tool.

I picked out labour friendly postures like cat/cow and hero and my pranayama’s:  bumble bee (Bhramari) and the snake (Shitkari). Knowing I had them filled me with confidence to get through labour. Bumble bee is well known for being used in labour and now it soothes my little boy instead of a dummy, I just do the breathing with him close and he remembers it.

My body was in good shape during the pregnancy with the help of yoga, therefore getting in and out the pool during my home birth and moving around the pool was simple.  The midwifes and doctors often praised me on how well I was doing so being a yogini has definitely paid off.

 

Is yoga safe whilst pregnant?

Yes yoga is safe whilst pregnant. Some postures should be avoided and you must listen to your body.

You must find a class with a pre-natal qualified teacher that will give you modifications or a pregnancy yoga class.

The basic rule is to listen to your body.  You need to be careful whilst performing balancing postures as your centre of gravity may have changed since carrying the bump. These postures are excellent for a pregnant mind and body so when I say be careful I don’t mean avoid, it’s about adapting and using a wall or chair to support yourself if you do feel off balance. You also need to be careful not to over stretch.

There are many more anatomical and physiological changes associated with pregnancy that I could discus here but as long as you have a qualified teacher experienced in pregnancy, you can discuss any concerns.

My teacher is pregnancy yoga trained so was qualified to guide me during pregnancy and adapt my teaching. I also attended some pregnancy yoga classes.

Becky Hampson wearing Wink Asymmetric Crop Top and Side Panel Fitness Leggings, 37 weeks pregnant.

 

How did yoga help with the birth?

Yoga helped my mind and body stay strong during and leading up to the birth.  I used yoga to stay calm when I went over my due date and used postures like goddess pose and warriors to help bring on labour.

I went 6 days over and had to use my yoga tools to calm my mind. Yoga helped my body stay strong for labour. I took full advantage of being allowed as many birth partners as I wanted. I loved sharing the experience and being calm, something that would never happen before I discovered yoga.

The other way yoga helped is that I put my entire trust in the universe and believed everything would be ok. I performed my OMMMMM mantra daily throughout the lead up in third trimester. This vibration represents the universe and brings greater focus and awareness to the greater meaning of life.

 

 

Do you still have time to do yoga now that you have your baby?

I am managing to fit in some yoga, not as much as before but something is better than nothing.  I have a yoga room at home that is calming. I usually dim the lights and breast-feed Vinnie there, then let him watch or snooze while I do 30 minutes.

I start my mum and baby yoga classes at the end of February so I am excited and blessed to have the opportunity to practice this with baby and teach the class with him. It is difficult to find time for everything and I feel this will really help calm us both as well as share with others.

 I’ve been doing some baby breathing with my baby. He lies on me and I inhale on his exhale and we harmonise the breathe, this is very calming. He also loves bumble bee breathe as he remembers it from labour, so I practice this allot around him and he instantly loves the sound.

 

How can you incorporate yoga and a healthy lifestyle when you are busy with a baby and your son?

I’ve had a friend stand with the pram while I jog around a field, I’ve expressed milk and had my dad sit with baby on his weekly visit so I can run around the estate with the dog.  I have contacted local mummys and we have gone on super long walks with the prams.

I try to make sure I do 30 minutes of something each day and if I miss a day then I do one hour the next day, this way you prevent falling out of routine.  I have done a lot of goal setting work with clients so I am aware of how to stay on track with this

Becky Hampson wearing Wink Xena Vest and Leggings, 4 weeks post pregnancy.

 

What advise would you give to others looking to start yoga?

 My advice would be to…

  1. TRY ALL STYLES

Yoga is not the same everywhere, each class and teacher has a different unique style. You may try one you don’t like, but there will be one out there that suits you.

  1. MAKE SURE YOU BOND WITH THE AURA OF THE ROOM/STUDIO

Sometimes the room we do the class in can make us feel uneasy. Some gym studios are cold in winter, however yoga needs a warm body and relaxed mind.

  1. NEVER PUSH YOURSELF TOO FAR

Don’t be afraid to stick with the lower impact variation, you are still gaining all the benefits, you need, so remember that yoga is not about touching your feet, it’s about the mindfulness and disciplines we learn on that journey to our feet.

  1. BUY YOUR OWN YOGA MAT

Once you have your own mat it will encourage you to practice at home as well as in the studio, you can leave it in your car and practice amongst nature if you see a blissful field.

  1. NEVER COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS

It’s “your” yoga and your path, you must come into tune with your body and leave any ego behind, yoga is a non-judgmental environment.

  1. KEEP A JOURNAL

Keep a yoga journal and jot down what you learn in class as soon as it finishes. This quiet journal reflection time helps close the practice further so ask the teacher questions.  Start to learn about yoga, repeat what you have learnt, let your journal be the key to a better you. If the teacher uses mudras or pranayama jot them down to re-use when you need them.

  1. BUY MY DVD

When I teach retreats abroad, my clients encouraged me to bring out a DVD for when they were unable to attend my classes. It is great for my retreat clients who live too far away to attend classes and for people I meet throughout my journey who are keen to try my yoga.

I have priced it affordable at £6 and I also offer FREE mini tutorials on my you tube page.

Becky’s DVD is available to order here:

http://www.bodycouturepolefitness.co.uk/yoga_dvd.htm

 

What do you wear for yoga?

I always wear Wink Fitnesswear for yoga. I love my side panel leggings, they are simple and easy to move in.  I can imagine they show the outline of the asanas beautifully. The fitted leggings have slimming side panels that enhance the natural shape of your body, making your alignment look and feel perfect. 

Becky Hampson wearing Wink Braided Leggings and Drawstring Vest, 4 weeks post pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wink’s moisture wicking and anti-bacterial properties are perfect for teaching my body blast class before my yoga class. They leave me feeling fresh and dry. I have tested many other brands but Wink is by far the best for keeping me dry so that I am not constantly changing outfits between classes.  Another favourite to teach yoga in is the braided leggings, the cut out design makes you feel cool when practicing yoga but looks stylish too so I can dress them up with some wedges after class without having to change.

 

Do you do any other fitness alongside yoga?

I go running , swimming , pole fitness, aerial silks , aerial hoop , I train for pole, hoop and silks competitions, I go to the gym, I lift up my baby lots which is my weight exercise haha!

 

What plans do you have for your future?

I want to add more classes like water aerobics and pregnancy yoga, and learn more about nutrition, I have seen a course I want to do in vegan and vegetarian nutrition.

I want to link all this to provide a service for pregnant women and new mums to eat healthy during and post pregnancy whilst keeping active and safe.  I would arrange to meet them with their babies after their 6-week check and teach mum and baby yoga, and post-natal fitness.  

My life will now be about fitting everything around my mini Vinnie but I do still plan to teach my day retreats and aerial classes and take the baby with me.

 I am keen to bring out another yoga DVD, but for mum and baby, and pregnancy.  

 I have done plenty of charity work in the past and my next fund raising event will be an aerial hoop show, with the proceeds going to Manchester Community Birthing pools. They are a charity that provided me my birthing pool for free, and have a Facebook group for support. 

 

Do you have any other advise for us?

 My advice would be to start a yoga class ASAP if you don’t already attend one and invest in some good quality Wink clothing for maximum comfort during yoga.

I know my life may seem like flower petals and rainbows but I do still struggle some days, tears flow over burnt toast and I often feel overwhelmed. Luckily, I have the yoga tools to calm down these situations, but I’m only human and they still very much occur.

I have been on medication in the past but have found yoga to be my new medicine.  Baby is only 11 weeks old but so far I’m managing with yoga as my herbal remedy and trusting the universe as my guide.

Postnatal fitness

For anyone looking to continue with exercise in the postnatal period (after birth) my advice would be to be gentle and listen to your body.

I am aware I have started my fitness soon after, however I practiced all the way though my pregnancy.  It is my second child and I have been performing quite intense exercise routines for many years so my body is used to it.  I have done intense studying to know what is right for me and always listened to my body.  

I have the mind-set that this is a new journey; my body has changed in many ways and I have a beautiful son to show for this. I realise that some yoga postures and aerial moves could feel like starting from scratch but I will embrace that and try and feel that excitement of getting that new move all over again.

 My advice to new mums training again is to take it very slow, don’t feel frustrated when you can no longer achieve what you used to. This is a brand new journey, imagine a closed lotus flower ready to grow and blossom all over again but this time brighter and more beautiful than ever. You have given birth to a beautiful child and are now growing and learning yourself again. Each posture or aerial move you achieve has even more gratitude for yourself than before.

 

Here are some of Becky’s favourite nutritional tips:

CHAI SEED POTS

 Chai seed pots otherwise known as frogs spawn.  I have one of these in the evening and in the morning, they have many benefits, the texture sticks to your internal organs and helps cleanse and flush you out.

The chai seeds are full of protein so great to have alongside breakfast to keep my protein intake up. If I was dieting or wanting to shed a few pounds I would have a larger one instead of breakfast, but for the moment I am trying to eat more whilst breast feeding. Peanut butter on toast or crumpets with dairy free butter or coconut oil is simple and easy to prepare.

INGREDIENTS:

Coconut milk or soya milk or both (I find it’s a lovely consistency and creamy if I use soya and tinned coconut milk)

Chai seeds

2 bananas; optional

HOW TO MAKE:

Place a quarter of a bag of seeds in a large bowl , add half a tin of coconut milk and around 50ml of soya milk (you can judge the consistency) add the seeds whilst stirring vigorously with a fork. If you are adding bananas or other fruit add this now diced as small as possible. Place in the fridge , add 2  spoonful’s into a small bowl and dress with vegan chocolate sauce or syrup if you need a sweeter taste. I find washing out used candle pots are fabulous sized bowls for chai seed pots, so save any.

 

VEGAN LATTE

This is a healthy latte variation but tastes just as good.

INGREDIENTS:

Coconut oil

Coffee

Hot water

Organic coconut sugar (optional)

HOW TO MAKE:

Boil the kettle and mix coffee and hot water with the coconut sugar, place in a blender or Nutribullet with a generous sized spoonful of coconut oil. Blend until it turns into a frothy, creamy coffee without the naughty cream.

 

Some other favourites:

HUMMUS, TOMATO AND SUNFLOWER SEED WRAPS

These make a great snack on the go, the description pretty much describes it. I would opt for a whole grain or protein wrap.

 

CHOPPED AVACADO ON RYE BREAD

The shops sell lots of fabulous variations of rye bread. If you’re not vegan a poached egg goes a treat on this also.

 

MAKE SURE YOU ARE EATING ENOUGH ESPECIALLY IF YOU TRAIN. ALWAYS CARRY AROUND 2 LITLES OF WATER AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE DRANK IT ALL BY THE END OF THE DAY.

Lastly, my nutritional advice for any pregnant ladies is to eat your placenta, the benefits are unbelievable, from helping to produce milk, reducing risk of post-natal depression, amazing for the skin and hair, gives you energy and much more.  This can be expensive as it is around £170 to turn it into casuals so I had a lovely friend turn mine into smoothies and ice lollys.

 

To contact Becky or follow her journey, please see the links below:

 Instagram:

@aerial_beckyboo

Facebook:

Body Couture Well Being Centre

Bexercise

Reviva Retreats

Stretch and Sculpt

Acro Balance

You Tube:

Becky Hampson

Website:

www.bodycouturepolefitness.co.uk

E-mail:

info@bodycouturepolefitness.co.uk


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