Pregnant yoga teacher unites expectant mothers in isolation with online community yoga classes

When the government announced that pregnant women were of increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus, Jal Kamal Hilson of Leeds suddenly found her livelihood threatened.  As a pregnant self-employed yoga teacher, and a very social, community driven one at that, her work relies on social connection – something she was now being told she should isolate from.

Operating as Buds & Blossom Yoga, specialising in Yoga for Pregnancy, in fact for Mums – expectant, new and those with growing babies and toddlers, Jal knew she needed to set an example and follow the government’s guidance to isolate for 12 weeks.  

“The day they announced I should isolate I had a little cry.  Pregnancy represents a time of great change and uncertainty, which is both physically and emotionally demanding, requiring huge adjustments to women’s lives.  During this time, especially with the added pressures coronavirus is putting on expectant mums, the community and comfort my classes provide are more necessary than ever. So to know I might not be able to support women during this time was terribly upsetting.  Luckily it wasn’t long before my husband was dismantling furniture in our spare bedroom to create a studio space and he pulled together a plan to help me get my classes online.  Very quickly my upset turned into optimism as I could see a way I could help pregnant women like myself having to physically isolate by uniting them online through my classes.”

Although some of Jal’s classes will be streaming on Facebook Live, following some research Jal decided to use the free group video chat app ‘Zoom’ to host her classes. Unlike Facebook this technology allows two-way face-to-face group video, allowing her to maintain the deeper sense of communion so important to her classes, and even more so as pregnant women find themselves isolated.  

Having run a few tests last week, Jal is excited to deliver some really engaging and interactive classes using the technology she and her husband have implemented.  As well as being pregnant, Jal is also a mother of an 18 month old boy, so she herself has felt the benefits that yoga can bring for parents and young children alike and can’t wait to share with everyone who is able to log on.  Launching her full timetable this week, there will be three pregnancy yoga classes each week, as well as two mother & baby classes.  Jal, who also runs after school’s club yoga for reception year 1 and 2 children will also be running regular classes for 3-7 year olds.

“Young children are very sensitive and can pick up on parents’ emotions and the anxieties the country is facing.  My kids classes, grown ups welcome, will be designed to offer some respite and an opportunity for groups of children and parents to ‘be in the moment together virtually’ – having some fun, while utilising Yoga to nourish the mind, body and soul.”

Recognising the financial strain isolated parents will especially be under, Jal is running her classes as ‘Pay as you feel’, meaning those in financial difficulty can take part in the classes for free.  

Jal’s full timetable can be found on Buds & Blossom Yoga’s Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/BudsAndBlossomYoga/

Buds & Blossom Yoga are also on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/budsandblossomyoga/

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