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Jemina's pregnant poses - The Mail on Sunday London

Danace Brook ()
3 November 1996

Title : Jemima's pregnant poses
The rich and famous who prepare for motherhood at yoga sessions
Author : Danace Brook
Publication : The Mail on Sunday London
Date : November 3, 1996

They are the most fashionable ante-natal classes in Bri-
tain. Despite the fact that the philosophy is 5,000
years old and each hour-long lesson costs a mere =1C7, both
Jemima Khan and Koo Stark swear by their yoga sessions.

Jemima, the 22-year-old wife of former cricketer Imran
Khan and daughter of billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, is
due to give birth at the private Portland Hospital in
central London this month.

In preparation, she and Koo, Prince Andrew's former
girlfriend who is six months pregnant, have been going up
to three times a week to classes at the Life Centre, a
natural health clinic where they and about 20 others
practise in bare feet the deep breathing techniques and
warrior like `asanas' or yoga movements.

Although the poses look aggressive, they are said by Lynn
Pinette, the American yoga expert who teaches at the
centre, to improve flexibility of the spine and strength-
en the pelvic muscles.

The centre, run from an elegantly converted chapel in
Notting Hill. West London, was set up four years ago by
Littlewoods heiress and yoga enthusiast Louise White. She
is a friend of Jemima and six months ago gave birth to a
baby at home in Devon.

One source at the class said: 'Jemima said she absolutely
loves the lessons. She finds them incredibly relaxing
and it's very sociable.

'But you really feel it's doing something to your body as
well. It makes you much more confident. We are all con-
vinced it's going to help with the births.'

Lynn Pinette, a childbirth expert with 20 years of teach-
ing experience, says: 'Yoga for pregnancy has really
taken off In the last 12 months.

'We find it assists pregnant women In many physical ways
from helping to prevent serious birth hazards like toxae-
mia (a blood poisoning brought on by high blood pressure)
to reducing swelling and improving circulation throughout
the body.

'But my general philosophy is that it makes the body
strong. It will heal a lot quicker with these

Yoga is set to become even more popular since a medical
report last week warned women that vigorous exercise in
the later weeks of pregnancy could damage the foetus.

A more gentle exercise, yoga is most effective for preg-
nancy from the 14th week and five teaching hospitals are
encouraging women to use it with a view to researching
claims that it helps women have easier pregnancies, a
drug-free labour and healthier babies.

Christine Hill, an obstetric physiotherapist who works In
private practice In Chisnwick, West London, says: 'Preg-
nant women should cut the exercise they normally do by 60
per cent otherwise there's a danger of diverting the
blood supply from the placenta to the brain, which is not
good for the baby.

'But yoga is totally beneficial. I see more than 300
pregnant women each year and the number of women practis-
ing yoga has increased by more than a third over the last
12 months.'

Mr Yehudi Gordon, a consultant in obstetrics and gynae-
cology at the St John and St Elizabeth Hospital In St
John's Wood, North London, says that yoga Is the best
preparation a pregnant woman can have for childbirth.

'I have delivered 3,000 babies whose mothers have done
yoga. It reduces the need for drugs and surgery, and
cuts the number of Caesarean and forceps deliveries.

'With running, jogging and aerobics, muscles are contra-
cting and closing, with yoga they are stretching and
opening, ready to deliver. Yoga expands the body, teaches
breathing techniques, reduces body stiffness and helps
meditation which is an excellent stress reliever.'

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