My pre-natal yoga experience

12 Mar

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I’ve practiced yoga for almost 8 years now and always planned to continue when I became pregnant. But the truth is, I hated prenatal yoga in the beginning. I missed the intensity of “real” yoga! I actually did one heated class early in my pregnancy after getting my doctor’s OK, but immediately felt that it was too much. It was early in my first trimester and the nausea was unbearable in the heated class setting. I continued on with pre-natal classes, supplementing at home with pre-natal pilates DVDs which I absolutely adored, but didn’t begin to really appreciate my pre-natal classes until I started my third trimester and really started to get uncomfortable and achey.

Which brings me to this past week. I’m 38 weeks today and had two of the most incredible pre-natal yoga classes ever, just in the last week. We focused on really restorative, relaxing poses in Lara’s class and I had one of the best experiences in shivasana that I’ve had throughout my pregnancy…maybe even ever. I also received some tips for guided meditation and music to check out on Spotify that I’ll share at the end of my post.

In Bec’s class which was just three students large today, we were able to get really hands-on attention and focus on exactly what we needed. I mentioned the tightness in my pelvis, hips and the knot in my shoulder and left the class feeling so much looser. I also have a new favorite move for dealing with those knots in my shoulders and back:

Yoga move to relieve knots
1. Laying on your back, place a block under your upper mid-back.
2. With hands in prayer pose, elbows extended out, rest hands between eyes.
3. Slowly lift your pelvis up off the floor.
4. Adjust, wiggle and massage the knotted area as needed.

I think the most beneficial aspect of regular yoga practice is breath awareness. It’s amazing how my breath aligns itself to postures automatically. So for newly pregnant women who haven’t practiced, absolutely start pre-natal classes early. But for more seasoned yoga practitioners, I’d recommend a different approach. I would have practiced on my own at home even more than I did in the beginning to encourage continued muscle development and toning as well as the meditative benefits of just breathing in a meditative way. I also would have been more proactive about seeking out really seasoned instructors with children, who know about the physiology of pregnancy. Stretching and relaxing yoga is great, but too many of my early pre-natal classes felt like a waste of my time when I should have been building muscle strength and exploring what was possible as my body changed and my belly really started to develop.

Now, at 38 weeks, I look forward to class and leave the studio feeling incredibly centered and calm. And as I prepare myself mentally for labor, I’ve really enjoyed working through guided meditations and playing the same music we use in class to help guide my breathing while I’m at home. If you have Spotify, check out Deuter’s Buddha Nature album and Michelle’s Young’s Hipnobirthing playlist. I’ve been loving them lately.

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