Prenatal Yoga for Strong Mamas and Babies

I can tell you from my own experience that yoga is great for every stage of pregnancy, even the first trimester when things are a little dicey and you aren’t feeling that great.  I’ve currently got baby number two on board so I’ve been battling the ups and downs right there with you. Research has shown that the boost of endorphins and other increased good-feeling chemicals help battle morning sickness (for those lucky enough to have any relief from it), the early aches and pains of your ever changing body, and moreover — acceptance of those changes.

The second trimester is when most of us come out of our “first trimester hiding cocoon” and announce the great news to the world.  We’re actually showing and our bodies are really beginning to feel the changes and shifts. Power Prenatal Yoga helps us build strength, increase flexibility and improve balance. With our ever-growing bellies, it’s imperative to keep some sort of physical activity to prepare us for the third trimester.

The babies feel the benefits of prenatal yoga from the inside as well: they receive the same boost of endorphins and re-oxygenated blood, feel the vibrations of the calming Oujaii breath, and have the same sense of learned relaxation when they enter this world.  Moreover, with our twists, muscle engagement and movements, the in-utero baby gets a massage, and feels the compression and release of their muscles and bones.  Strong mama abdominals create strong babies from pushing and poking at mommy’s hard abs!

I learned from experience that yoga helps me physically during pregnancy, so I intend to go to actual classes in the studio three times a week: once to prenatal, and twice to other classes. I also found yoga helps you see through the hormones: sometimes you find yourself a sobbing mess, but with the insight of yoga, you can identify when things are “serious” and when things are “hormonal.” At least sometimes 🙂

I know my yoga practice will also help support my labor and delivery. Yoga teaches us to relax on command, and during labor we need the same tactic.  I’m hoping it works better for Round 2 than it did for Round 1, better known as Scarlett.

During my first pregnancy, I really let my body and cravings dictate my diet and lifestyle, which ended up being not the very best thing for me, as my body wanted chocolate ice cream and naps! Gaining much more weight than I should have in the last trimester made my life a lot harder post-pregnancy.  This time around I’m sticking to my normal food plans, with an exception to the first trimester (due to the initial morning sickness, I let my body eat whatever it wants, which is mainly bread and fruit).

We all know the effects weight gain can have on a person: lower self-esteem.  This pops up almost inevitably in every other aspect of life- intimacy “don’t touch me here…or there…or there, either”, going out with friends- the “I have nothing to wear!” to everyday occurrences like losing your breath walking up the steps with laundry or a yoga class.  It’s a double edge sword too “I don’t want to feel like this anymore… but have no motivation to do anything about it yet.”

Don’t get me wrong – I believe in, “It took nine months to gain the weight, and it will take time to get it off.” But I believe in making conscious decisions along the way.  Prenatal yoga will be a sure way to manage healthy weight gain and love my body along the way, pre-and post-natal.  I’ve come to the conclusion when working out that if I’m not hurting myself and if I’m not going to pass out, I can keep going. And it’s important for me to keep going, for both my health and my baby’s.

I’m not going to lie, pregnancy will change your yoga practice: at my current thirteen weeks, there’s no laying on my belly, due to sore boobs and discomfort of the enlarged uterus. Flowing is already taking a slower pace due to light-headedness and waves of nausea.  Eventually, twisting towards myself won’t be an option and it will have to be all open twists. Lots of blocks, blankets and bolsters will enter my practice to help make things more accessible and comfortable. The nice part, though, is that I’m still able to do arm balances, headstands and handstands.

I believe prenatal classes are essential to pregnancy.  All doctors recommend some sort of fitness throughout pregnancy to help ensure the well-being of both the mom and baby.  Personally as a mom of one, with one on the way, I have experienced the benefits of prenatal yoga firsthand, and I want to share them with the world.

The icing on the cake is the camaraderie you find with all of the other women. It’s so nice to walk into a room and be surrounded by your peers who are at the exact same stage in life.  Motherhood can often be alienating and lonely, especially for those who are pioneers of the family life in their social circle.  I want moms and moms-to-be to have a place to feel accepted, loved, welcomed and looked forward to every week. I want a place where they can be exactly who they are at that moment, and give the real answer to “How are you feeling today?” These moms are encouraged to be shown the raw authenticity of their most vulnerable moments.

 

Read more about the proven benefits of prenatal exercise here, and learn more about Yoga Innovations’ Prenatal Yoga classes.

 

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Claire Baer

I am the meat and potatoes, caffeine and chocolate kind of yogi. I like a good glass of wine as much as a good Om. Yoga has always played a significant role in supporting my athletic lifestyle. In college, I majored in business management with a focus on advertising and marketing. While working at an advertising agency in Boulder Colorado I learned a valuable lesson: “you must sell the truth of the product.” The truth of the matter was, there wasn’t anything I believed in enough to commit to selling. On top of a mountain, while skiing I confessed this dilemma to my husband. His response seemed so simple, so obvious “why don’t you own a yoga studio?” Finally, I had found a way to combine my two passions: business and yoga. The next natural step was to formally go through yoga teacher training. At Core Power Yoga in Denver Colorado I received my 200 hour certification in Power Flow and Bikram styles; in addition, to children's yoga and prenatal. Then, after teaching and living in PA, Dana Barone offered me the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the new owner of Yoga Innovations. In 2012, we celebrated the birth of our first daughter, as well as the new business venture. I look forward to continuing to build the yoga culture in the south hills and sharing the passion I have for the practice- and maybe a tip or two on the juggling act we call life.

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