Yoga is an amazing tool for women to get in tune with the 3 major cycles of our lives. Menstruation, the Childbearing Years, and Menopause. I am passionate about helping women discover this and learn to get in tune with their bodies' individual rhythms, and learning to live more naturally with what that is to them. I've now been through the first 2 cycles and have had 12 years of a yoga practice and continuous buildup of awareness with my body and how I treat it.
That being said, I've had lots of women coming to my classes recently who have been asking questions about yoga in regards to both menstruation and pregnancy. Today, I will cover pregnancy, and soon, I'll tackle how to practice when we are on our moon cycle.
When you've discovered you are pregnant, a world of uncertainty, new expectations, and completely new feelings in your body/spirit are released. Yoga is so important in helping to keep you sane during this time. There are a variety of opinions on what you should/should not do while pregnant. My thoughts on it all goes with my yogic teaching style, and that is to simply tune in to what your own body feels like, and try not to worry what people are telling you. This is the hardest and most profound thing about our yoga practice. To let go of expectation toward our beautiful selves or what we think others think we should do. That being said, do always consult with your midwife or doctor about any concerns or questions with your pregnancy and the activities you're doing.
If you can't make it to Prenatal Yoga classes, or simply want to continue going to regular yoga classes:
-rapid breathing or breath retention techniques
-vigorous and deep backbends
-putting full pressure on the belly, once you're into the 2nd trimester
-intense core work
-inversions, unless you are an experienced yogini practitioner and it stills feels good
-deep forward bends, once in 2nd trimester (always fold forward with knees bent and legs at least hip width)
-trying anything new
-pushing to your edge (yes, time to get less goal-oriented in your practice)
-overheating and dehydration (skip those hot classes!)
-teachers that push a fast-paced class and might not know what's it like to be pregnant ;)
-breathe very slow, deep, focused, and evenly (this will become more and more important as you near the actual birth!)
-welcome a more restorative, gentle practice (this is a time for more surrender in your life, and less Go-Go-Go)--especially if you're feeling extra fatigued or nauseous
-attend regular classes that are either: all-levels (or slow) vinyasa, hatha, or gentle/restorative
-in your first trimester, keep doing the same practice as long as you feel good. Core work is still fine at this point. Once your belly starts to stretch and you are into the 2nd trimester, then begin to modify more intensely and be mindful in all movements of the core. All yoga will help keep the core strong for the birth, but just don't add additional abdominal exercises at this time. Allow your belly to stretch naturally and the pelvic floor muscles to begin to soften.
-mindfully check-in with yourself every time you're on your mat. Some days will be better than others. Take it slow and listen.
Prenatal Classes in the Cambridge/Somerville area:
Barrett Lauck Reinhorn-- she is one of the prime prenatal teachers in Boston. If you're looking for a public class or workshop, she always has them. This coming Saturday, she's leading a special workshop at Samara Yoga in Davis Square!
Lakota Sandoe--one of my dear friends and mama of 2. She teaches a prenatal class on Saturday mornings in Watertown at Inner Strength that will keep you strong and fresh. No "let's bliss out just because we're pregnant" here. The bliss will be there by the end, but she'll keep the challenge alive.
Bristol Maryott-- an experienced and wonderful teacher at Karma Yoga Studio-South End. If you end up trekking that way into the city, she is offering prenatal on Sunday mornings at 9:00am.
Private Sessions with moi! Yes, I have been teaching private or small group 60-75 min. classes up in my home studio to my pregnant yogini friends...that means YOU. I have a special deal for you pregnant gals. Instead of the usual $100 for a private, you can come for 10 classes at $35 each. If two of you don't mind taking together, then I knock it down to $25 each. My latest yogini mama-to-be is coming on Friday mornings, so message me if you want to join!
Prenatal Massage with Christina Francis-- I went to her a few times during my pregnancy and she always helped me get the kinks out.
Check out Prenatal Yoga DVD's from:
Elena Brower, Shiva Rea, Collette Crawford
Watch my Video for more thoughts and some modification tips for those poses to avoid: