I admit it: in my pre-kid years, I was kind of a yoga addict! I’ve never been a huge fan of exercise that involves a lot of bouncing around, huffing and puffing, or excessive sweating. I love how my muscles pull and stretch in yoga and slowly became stronger while the deep breathing relaxes my whole body. Another aspect of yoga that I that I particularly appreciated during my first pregnancy was the ability to modify almost any routine or move to accommodate various physical challenges, such as a watermelon-sized bump in the middle of my body.
Because I have a relatively small frame, I had a lot of hip and back pain as my bones softened and moved in preparation for birth. The way my body prepared was a good thing, but the pain was distracting to say the least. It got to the point where I literally had to do yoga every morning or I would be in pain by the end of the day. When I made time for the stretching exercises before the day began, I was in significantly less pain in the evenings.
Although I had frequented a local power (vinyasa) studio before pregnancy, that studio didn’t specialize in prenatal yoga. Being a first-time mother, I was concerned about modifications during the first trimester. For example, I read that many instructors recommend avoiding twists and abdominal exercises during early pregnancy (there are exceptions for women with higher fitness levels but I was not one of those!). I was wary of telling anyone about my pregnancy before 12 weeks, so I had a dilemma when it came to yoga class: tell the instructor about my very early pregnancy when I hadn’t even told my own mother, or attempt to modify the moves myself during class even though I was unsure of what was safe and what wasn’t?
I resolved this conflict by leaving the studio altogether and using prenatal yoga DVD’s that I could watch at home. My plan was to return to the studio later in the pregnancy, but I actually never did. I loved the variety of DVD’s and various instructors. After doing the DVD workouts for a while, I was able to remember various moves and craft my own workouts on some mornings.
In addition to the normally thoughtful guidance of the instructor, I loved the way prenatal yoga instructors would encourage me to place my hands on my baby to feel and listen during the warm-up and cool down periods. For someone like me who sometimes struggled to feel bonded to the new life inside me, I feel that I gained a lot from this practice.
I’d highly recommend prenatal yoga, whether it is from a local studio, a birth center, or at-home DVD, for any new mother. Whether this is your first or fourth pregnancy, I think prenatal yoga is a peaceful and gentle way to help your body adjust and benefit in preparation for birth.
Did you know? Cotton Babies offers both Prenatal and Mom & Baby yoga classes at our retail stores in St. Louis, MO and Vancouver, WA. For more information, check out our Shop Local page and click “Events” on your local store’s listing to view upcoming class dates.