Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yoga at 34 weeks pregnant

Even though I've only kept up with it once a week, I'm glad I've continued doing yoga throughout my pregnancy.  Even though some parts become more lax to get ready to make the great baby slip-n-slide, other joints and muscles get an extra workout having to carry a bunch of extra weight all in one spot (although I think I've probably gained a baby in each thigh, too).

Some studios/gyms offer specific prenatal yoga classes, but I didn't go that route for a few reasons.  

1. The classes I found tended to either be offered during work hours or later in the evening, which don't fit my schedule.  

2. I was afraid that a prenatal class would be so "gentle" that I wouldn't get much out of it or that we would spend all our time trying to find the "Earth Mother within".

3. The studio where Daniel and I attend has small classes, and you get a lot of personalized attention from the instructor.  I liked being able to continue doing "regular" yoga with necessary modifications as my body changed.  Plus, there are no mirrors in the room, so even though I'm sure I look like this:

[source - Not a perfect comparison,
but there's no pictures of hippos doing yoga]
   I feel like this:

[source]

Right now I can still do most of the standing series (warrior I and II, triangle, reverse triangle, etc.), but I've stopped doing any kind of inversion where I actually kick my feet off the ground (headstand, forearm stand), and a lot of forward folds and twists need to be modified.  Forward folds are pretty easy because all I have to do is adjust my legs to be farther apart to have extra belly space.  For the twists, I usually just twist in the opposite direction.  I still get a good stretch and again, it gives my belly somewhere to go.

Although most women complain of having a sore lower back while pregnant, I've actually carried a lot of tension in my upper back, and I didn't realize before how much you actually stretch your thoracic spine and shoulders doing yoga.

The poses that I've found to be the most helpful in pregnancy - especially here at the end - are:

Downward-facing dog (great for stretching pretty much everything including the hamstrings, lower back, and shoulders):

[source]
Reverse triangle (again, feels really good on the shoulders and upper back):

[source]
Twisting lunge (stretches hip flexors and - you guessed it - the upper back).  I keep my back knee on the ground because my balance isn't so great anymore.:

[source]
I really wish I could get my act together to stretch like this every day.

My plan is to continue going once a week until the baby is born and a couple times after if I still have classes left on my pass.  Although videos/home practice are good, for me they aren't a substitute for the guidance of a teacher who actually knows what he/she is doing.

Do you enjoy yoga?  Think it's boring?  Have a favorite pose/studio/video/book?

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