Years ago, my former boss gave me a genius idea: “I never make New Year’s Resolutions until February.” I get her logic. By that time, you’ve cleared out the Christmas fudge and the majority of the other “temptations”; likewise with February being the shortest of the year, you can vow to do anything for a month. So why not something that relieves stress, promotes overall wellness and balance, and is a great workout at any level (and in some cases is said to lead to enlightenment)? I don’t remember Jane Fonda promising that in the 80s, even with her fancy yellow uni-tard and leg warmers.
Yoga has saved me through my pregnancy. For five weeks of my first trimester, I was finishing up my certification at FlowYoga SLC to be a registered yoga teacher. With two – four hours a day of “practice” in asana alone (fancy Sanskrit word for postures) there was really no time for morning sickness! It also gave me a chance to meditate on the blessing in my womb and connect with this baby like I never would’ve imagined (he’s apparently coming any day now).
For those of you not on the chakra-aligning-bandwagon, I’ll admit a little skepticism and apprehension when I first came into yoga a couple of years ago. (You can even read my antics about it at my blog) And my husband cursing the heavens on his neighboring yoga mat did not help! We were newlyweds who had each put on a little (ok, a lot!) of “happy-fat.” He said his face was looking like a football; I was ready to trade up my “fat jeans.” It was time to expand our horizons, not our belt loops.
But toning up is not the only benefit of yoga. The act of staying focused, meditation and calming the mind (if even for a moment or two) can do wonders for overall health. The web’s choc full of stories and studies about the health effects of stress on an individual – and when you take into account the added hormones a woman is constantly dealing with (thank you lunar cycle and mother nature), it’s obvious we could all benefit from a little less craziness in our lives – or at least some tools to balance and counteract the madness).
As for pregnant goddesses (what the yoga community deems those great with child), stress is something you absolutely want to keep in check:
- “A few studies have found an association between high levels of stress and preterm birth. The theory is that severe stress can lead to the release of hormones that can trigger uterine contractions and preterm labor.” – From baby.com
- “What to Expect” what I deem the encyclopedia for new (and returning) mommies says that “Yoga encourages relaxation, focus, and paying attention to your breathing — so it’s just about perfect for pregnancy (and great preparation for childbirth).”
- In “Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care,” Alan Greene, M.D. explains that “with its emphasis on harmony and balance, it is a beautiful metaphor for raising baby green.” He then goes on to cite two studies about pre-natal yoga showcasing benefits like decreased chances of developing hypertension and low birth weights (and the studies compared moms who walked an hour vs. pre-natal yoga!)
- But it’s not just about the mommy-and-me sector, Yoga is practice for life.
So where to start?
Just like Make and Takes projects, yoga options come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more physically challenging, others are geared specifically to relaxation. Instructional possibilities (whether your preggers or not) run the media gamut from private lessons and studios to DVDs, podcasts and books. Information can be found all over the internet (Yoga Journal is a great place to start!). In the states, if you’re taking the studio/private lesson route, I suggest “receiving” from a teacher who’s registered with Yoga Alliance. It’s not a certification program, but you your guaranteed the teacher has been through some time of teacher training program that complies with minimum educational standards established by the organization.
If that all sounds overwhelming, you can start with some basic stretches for stress relief –as described in the recent news story featured on Utah’s KSL Channel 5. (I’ve got a cameo in the front left corner of the room!) Even the simplest act of practicing “presence” will bring a little more balance, and that’s something to “OM” about.
Beginners of Yoga will find almost immediate benefit and these are often found within the first two weeks or even less – most people are surprised by the quick results they achieve. Yoga is great for all ages, shapes and sizes!
Aw, thanks for the kind words all! Crazy to think my little one’s already two!
These are wonderful pictures! It is great to see a healthy and beautiful pregnant woman executing yoga postures with balance and grace. During the last trimester, many women suffer from bloating and have difficulty walking around. These pictures clear show how excellent yoga is as there is no excess fat at all and the flexibility is retained. Thanks for sharing!
Prenatal yoga is such a gift for many women. The benefits can be amazing and baby likes it too.
I have practiced iyenga yoga for 13 years and seen many benifits for the expectant mothers, they always say it help with an easy birth.
The Jane Fonda workout is a great video. I wonder if she has a yoga DVD out? Pregnant or not you could be the next Jane on video doing yoga.
nice post! it’s amazing how you can still do these poses! ^_^
While I applaud the writer and think her pregnant yoga photos simply stunning, I would strongly advise that all pregnant woman talk with their care provider before embarking on something like this if they have never done it before. Especially if you aren’t getting instruction from someone and you are just trying to do it from the internet!
Sabrena I am impressed you can get into those poses with Holden in front of you! Maybe I will try Yoga one of these days…
Good luck Sabrena with your new little one! Whata wonderful post! I *love* my yoga class and just got a kids’ yoga dvd from the library (haven’t used it yet though) to try with the kids. I can’t wait for suggestions on yoga with children!!
Oh Sabrena. I am so impressed. The pics are fantastic and you sure know a lot about yoga. It is uncharacteristic of you to go overboard with something so I am surprised you went to town with this yoga thing- ha ha :).
Thanks for posting this after I had the baby.
I guess you can make it up to me by following Marie’s advice and doing a mommy and me yoga post.
I love you. The article was awesome.
Considering I just took a yoga class this week and couldn’t even begin to balance without falling over…I am in AWE of these pictures. :)
I just love that you’re showing pregnant women that excercise can and should be a part of the experience. Not only will it help your body prepare for the upcoming delivery, it will also help your mind and soul prepare for it as well. Not only that, yoga is great for reshaping your body!
Oh this is great! I am not a mother, but I just discovered yoga, and at this time in my life as I’m preparing for graduate school and completely overloaded with school work, an hour of yoga here and there has SAVED me. It provides a relaxing workout when I don’t feel I have enough energy for a complete cardio or strength work out.
Thanks for your blog! Good luck with baby!
yogatoday.com has a new online yoga class each day. Besides you can also watch old classes if the one for that day sounds to hard. I try to do a couple classes a week.
Great information! Good luck with your new baby.
wow! Sabrena looks amazing! I have tried Yoga before and its so hard… I should give it another go.
Thanks for sharing, Marie! This was so inspirational!