Yoga's the Thing

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I've been worried about my pregnancy workouts.  My doctor told me that I could do any workout that I was doing before pregnancy -- that includes high intensity workouts like running or interval workouts.  However, before pregnancy I was just starting to get back into a regular routine, using Michelle Dozois' killer Peak Fit workouts.  But I was not in good shape.  I was making progress toward being extremely fit, but I had not yet achieved fitness.  That left me feeling confused as to what a just-starting-to-get-back-in-shape pregnant woman should be doing in terms of exercise.

After carefully explaining the content of Jillian Michaels' 25 minute interval workouts from 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30 to my doctor, I felt comfortable doing those DVDs' Level One workouts.  But they were hard.  And now that I'm about to enter my second trimester, during which the stuff holding my joints together will start to soften, I don't feel quite so comfortable doing higher impact cardio.

So I started to look at yoga.  I have a few strength-based prenatal DVD workouts, but I don't think they deliver the full-body strengthening plus flexibility benefits that yoga does.  Besides, yoga will not only make me stronger and more flexible, but it will also help me specifically prepare the muscles I will use for birthing.  Which means that yoga must be the perfect prenatal workout, right?

Well, after Googling "prenatal yoga" yesterday, I wasn't so sure.  I kept finding pages and pages of warnings to NEVER DO THIS POSE EVER WHILE PREGNANT OR HORRIBLE THINGS WILL HAPPEN regarding poses that seemed safe for pregnancy.  In the end I felt afraid to do anything at all beside sit on my couch for the next six months.

I eventually turned to the circle for mothers over at Goddess Guidebook.  I posted a slightly panicked plea for help, asking what women did to move their bodies during pregnancy.  Thankfully, I got a lot of calm, knowledgeable reassurances that lined up with my doctor's original advice (which I had managed to forget during my mad Googling) -- that yoga is safe, and very beneficial to birth, and that the only poses that should be avoid are obvious ones, like anything done lying on the belly as well as deep twists, inversions, and binds.  And these are all things that I avoided intuitively anyway in a gentle practice I did yesterday, knowing that I've been out of my yoga practice and am not as flexible as I once was.

So I will be doing yoga for the rest of my pregnancy, and I will be doing it fearlessly, knowing that I can listen to my body, trust what I feel, and act accordingly.  I love how yoga strengthens my focus as well as my muscles, and how it forces me to meet my body where it is, especially now that I'm carrying a second person inside of me (which I still find incredible!).  My favorite yoga classes are all online podcast classes, the number one being YogaDownload.  I also really love the free podcast classes from Elsie Escobar and Eoin Finn.  Not only do they lead me into a delicious practice, but they have such deep wisdom to share as well.  I love it!

Do you practice yoga?  Do you have a favorite video or audio class?

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