So the fatigue and stomach distress can only mean one thing, I'm pregnant!
Yoga has been a blessing each week as I transition into my second trimester. But with the transition, I am now moving a new body where I have to ensure my yoga is adaptable to my ever growing belly!
Here is what I remember from before (and from my other hat of being an exercise physiologist who specializes in pre/postnatal exercise):
1. Avoid overheating so no hot yoga for now.
2. Modification to supine poses (elevating torso by 20 degrees or so with a towel, block, blanket etc.) after 16-20 weeks due to the compression of the vena cava (large vessel that carries blood back to the heart) when lying flat on my back.
3. Stand close to a chair or wall with balance poses...just in case I feel like I'm going to fall.
4. My joints are more flexible because of the release of the hormone relaxin, which increases joint laxity...everywhere...not just through the pelvis. So, no being a hero with the poses and not to overdoing the obvious increase in range of motion.
When I was pregnant last time through, I was able to take a weekly class with Judy. However, I am on my own this time. As I listed, I recall some poses that need modification but this pregnancy brain of mind isn't always clear.
What do I need to be watchful of and how does my practice change? And, the overarching theme of what can pregnant women safely do in a yoga class?
Yoga Journal has a four part series that outlines a basic overview of modifications in pregnancy then an article for each the first, second and third trimester. With further investigation, I also found an article specifically on contraindications. All five articles are very comprehensive as a student but also for the future teacher in me.
So rather than rehashing the detailed articles, here are a couple more key things for me to remember!
1. Controlled breathing will be very helpful for labour but also ensure I'm not holding my breath during any of the poses. Obviously, not good for babe.
2. No head stands, hand stands or plow poses. Okay, this is pretty obvious that my physical body probably won't let me do such poses but it is really about blood flow and not having blood shunted away from babe. Makes sense!
3. Limit abdominal contractions (i.e. flexion and extension) such as in full boat pose and abdominal stretching such as in bow pose or full cobra pose. Having a strong pelvic floor is much more important than overemphasizing abdominal work right now.
4. Yoga is a great place to practice and ready my body for labour. Holding chair pose for about one minute is challenging just like a contraction. Practising hip opening poses such as bound angle pose will help keep the adductors (inner thigh) flexible which is essential for natural birth.
So, there we have it, a refresher for me and a learning opportunity with my changing body. I'm positive I will stumble on more gems of wisdom over the next 24 weeks!
16 weeks done, April 25 is sure coming fast! Yoga is essential to my prenatal care,
Image: Me at 8 months pregnant...last time around...and more blonde than I remember!
I love learning all the terminology of yoga, from the sanskirt asana names to the different technique names, it is almost like learning a new culture or language. Which I suppose it sort of is.
This week I popped in a newly borrowed DVD, Yoga Journal 21 Day Challenge, from the library (side note: I'm super excited that the Edmonton Public Library now loans DVDs for three weeks!) and started following my new teacher. She took me through an easy to follow sequence of poses and had me challenged throughout. What caught my attention, though, was the way she described a pose. We were "binding". Now I have to admit, this variation on the pose (bound extended side angle [Baddha Parsvakonasana] versus extended side angle [Utthita Parsvakonasana]) was different so I needed to know more.
Let me explain further...
Binding, as it is called (and I didn't realize it had a name) is when in a pose you clasp your hands together to intensify the stretch, clasp the hand and foot together to progress the pose or when the arms or legs work together by exerting equal force against each other. Here is a thorough video with many examples of poses that bind and here is a list of benefits.
In past practice, I had been doing binding poses and just didn't know it...or know how to name it...such as eagle pose (Garudasana), dancers pose (Natarajasana)
and bow pose (Dhanurasana). Now back to my practice.
Initially when my new teacher guided me into bound extended side angle, I felt apprehension. I suppose this is normal, as you think, "you want my hands to connect in which way?" However, I was pleasantly surprised that getting my hands to touch AND clasp wasn't terribly difficult. Whew! The pose was an excellent chest opener, leg strengthening challenge and mental toughness exercise.
This week's practice made me recall other binding poses that I quite enjoy and must explore in the upcoming weeks.
Not really tied up in knots, just "bound" to try more binding poses,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.