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!
This third week of practicing the past poses has been a journey in itself. It's forced me to remember what I've done in the past and theoretically should remember. Well, that is not necessarily the case. Once again, this week required some refreshing homework!
I recently downloaded the Songza app for my phone and decided to try it out during my practice. Maybe having music is that special touch I need for a home practice. It just made it that much better!
I had planned on a particular practice time but for some bazaar reason I had a stomach ache. I can't remember the last time I had a stomach ache! Maybe when I was pregnant back in 2011?!? Regardless, I sought out a stomach relieving pose first and found just what I was looking for.
Knees to Chest Pose (Apasana)
Not in my original practice from 12 years ago, but this pose has been in my life for many more years than that. I only recently knew that pose was helpful for stomach aches because it was primarily used, by me, for a low back stretch.
It did what it was suppose to do and I got relief. Now on to the three poses of the day...
Shooting Arrow (Akarna Dhanura Asana)
My recollection of this pose was using the arms as a bow and arrow. What I wrote in my journal does speak to the arms doing some form of work in a standing "mountain" pose but I'd be darned if I could find any information online about this pose that represented what I remembered.
Alas, I just went with this rendition and was happy for it. It too was active in the belly so I can't complain. And, I really noticed the imbalance of my hamstring flexibility from side to side.
"I began in the mountain pose with five diaphragmatic breaths. I continued into the pose feeling progressively warmer as I went on. My shoulders were stiff and cracked when I did the arm movements (on both left and right sides). Since I am getting used to the move, I forgot to bend at the knee initially, but I corrected it on the other side. My breathing felt controlled during the movement."
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.