In one of my several weekly emails from various websites letting me know what's up with My Pregnancy This Week, I got some tips on pre-natal yoga.
The five best prenatal yoga postures
1. The Pringle. Lie on your back with a can of chips balanced on your stomach. See if you can eat them all before you fall asleep.
2. The Sneeze. As the sneeze approaches, squeeze your knees together, breathe in and out, and try to remember what it used to feel like to "hold it in." Keep this pose while you hobble to the bathroom to change your underwear.
3. The Calf Cramp. Try to stretch around your belly and rub your leg while simultaneously screaming loudly enough to wake everyone in your zip code.
4. The Pesto Burp. Bring your chin to your chest and exhale as silently as you can through your closed mouth. Reward yourself with a nice, meditative Fudgesicle.
5. The Sleeping Hip. Lie on your side until you lose all feeling. Roll onto your other side and repeat. Namaste!
Last night, I actually went to a pre-natal yoga class for the first time. I was really excited as this was my first opportunity to meet other pregnant moms and do some of that all-important mommy networking, not to mention commisserate on all the joys of pregnancy. Oh, and get some pregnancy-appropriate exercise, of course!
The class was so enjoyable. There were 3 other moms there plus the instructor, who is mom to a 14-month-old and has worked as a doula, so she had lots of expertise on the pregnant body and gave wonderful instructions. Two of the other moms there were in their second pregnancy, and the third was another first-timer like me. I also learned that there was usually another woman in attendance, and everyone was speculating about her absence since her baby is due in two days!
Throughout the class, any meditation/visualizatons that we did included the baby as part of our focus: for example, "Visualize your breath going deep, deep into your body, nourishing your body, and nourishing your baby." We practiced a squat position that is comfortable and appropriate for labour (it shortens your vagina by 20%!), working our way up to holding it for 90 seconds, which I learned was the length of a contraction. As we held poses, one or the other of the students would begin a brief discussion about certain symptoms or experiences she was having with her pregnancy, so the rest of us could commisserate. And next class, the instructor has arranged for a doula to come and talk to us for a few minutes before we begin our session.
All in all, it was both emotionally and physically enriching, and I'm so glad I found it. I also confirmed last night that though this run of classes ends in early December, there will be another run starting in January, so with luck I can continue to take the classes right up until birth. This is especially exciting as there are no other pre-natal yoga classes in Nanaimo - and this is actually the first time this particular instructor has had enough interest to offer one herself. So it's a rare and precious thing, and I'm lucky enough to have found it!