Friday, February 24, 2012

Prenatal Yoga

I've mentioned wanting to try yoga, and most recently prenatal yoga, a few times. My reasons have ranged from exercise to improving my mood to helping in the birthing process -- ohhh, there are lots of reasons. So, after work last Friday, I ran home to change into something comfortable and headed to Universal Yoga Center in New Hartford. (That's about 30 minutes away, for the record. And, no, there's nothing even similar any closer to home. Boo.) On this particular day, I was lucky enough to have Dave in tow for a post-yoga date.

So, he dropped me off and headed out to kill time while I got my stretch on. I was the first to arrive (I'd been told to come early to fill out a short form), and nervously got myself situated. There were approximately 7 other ladies there (plus the incredible instructor), all ranging from 17 to 36 weeks pregnant.

I don't remember everything about the experience since I was focusing on learning new stretches and feeling the connection with my body and with the baby. I was definitely the "newest", so the instructor seemed to pay some extra attention to me at more challenging points. The yoga itself was all about modification -- especially focusing on the fact that, being pregnant, we may want to try some moves differently than even other women in the room, and definitely differently than how certain types of yoga might be taught.

What I don't recall as far as the technicalities of the yoga itself, my memory makes up for with experiences and ambiance. The low lighting (there's a lot to be said for Christmas lights - it's the first time I've seen lighting like that that wasn't reminiscent of a college dorm) and Eastern instrumental music were instantly calming. The instructor's calm sweetness was inviting and caring - and perfect for a bunch of pregnant ladies! The stretching and moving wasn't altogether too challenging (although there were a couple that proved to me that I need some more balance practice) but just "uncomfortable" enough to provide a mild workout while giving options for relaxation and other needs during labor or as the pregnancy continues. I honestly can't say enough good about the experience.

The breathing techniques and little "tips" that the instructor provided (such as trying one stretch, in a modified way, to help with sciatica issues -- my mom was jealous about that one since apparently I gave her such troubles when she was pregnant with me) were awesome. While the baby stayed pretty much motionless, it started moving during something called the "puppy pose" (an upside-down pose). I like to think the little one enjoyed it, but it just occurred to me that the opposite might have been true, hee hee. At the end of the session, after a long, deep breathing exercise, we made lotus blossoms with our hands and gave up a wish/intention for the baby up and into the universe (or to God, depending on what you believe). THAT was powerful.

The best part of the whole thing (other than that I didn't realize my first session was free - score!) was when I met Dave at the car. I was throwing my bags in the backseat and getting myself situated while he blabbered on - "How was it? Did you like it? Were they nice? Did something happen? Was it okay? Do you hurt?" I think that he had hopes as high as I did about it, and a quiet Meg is a very rare thing. After I had strapped myself into the passenger seat, I finally said, "I'm relaxed." "Oh! Good!!" I got to the business of explaining things shortly thereafter, but his excitement (and apparent nervousness) about it all had him bouncing off the walls. Can't complain about that!

Oh, and for the record, that night he read the children's book he had purchased (while I was at yoga ;-)) to my belly and got to feel it kick for the first time. Overall, it was a very special evening. Throw in a farmers' market trip the next morning, and it was one of the best weekends we've had in awhile.

So, will I be going back? Let's just say that there isn't a session this week, so I'll be returning for their next class. I enjoyed the process so much that I can foresee trying the "mommy and me" yoga (or even just "regular" yoga classes) in the future. The exercises speak to me in their timing (not too quick/extreme, not too slow/boring), with their focus on breathing, relaxation, and inner focus, and the underlying calmness from the instructor's tone and the music (a variation of which I listened to on my Sirius satellite radio the next day - seriously).


  1. Good for you, Meg! Sounds like it was perfect for you! Maybe you can get Dave to go with you for a couples session or something? He could use some de-stressing, too. :-)

  2. Well, I'm thinking that he may be interested in some general yoga in the future. This is specifically aimed at the moms and what their bodies are going through - which probably wouldn't be a very relaxing type of yoga for him! :-)