Updated: Jan 10
Is yoga for me? The answer is YES! Absolutely.
If I am not sure if yoga is for me, should I even start during my pregnancy. The answer is YES! Absolutely.
For a long time there has been a mysticism around yoga, an intimidation if you did not walk into class in the right outfit, matching mat/water bottle, speaking Sanskrit, knowing everything already.
I would like to dispel the myths, take away the intimidation, open up yoga to everyone. Give pregnant women a more aware and comfortable pregnancy, labor and birth.
My interest in yoga started 25 years ago. I was intrigued by the mindfulness. I was drawn towards an exercise of strength. I had had enough of jarring aerobics, loud music, extremes and the excess. When I looked into yoga in my area there was not much to choose from. When I saw the instructors I was intimidated. They were very thin, overly energetic- I assumed they were judging me.
I was brand new and I felt I would look like a "dumpy idiot" trying to do complicated poses. Where were my breasts and belly supposed to go? So I bought a video tape(yes-a VHS tape LOL). I did yoga at home in my bedroom. I enjoyed it. It was a beginner tape , I quickly felt like it was not doing anything for me physically. I went through the "steps + motions", that was all. I would get distracted by the laundry in my room, think of to -do lists or stop the tape early. I did not understand how to bring in the mindfulness. I bought more tapes( eventually DVDs). This went on for years. I grew in my knowledge of yoga asanas. But I was still very closeted about doing yoga. Already having been branded "different" in my family I had no one to talk to about yoga. Or to learn from.
After an unhealthy pregnancy I again returned to yoga. It made me feel calm, centered, a little bit stronger. I spent more time and gave more attention to the mindfulness of it. Mentally yoga was helping me. Physically society made me feel like I was not good enough.
Yoga was still a private thing for me but I was never going to get the full advantage if I kept it that way. During my chemotherapy treatments I wanted to go to a yoga class that was free to cancer patients. I was too afraid to be seen doing yoga in my size and shape body. I still regret it.
Fast forward to 5 years ago. I'm working with pregnant woman. I start suggesting different yoga moves to relieve discomfort. I do yoga with them at our visits. I have an interest in how women feel during pregnancy. I care about their labor, birth and recovery. I become a birth doula. I am helping a handful of women. I want to do more. So I certify in prenatal+ postnatal fitness with a concentration on yoga.
Now the person who did not feel comfortable going to a yoga class is teaching a yoga class. I still do not look like what most people picture as a yoga instructor. My body type is the same as it was 25 years ago. The anxiety around this lead me to find mentors. There are some very amazing women that bring awareness and positive support to yoga for all body types. Seeing people of different sizes and abilities practice yoga is inspiring and confidence building. I encourage you to check out Dianne Bondy and Jessamyn Stanley to start.
I also started to listen to podcasts. I realized that yoga is for everyone, At every level. It is a practice- no one is perfect, or even meant to be perfect. All inclusive yoga. Modified, Adapted, Slow , Fast- every way!
If you have wanted to try yoga go ahead and do it. If you want to quiet your mind try a small yoga studio, like www.Schoolhousewellness.com in Lockport NY . If you want to heat it up go to a gym. But go out and try it , you'll love it. Go to the mat and give yourself the freedom to stretch and feel your body, give it what it needs. It is a practice. Every time you go to the mat your practice may be different based on what your body and mind need.
If you are pregnant this a wonderful time in your life to be kind to your body, listen to it. Use your yoga practice to ready yourself for labor and birth. I 'd love to see you in class!