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What's the deal with prenatal yoga?
It seems like if you're a woman you can't get away from never hearing the words: "prenatal yoga" at some point or other. It's not that they're bad words it just seems like the terms are something inescapable if you're a woman who has been around ever since yoga kicked off in pop culture's health craze in the western world.
What's truly fascinating about it is how different women view prenatal yoga. There are some women who swear that it helped them through their entire pregnancy and helped during labor. Celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Alanis Morissette added prenatal yoga to their pregnancy lifestyle and have said good things about it. Then there's other women who insist it's a waste of time and that it consists of awkward poses and hokey movements. I had a classmate in the Esthiology program I was taking that said she hated prenatal yoga and felt very ridiculous when she tried doing it. She had purchased a prenatal yoga DVD and still felt embarrassed about doing the positions in the privacy of her own home because she didn't want her husband to witness her doing baby birthing style yoga.
I've done yoga for a couple years and heard a little bit about the prenatal yoga at the studio that I went to because the woman who taught the prenatal class sometimes stepped in on the regular classes even though she was very pregnant. It was amazing to see her still doing basically all the usual movements at six-seven months pregnant and doing the movements much better than many of the class was doing them to top it off. She made the class look like novice slobs.
Now that I'm about six-seven months pregnant I decided to see what the hype was about prenatal yoga. So I looked it up on youtube and followed along on my mat to Lara Dutta's prenatal workout routine. It was different then any usual routines that I've done in the past. And it definitely felt different with my stretched out belly stretching itself out even further. A few of the motions were a little hokey looking but that may have been from the cumbersome belly I have that makes things look the opposite of a graceful swan-like yogi and more like a round panda attempting to do yoga. Most of the exercises focused on opening up your hips and doing kegel pelvic exercises to prepare for birth. Overall I felt a little more loosened up in my muscular system, very sweaty and red faced, and a little silly about the connecting with baby pose. I couldn't really feel a deep connection to the baby when I was in the pose but maybe it takes a couple prenatal yoga classes to get to feel a connection like that? I have made it a goal to keep doing prenatal yoga until I give birth though. And I really do see the benefits it gives to the labor process even if some of the poses make you feel like the animated panda, Po, from Kung Fu Panda. (Remember to be careful about trying any new exercises while pregnant especially if you have never done them before.)