Albuquerque · Fitness · pregnancy · yoga

Mat for Two: Prenatal Yoga

Way back at the beginning of the year, one of my goals was to climb back on the yoga wagon.

I did it!

For three, maybe four classes. Then the studio closed. Then I got pregnant.

My first trimester had me a little yoga-shy, and although I knew there was such a thing as prenatal yoga, I didn’t look into it very diligently. Then, during a doctor’s appointment, I noticed a flier for prenatal yoga classes offered at one of the local hospitals. First class free! Ten dollars for each subsequent class! Held every Thursday, providing a lovely mid-week air-conditioned respite from having to run or walk outside in the summer heat!

I thought, “Hmmmmm…”.

I decided to try it, not knowing what to expect: a hard workout? A nap? I felt mildly self-conscious strolling into the hospital carrying a yoga mat, and more so when I became quickly and thoroughly confused as to where the heck I was supposed to go. I found the right suite and kept poking my head around corners, but: nothing. Finally, I followed the last possible hall, and came upon a tall, smiling woman and a bunch of yoga mats. Victory!

The woman introduced herself as Dannie (no idea if I’m spelling that correctly), the teacher of the class. I liked her right away. There was one other student, a woman who was muuuuch more pregnant than me, and ultimately, that session was just comprised of the two of us. Practically a private yoga class! How often do those happen?

I liked the class enough to return the next week…and the next…and the next. I intend to go throughout my pregnancy. I can’t say the time and location are very convenient; in fact, they’re downright inconvenient. But it’s worth it.

Dannie is an absolute wealth of information about yoga and childbirth – she’s a former doula, and has taught yoga for years. She’s chatty and non-judgmental; she keeps us focused on the work, but keeps things light. She has two kids and she has copious tattoos. She is awesome.

The students vary from week to week. There are usually 6 – 10 of us, in different stages of pregnancy. Last week was exciting because for the first time, I wasn’t the “baby” of the class (i.e. the least far along). Doing yoga with women who are 35 – 38 weeks along is eye-opening, let me tell you. It is a mix of “Here’s what’s in stoooooore for you!!” (gulp) and “Hey, these women could have their babies any day now, and they’re still doing yoga. That’s pretty cool.”

One of the things I’ve learned is, like regular yoga, there are different styles of prenatal yoga. Dannie likes to say that she’s getting us ready for actual childbirth; thus, we work on strength AND relaxation, and end every class with squats. I walk out feeling like I’ve gotten a quality workout, with zero concern about whether I’m harming the tiny life growing inside me.

There are tons of health benefits to doing yoga, but one of my favorite parts is simply being among other pregnant women. We talk to each other, but even when we don’t, there’s a camaraderie there. We’re in this together.

It takes a village to raise a pregnant woman, and I’m grateful to have found one.

 

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