Not all prenatal yoga classes are the same, but I sure do love my class! It’s not all what I expected. I thought it would be just like a regular yoga class with modifications for big bellies. But in actuality, it’s more like a childbirth class with a few traditional yoga poses thrown in.
Our class begins with 20-30 minutes of share time. We go around the room, one-by-one, and share our name, weeks of pregnancy and any highs or lows of the week. Our instructor Jen, who is also a doula, gives great experiential advice and suggestions on what remedies or solutions might help our ailments.
I know it’s a false impression, but I love the sense that during this hour, no matter how busy the day or week is, this hour of class is about mom and the new baby inside. Aside from the physical, the mental break is one part of class I really look forward to.
We then spend about 40-45 minutes in a series of stretches designed to open the hips, increase flexibility and decrease aches and pains. Class changes from week to week, but we usually begin with cat + cow stretches, pelvic circles and other motions. Things you might be embarrassed to do in a co-ed setting!
We usually do at least warrior I and II during class, a handful of squats and hamstring stretches. The worst type of squat is called campers pose, and the week after I blogged about it, Jen actually talked us through it as a mental game like a contraction. (For the record, it was twice as long and I have yet to make it all the way through without a break….she did say though that one mom reported after the fact that camper’s pose was harder than labor!)
A lot of times we end up doing some chest movements – arms this way or that – that looks like synchronized swimming and a dance class combined. It’s kind of beautiful to watch in the mirrors!
Class ends with 10 minutes of “rest” where we get in various poses – legs up the wall, lying on a bolster, etc – for time to think about the baby. My favorite part of class for sure!
Most of all, I really love how it just feels to be in a room full of other women going through a similar life-changing experience. I’ve never been through anything quite like this, and while I don’t really know the names of too many of the women yet, it’s still great bonding to just be in the room together. I like to think all of us are in total support of one another – all good vibes.
Missing Big Mamas
One drawback – people disappear!! After you reach week 30 (I think!), you are welcomed into the “Big Mama” group. And as women approach 40 weeks, there is always excitement when “this might be my last class comes,” and for those getting induced in the next few days, they know it’s their last class. I’ve only been going for about 2 months, but already it’s sad when you get there one week and women are missing. I almost wish there was a time each month set aside for the new moms to come back and share some tips and their babies to see (if they are able and comfortable). Monthly yoga reunions?!
I’m looking forward to mommy + me yoga someday too – perhaps that is the bridge to continue this enjoyable class!