yoga during pregnancy

35weeks
Me, at 35 weeks and feeling huge!

I’m not really an athletic person.

I’m busy.

I’m tired.

I’ll do it tomorrow.

I’m an expert at creating excuses.

Making exercise a priority is a challenge.

As I neared my third trimester, Jonny and I attended a childbirth class, where learned about the importance of breathing to relax and focus during labor. It was also about this time when I started feeling really uncomfortable — a bump (mountain?) can throw off your center of gravity.

About a week later, my lovely husband surprised me with two prenatal yoga DVDs — with the promise that he’d do them with me. Yes, ladies. I hit the husband jackpot.

However, doing a workout DVD when our rambunctious two-year-old son was finally in bed (and asleep!) meant waiting until around 9 p.m. to really get started. And by then, bending and stretching was the furthest thing I desired. So, while the DVDs were a huge sign of my husband’s awesomeness, they haven’t been used nearly as much as I was hoping.

I was still a sore-back, stressed-out preggo.

So, when I had the opportunity to review Pregnancy Health Yoga (March 2013), I was excited to give the book a try. The book format allowed me to flip through to aches or anxieties I was experiencing, and tackle a few stretches or breathing exercises when I had a few free minutes — no need to dedicate an hour in front of the TV.

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Authors Tara Lee and Mary Attwood, two pregnancy yoga gurus, show how yoga can enhance health during pregnancy, prepare for childbirth, and aid in post-natal recovery. The book is more of a guide and less of a list of required exercises, which I appreciated. They explain breathing and provide guided visualizations; illustrated step-by-step routines; a directory of postures that target common pregnancy-related ailments; and exercises to get back in shape after giving birth. Everything is tailored to your trimester. Tara Lee, one of the authors, teaches a super popular prenatal yoga class in the UK, and I can see why she’s so sought-after.

I have a slight scoliosis (which has gotten worse with age, unfortunately), and the stretches help my back feel more aligned. I also enjoy the breathing techniques for focus and relaxation — two things that expecting mamas can always use more of.

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I appreciated that the book focused on yoga’s more physical elements, and less of the heavy spirituality that can sometimes come with yoga routines.

I haven’t had a difficult time teaching myself the stretches or techniques, but it does take a little practice (and feel a little awkward at first). For those who are more visually inclined, a DVD is included to help you get the hang of it.

I have to be honest — as I near 36 weeks, it feels like bending over to put on my shoes is enough prenatal yoga work for me. But having the book to come back to, especially as I prepare for labor, delivery, and post-baby workouts, is extremely helpful.

Interested? Check it out here.

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