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Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

morning yoga

I love mornings in Tel Aviv. After the early garbage trucks make their rounds, there is a short quiet period before the city wakes up. My boys were sleeping soundly this morning when my alarm went off so I tiptoed into the office and put down my yoga mat. I found the most wonderful prenatal yoga practice on YouTube and enjoy doing it every few days while I’m away from my regular class. It’s the best combination of static and movement I’ve found online, doesn’t cater to the annoying “you’re pregnant so you can’t do…” mentality and is completely appropriate for all stages of pregnancy. It’s taught by a beautiful pregnant woman beside a peaceful blue pool and it’s the perfect start or end to my day.

This morning as I was nearing the close of my practice, I heard a little voice yell, “Ima, are you in there?”. I opened the door and invited my fire truck pajama-clad two year old in for the final few minutes. He jumped onto my mat and joined me for deep breathing squats, a few standing poses and a final downward dog. He has perfected down dog with just his feet and head on the ground, arms flying in the air behind him. What fascinated him the most however was the woman on the screen doing yoga on top of the water. Try as I might, I couldn’t convince him she was next to the pool, not on top of it.

I asked him if he’d like to do shivasana with me and he obediently lay down on his back and closed his eyes. In less than 30 seconds he informed me we were all done so we sat up and did namaste ohmms. If you’ve never seen a two year old put his hands together, scrunch his eyes closed and chant ohmm, I highly recommend it. Tops my cuteness list for sure!

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I went to my second mama-baby yoga class Wednesday. Of course, between nursing and soothing I didn’t do many poses but I did get creative. When we were instructed to lay on our backs for ab work I decided to see if Baby A would lay quietly on my belly. No such luck, so I opened my shirt and he found his target, giving me a few minutes to focus on my core. Yes, I did my leg lifts and pelvic tilts while serving a buffet lunch. I’m discovering ways to do all regular life activities with baby attached.

I’m still walking several miles a day and think I pulled something in my left glute. I’ll keep my focus on it but I’m not about to stop walking unless it gets worse. Yesterday I clocked 6.4 miles at one time and discovered some pretty residential streets in the opposite direction from my usual walks. Today I walked across the park for a late breakfast at Crepevine. Both days I was joined by friends. Yesterday my friend pushed my stroller. Today my friend pushed her own and at one point we found our wheels intertwined; a comical interlude for all to witness.

Each morning during play time I do a few arm & leg exercises with Baby A. The past few days he’s been cooing at me and rewarding me with big smile. Motherhood is wonderful!

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Most of my friends are no longer showing up in yoga (due to having their babies) and I was the most, um, maturely pregnant lady in class this morning by four weeks! The one perk was that my mom is now in town so I got to bring her along like I’ve seen so many other 40+ weekers do in the past. If I make it to 41 weeks, class is free. (Don’t get any ideas Baby! That is not my goal). Class felt wonderful, although every time I went into a squat I was sure I might need rescuing out of the pose. Luckily it didn’t come to that but by the end I was tired enough to fall asleep during the five minute sivasana!

Yesterday, my swim class buddies were thrilled to see me and also tried to sympathize that I was still there, not in labor yet. We had a sub who encouraged socialization, which was a relief to everyone, since that’s what we’re there for anyway. The workout was good and I found plenty of energy but immediately lost it the second I climbed out of the water. Save my acupuncture appointment, I spent the afternoon resting in bed! I was tempted to do the same today but thought a walk might encourage Baby to move in the downward direction. I think the walk was a good call and thoroughly enjoyed the de Young museum’s annual flower exhibit. I soaked in the beauty and scent, all the while thinking this would be a perfect way to have spent my last afternoon before giving birth!

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The comparison between racing and giving birth has come up several times in the past few days, from Clif Shot Bloks being good electrolyte snacks to keep in both tri-bag and hospital bag to if I can push through the pain in completing an Ironman, I can birth my baby.  All of this is speculation on my part but comforting nonetheless.  The last comparison I made between Ironman and something else was in preparation for and performance of last summer’s Ring Cycle at the opera.  It worked well for me then, so hopefully now too!

I’m spending more time these days thinking about exercise and craving that which I will do post-pregnancy than actually working out.  I even had a dream about running a few nights ago.  Many people might call this a nightmare, but for me it was a reminder of what’s to come and also an affirmation of my current strength.  In my dream I remember two details.  I ran 30 minutes then leaned over to unlace my shoes and found that my belly was it’s current pregnant size.  My instant thought before happily drifting back to sleep was “maybe I’ll go for a run in the morning”.  Obviously that didn’t happen but once morning rolled around, the pleasantness of the dream lingered.

My activity this past week has been purely on the yoga mat or in the pool.  I walk a bit but even that is uncomfortable except first thing in the morning.  My biggest walk last week was accompanying my husband to the bus stop then returning home- 15 blocks total.  I was exhausted and almost skipped my swim that day!  The swimming and yoga still feel wonderfully soothing to my body and meditative for my mind, so hopefully I will be able to continue both until the big day!

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Yesterday in yoga I realized my rear end had become jiggly.  This is something I’ve worked hard to avoid my entire adult life and a quality my yoga teacher praises as being essential for childbirth.  Well, looks like my body is ready for having this baby!  In every class we do juicy hips- hip circles, figure eights and samba-like shaking to become soft and supple.  She reminds us frequently not to clench lower body muscles during standing poses.  Flowing squats (starting with arms high in the air then squatting and bringing hands to the ground or bolster)  are used to strengthen and tone the pelvic wall instead of traditional kegels.  In Jane’s classes we strive to be comfortable in our new bodies and quiet in our minds, plus the beginning is like therapy as we go around the room introducing ourselves and mentioning anything we’re concerned about or would like focus on.  We do what feels like hours of shoulder strengthening exercises (which I’ll get around to posting one of these days!) to build strength for hours of baby holding.  And after class my friends and I round it out with Arizmendi Bakery‘s pizza of the day.  What’s not to love?

This morning I decided to take the bus to the JCC because free parking has a 2 hour limit and I didn’t want to pay for the garage.  I had scheduled my morning with water running, Hebrew lesson and a massage!  I saw my bus coming so began running and waving my arms, but it drove away without me.  I was indignant that the bus driver didn’t wait for a pregnant woman but still made it to class on time via another bus and a slightly longer walk.

Today and also on Tuesday I felt strong and motivated in the water.  Tuesday’s class was crowded with girls I knew so naturally I focused more on chatting than exercising but still got a good workout.  Today the instructor didn’t show up.  She’s a doula so we all know that she often doesn’t have time to find a sub.  Six of us were there so we ran the class ourselves, moving up and down the pool in pairs, remembering what exercises we could.  This suited me just fine since I needed to leave early.  After 40 minutes I moved to the warm pool to stretch, then took a leisurely shower and hurried upstairs to my Hebrew lesson.  My Hebrew is actually improving since I’ve been doing my homework lately and I was able to read and make sense of a couple paragraphs before going back to writing and verbs!  The reward for exercising and studying today was a wonderful prenatal massage.  I’m so glad I purchased the Yelp JCC deal when I saw it  (a cheap month’s membership and a massage) and am sorry my month is ending soon.  Back to paying for water classes next week!

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not just eating

I haven’t written for almost a week but despite how it might appear on my FB page, I have been doing more than just eating!  I continue to love the water even though being on land isn’t horrible right now since hip stopped hurting and my back isn’t usually tired until the evening.  Perhaps I’m in the final stages of a blissful pregnancy and my hips have done most of the shifting they’re going to do??  My belly is getting heavier (and huger!) by the day and Baby’s movements are quite distracting, especially in the middle of the night.  We didn’t sleep much last night but despite waking groggy to a grey morning I hauled myself to water class.  There were eight of us in attendance this morning and I was pleased to already know a little about each girl.  Class was total social hour- didn’t seem as though I worked at all!  This felt great compared to last Thursday’s class when I could barely move in the water and exhausted every muscle in my body.  Sunday’s swim was a middle-ground water day.  We’d spend the entire day sitting in our final hypnobirthing class and I could hardly wait to swim.  However, once in the water I was having so much trouble catching my breath and getting enough air that I quit after 1/4 mile.

After Thursday’s class, I took a total rest day Friday and was recovered enough Saturday to fit a very brief spin in before brunch at Nopa.  I had 20 minutes and made the most of it without exhausting myself.  Yesterday was another tired day so I called it quits after a 30 minute walk in the park with LP, then thoroughly enjoyed my massage as a reward for getting out of bed and moving!

a week of workouts:

wed- Jane’s yoga class!  thurs– 1 hour water class,  fri– rest day,  sat– 20 min spin (5 min warm up, increase weight on wheel & spin 2 min/ climb :30 X 4, decrease weight on wheel & increase RPM 100-105 for 3 min, 2 min cool down), stretch & bird-dog,  sun– 450 yd swim mostly freestyle w/ occasional back or breaststroke,  mon– 30 min easy walk, tue– 1 hour water class

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The last few days my lower back has been particularly finicky.  I find that the best things to do are distract myself instead of putting energy toward how much I’m hurting and think positive: this too shall pass!

This morning I began with a short yoga practice for low back pain and sciatica.  I discovered that if I followed my instructor’s advice from yesterday’s class and didn’t tilt my pelvis forward during standing poses, my back had more room and I didn’t feel any sciatica pull.

At noon I joined RL and Baby R on their daily walk, mentioning beforehand that I might not be able to walk very far.  Downhills were a little sticky but flat and up were fine and I enjoyed the distraction of talking with a friend while walking several blocks.

After our walk I was feeling good so I went to the pool.  Once parked, I stood up too fast getting out of the car and nearly collapsed in my right hip when the pain shot through it.  I straightened up slowly and breathed, then walked to the pool, reminding myself to be more careful next time.  I was delighted to find the water bathed in sunlight and was pleased by the moderate water temperature.  (Note to self- 1:45 is when the sun hits the pool at this time of year.)  I shimmied myself into the water and my mind immediately went to finding a goal for my swim, but I backed off and decided on one lap at a time.  I focused on specific form for each stroke to help balance my ever-growing belly and not over-arch my spine.  In freestyle, I kept my head low in the water so my bottom half could float higher, encouraging a neutral spine.  During breast stroke, I focused on knees pointing down and feet staying parallel instead of legs splaying open as I’m in the habit of doing.  Keeping an internal rotation of the hips meant I was both strengthening my inner thighs and not overworking my glutes.  Back stroke was the opposite of freestyle.   I allowed my butt to sink a little deeper than usual so that my spine stayed neutral.  900 yards later, I reluctantly got out of the pool because my bladder told me I must!

the workout:

20 min gentle yoga, 45 min walk, 900 yd swim

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