I have been doing prenatal yoga consistently for 15 weeks now. I’m not quite as regular as I was in the beginning, but it’s still making a huge difference in how my body feels on a daily basis and I love nothing more than to begin my day with a peaceful practice. In exploring a couple of classes and videos, I’ve put together a cohesive list for SF pregnant ladies and those of you who prefer to practice at home.
videos: Shiva Rea’s Prenatal Yoga– meditation/seated/standing/floor work, Jennifer Wolfe’s Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga– more of a workout, includes 15 min- 75 minute practices, music is irritating, Yoga for Pregnancy with Ann Richmond– mother of 5 (!), practices for all 3 trimesters plus morning sickness, back pain/sciatica, before bed- very homemade looking
I am a prenatal yoga convert. At almost 15 weeks pregnant, it’s probably earlier than I need to do this, but not knowing what I should or shouldn’t do right in the beginning motivated me to try out a couple prenatal DVDs and I was hooked! I’m trading off between two right now for my every-other-morning practice. I prefer Shiva Rea’s Prenatal Yoga because she offers all sorts of modifications, reminders about form and 3rd trimester advice. The practice is split into subgroups (divided by soothing waterfall scenery) but the entire thing is less than an hour and my body feels completely stretched and relaxed upon completion. The other DVD I have right now is one produced by Yoga Journal. I find to be less cohesive and more tedious to complete. The division between sections is noticeable, but none of the sections offer me a complete practice and all together they last over an hour, which is too long for me to sustain at home. I have two more coming in the mail- one Vinyasa flow and one with several short practices. More reviews later!
I attended my first prenatal yoga class yesterday at Yoga Tree and had the distinct feeling that if I came back in 10-20 weeks, I would appreciate it more. While the class was very relaxing, the instructor talked more than I like and we did so few poses. The one thing I really enjoyed was being reminded constantly that both my body and my baby know exactly what to do at every step of this process!
How often do I feel my muscles stiffen in the middle of holding a yoga pose and realize something hurts by the time I come out of it? The idea behind this article about Happy Yoga is the reason I love my new studio so much. It feels as if we are in class together to enjoy movement and breath, not get into difficult poses. Of course, there’s plenty of that also, but each instructor has her own way of reminding us to be playful (lion’s face) and find joy (smile) in our practice. One suggestion that has stuck with me from two weeks ago and is helpful also when I’m sitting in Wagner rehearsal is “relax your tongue from the roof of your mouth”. It sounded silly and was surprisingly difficult for me to execute at first, but it relaxes my entire face and jaw… very helpful in the middle of a difficult pose or a million notes. Of course, smiling is more fun and also improves my mood!
San Francisco has so many yoga studios it’s hard to know where to begin. I first discovered my new studio when it was opening across the street from a favorite coffee shop. The name, Purusha, means True Self and the classes are unique and fun. Thanks to a coupon from Homerun I got my first month of unlimited classes at 70% off and went almost every day until work began last week. After a week I’d noticed both a renewed confidence of movement and the regaining of lost flexibility. I still have a long way to go but right now this is a clear path in the direction I want to move, so I’m sticking with it!
In my ongoing quest to learn more about what will help or hurt my lower back, I found this Yoga Journal article on forward bends and twists. My physical and massage therapists can get me into a twist that doesn’t seem to hurt but I can never figure it out when I’m back at home without assistance! I do really enjoy the reclining big toe pose and can always do it comfortably. I am embarking on a cleanse that I hope will help the discs in my lower lumber to regenerate and regain some plumpness (hmmm… that’s an odd but fun way to think of it!). Reducing inflammation in this area and ridding my body of toxins might have a hugely positive affect but I will also continue to be conscientious in my movement. Ommm
I’m on day 11 of the challenge and I have mixed feelings about it. On some days I’ve chosen yoga over workout because there just wasn’t time for both, but I never feel great when I skip my exercise. On the positive side, I’m learning some new poses and my body is rapidly regaining lost flexibility. I haven’t found a specific time of day that works best for me, practice wise, but I do love this morning sequence led by Kate Holcombe. Enjoy!
I just signed up for Yoga Journal’s 21 day Challenge. It is free and I look forward to learning how to create a consistent home practice as I am on the road. I leave town today and will be spending the next week in Minnesota playing violin for many hours a day, then in Colorado skiing. Both activities will benefit from my body/mind finding better balance and getting stronger. Please join me!
In honor of winter solstice, Yoga Journal printed an article about the origins of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). Click here for their LiveMag video demonstrations of three variations of Surya Namaskar. I’m going to begin my morning with a series facing the ocean! Namaste.
I found Tired? Wired? waiting for me in my inbox and said “Yes! That’s me every night after a late show!” I can’t wait to try the sequence- especially the foot massage at the end. Maybe I’ll enlist my husband’s assistance!
This is too good not to post! 5 Things My Cat Taught Me About Yoga. Ironically, I don’t particularly like cats- for many of the same reasons she mentions in this blog post. Guess there’s always something to learn!
I just found a fantastic article in an add for Athleta sports clothing. The author compares our hips to the attic, a place with forgotten clutter, and suggests sweeping away the tension from the attic of the body regularly to feel more balanced.
Yoga Journal has added a new component called LiveMag. They are presenting articles from the magazine in video and audio format. This month’s video is a 15 minute sequence of poses for better digestion and a toned belly. The article is in the October paper issue. Click here to watch it in video form: Home Practice Healthy Twist
I just came across this article with three stretches for tight shoulders. This might come in handy if you spend your day hunched over an instrument, computer or bike!
I’ve been waking up and wandering onto my yoga mat almost every morning for a couple of weeks now. My practice is always very short and with the intent of getting blood flowing/muscles loosened up. This morning I decided to start being more particular about what my hips were doing in a parallel position. (A little background: From the time I was young, my right leg has had a very open turn-out and my left barely has any. I have been noticing it lately in the PT room because each week they look at my hips and one is off. This is causing/has something to do with the turn-out imbalance, so I’ve been concentrating on not letting the right leg flop in any direction it chooses.) So today, as I was moving through a modified version of sun salutations, I was paying attention to bringing my knee in closer to my chest instead of out to the side as I moved into plank position. I have a much smaller range of motion this way but maybe it will be another step in the direction toward a healthy back!
I just opened my latest online issue of Yoga Journal and there is a wonderful sequence for stress relief. Considering the ridiculous ride in the wind I just did, my body is feeling stressed and overtaxed. As soon as I finish this, I’m going to try the sequence. The accompanying article talks about our body’s reaction to stress and how sometimes a yoga sequence can relieve it better than a heart pumping workout. Check out Yoga to the Rescue!
Over the years, I have taken classes at studios and my local YMCA, gone on retreats (even the annual Yoga Journal cruise!), and practiced at home. I recently began a daily practice, after a long hiatus due to back pain. I stayed away from it more out of fear than anything else. I finally began reading a book my mom recommended and stepped on my yoga mat that morning. I took it very easy and listened to my body every step of the way, and came away with a calmer sense of being and a body starting to free itself up. Since that day I have been regaining flexibility and my mood swings have been almost non-existent. I practice only about 15 minutes and I have a set routine. This will change as I get stronger and feel more confident.
Below, I am listing some of my favorite resources. I believe the best way to create your own yoga practice is to try various types of yoga, classes and podcasts to see what works best for you!
Podcasts: (free versions can be found on itunes)
Yoga Finder is another great resource
your local YMCA
I just discovered that Yoga Journal has a “build your own sequence” page. When you log in, you can create your own and see others. You can find my basic sequence under Lauratogo.