Prior to being pregnant, I’d attended maybe ten yoga classes in my whole life. I’ve spent years with CrossFit, kickboxing, weight lifting, and other group exercise classes, but yoga never really did it for me. Sweating, loud music, and the kind of exercise that made my brain “turn off” were my thing. Until I got pregnant.
While pregnant I’ve been attending a Wednesday night Oh Baby! Fitness yoga class taught by one of our best instructors, Veronica. Veronica has a personal training background, so she “gets” the kind of workout I’m used to, but make no mistake, this is a true yoga class. There’s lots of breathing, chanting (guys, I never pictured myself sitting chanting with a bunch of other pregnant ladies….like, ever), and we even put one hand on our heart and one hand on our pregnant bellies at the end of class
And much to my surprise, I LOVE it.
While there is breathing, chanting and visualizations, there is also a portion of each class where Veronica pushes us to our edge. This section often includes many minutes in goddess pose (uh, OUCH!!), and then she coaches us to embrace or welcome the discomfort. It’s a mental exercise as much as a physical one- and one that I think will serve me well not only labor, but also in the demanding first months of motherhood. Knowing something is going to be hard, and welcoming it anyway, is a process that I want to lean into and practice when pregnant, and yoga has become my way to do that.
Don’t get me wrong though; there are lots of times in each class where I have the opposite of the above experience. We will come into a pose or posture and at first I think, “huh, okay, whatever, this looks funny” and about fifteen seconds into holding the pose I suddenly feel “oooooooh, this feels good. Like, REALLY good.” Hip opening exercises and side body stretching are a whole new level of pregnant lady paradise.
And as for the breathing, chanting and visualizations? I don’t know that I understand fully why they are working, but my experience is that they are. They make perfect sense in this class, and rather than feeling silly they feel totally natural.
I’m obviously a total beginner, but I’m so glad that my pregnancy has introduced me to such a different way of exercising, and so thankful to Veronica for teaching such a solid class week in and out. I don’t know yet what kind of exercise I’ll be into once the baby arrives (do all pregnant women day dream about postpartum exercise? to be able to exercise without the belly?), but I’ve been looking at yoga with a new, grateful set of eyes.
-Kathleen Donahoe, Co-owner Oh Baby! Fitness
34 week photos by Stacey Bode Photography.