Jade’s personal Prenatal Yoga testimonial
Yoga gave me strength and confidence…
When I became pregnant for the first time many of my friends and family members thought I was crazy for deciding early on that I wanted to have an all-natural birth with a midwife at a birthing center rather than in a hospital with a doctor. It was my yoga practice that gave me the confidence to know that my body was capable and my mind could handle the process of labor and delivery without drugs or interventions. I had already been practicing yoga for about 6 years when I found out I was pregnant. In that 6 years I discovered through yoga how strong and incredible our bodies and our minds really are and that we are capable of things we may have once thought impossible. Read on
Yoga gave me the energy I needed…
My first trimester was the most challenging of the three trimesters. My biggest obstacle in my first trimester was fatigue! I was always tired and frequently found it difficult to dig up the strength or motivation to get off the couch. It takes a lot of energy in those first few months to develop a new human being! The first trimester is all about developing baby’s major organ systems. With your body expelling so much energy on baby there just isn’t much left over for mama, and if you’re like me (addicted to caffeine) giving up coffee didn’t help me feel any better! The one thing that did help… yoga! All though I had a hard time getting motivated to get on my mat at times, I always felt a gazillion times better after I practiced. It gave me a boost of energy and made me feel strong again. On top of feeling tired I felt rather cloudy headed and not quite myself but yoga brought me back to the “me” I was familiar with.
Yoga taught me to be compassionate towards myself…
Many people agree the second trimester is the most manageable. By this time I regained my energy and appetite although I was still cloudy headed and forgetful. This was a problem for me throughout my entire pregnancy (just ask my husband!) Yoga taught me how to be compassionate toward myself during this process. When I would begin to feel frustrated for being forgetful or cloudy headed or just not feeling like myself I would remind myself to breathe and take it easy. I would remind myself to sit and be present for a moment and let go of the frustration or any other negative feelings. This is just one example of how having practiced being present in my yoga practice bleed into my regular everyday life and in a time when I most needed it! I believe being present really allowed me to enjoy the experience of being pregnant.
Yoga gave my body the strength and flexibility that I needed for the changes that my body would undergo…
Many mommies to be begin to feel rather uncomfortable nearing the end of their pregnancy. The body has changed rather radically. Internal organs become compressed and can make it feel difficult to breath. The way your weight is distributed changes completely which can affect your balance. Naturally your body begins to retain more water and swelling may become an issue. Fortunately for me I continued to practice yoga throughout my entire pregnancy. All the time people would make statements like “I bet you can’t wait for it to just all be over now!” Truthfully I really wasn’t all that uncomfortable! Having kept up with my yoga practice gave my body the strength to carry the extra weight. Getting on my mat and just breathing and moving my body regularly kept everything circulating and resulted in minimal swelling. Stretching allowed me to create more space in my body for the changes to come so I didn’t experience a loss of breath or uncomfortable overcrowding. The biggest nuisance for me at this point in my pregnancy would be the occasional acid reflux which could have been avoided by not indulging in foods like delicious creamy she crab soup, but hey when you’re pregnant those urges are strong and the consequences don’t seem so bad in the moment!
Yoga allowed me the ability to exist fully in the present moment and really focus on my breath…
I woke up the morning my daughter would arrive feeling just a little uncomfortable. Unable to go back to sleep because lying down seemed to be the position of most discomfort I just decided to get up and start my day. It was about 7am and I was under no impression that it was the day. The feeling of discomfort grew gradually as the morning went on but it wasn’t until almost noon that I knew for sure I was in labor. Arriving at the birthing center just after 12pm my midwife confirmed that I was in labor and walked my husband and I back to our birthing suit. As contractions grew stronger I would continue to stay focused on my breath and remain present. The moments in-between contracts were moments of complete relief. I would soak these moments up and just enjoy how I felt in that moment rather than existing in fear of the next stronger contraction. I had no conception of time or cared to know how long it had been or how much longer it would take. All I did was breath and trust in my body. I gave complete faith that I was capable of this! Our daughter was born at 3:02pm, a pretty speedy delivery for a first time mom! Not only did I experience a non-traumatic labor and delivery but my baby came into this world bright eyed and never cried out like you see in the movies. She just looked at me with such curious big eyes that seem to reflect exactly what I was thinking and feeling. While still holding our new born daughter, I looked at my husband and said “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!”
There are so many scientific studies out there that will tell you the facts of why yoga and prenatal yoga are so good for you and I could go on and on talking about the physical benefits and facts but I wanted to share with you my unique story and journey through this very transformational experience . I hope it empowers you and encourages you to consider taking up yoga now! Weather you’ve had any experience with yoga in the past or you’re just jumping into it for the first time after finding out that you are excepting, it’s never too late to begin reaping the benefits of yoga!
I’m in downward dog for what seems like 15 minutes, my arms are shaking and I’m convinced the teacher I loved so much when I entered class has it out for me. I try to remember all the downward dog cues and the instructor is filling my head with about 15 more that I didn’t even realize applied to this pose.
For years my yoga practice was filled with thoughts like these. The problem was that until I took my teacher training I didn’t understand two key principles which I’ll share with you now.
The first principle is about the laundry list of alignment cues we’re taught to remember for each pose. It’s basically the same list for every pose. This is why Mountain Pose (Tadasana) is used as the foundation for alignment. Learn mountain pose and your yoga practice will hit a new level overnight.
1. Plant your feet (if you’re not standing then skip this step)
2. Align your knees above your ankles with a soft bend
3. Rotate your pelvis forward to remove the sway from your lower back
4. Lift your heart
5. Draw your shoulder blades down the back
6. Energize your hands
7. Slightly tuck your chin
8. And always engage your Bhandas
The second principle is that there is no perfect pose and if there were, it wouldn’t be static. A pose involves constant movement. The adjusting you do in a pose IS the pose. Once you’ve finished your alignment list, start again.
By practicing these principles you’ll see an immediate improvement in your yoga practice and mindset.
See you on the mat!
Why Men Should Practice Yoga
I don’t know about you but I’ve had the hardest time trying to talk my guy friends into doing yoga. I get a handful of reasons why they don’t want to step foot in a yoga class including, “Yoga is for girls.” “I don’t want to be the only guy in the class” And the classic, “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” These are all just misconceptions; the funny thing is that yoga was originally practiced almost exclusively by men. So, if you’re a man (or even a woman) and aren’t a practicing yogi, here’s why you should start… and right away!
Yoga increases flexibility. I cringe a little every time someone tells me they aren’t flexible enough to practice yoga. That’s one of the main arguments in FAVOR of practicing yoga! It’s like saying, “I’m too cold to wear a sweater.” The only people who can touch their toes are the people who consistently try to touch their toes. That’s why you should get on your mat every day.
Now you might be thinking, “Big whoop, what do I care if I can touch my toes?” Increasing your flexibility can promote your health in so many ways! First, it can help prevent everyday injuries that may occur when trying to lift heavy objects or even just getting up out of bed. If you’re a sufferer of backaches or shoulder mobility issues the root cause of your pain may be a lack of flexibility. In turn, it could be resolved with a consistent yoga practice that focuses on stretching. Second, it can enhance your sports performance through better arm and shoulder extension and rotation (great for football, baseball, golf and tennis players), deeper knee bends and hip flexing, and promote longer strides (great for runners). It’s becoming more and more common to see professional sports athletes hitting the mat and practicing yoga several times a week!
Yoga builds strength in a different way by requiring you to coordinate your entire body in order to get into a pose, strengthening muscles throughout your body. Little muscles that you’re not (yet) aware of as well as small stabilizers that are hidden deep inside your core become ignited through yoga! Building strength in these tiny stabilizers can prevent injuries and the non-impact nature of yoga is good for your bones and joints. Weight lifting targets a small percentage of your muscle mass at a time. Yoga encourages you to use your entire body in a very integrative way. And hey! If bench pressing is your thing then keep doing it! Add yoga to your routine and see how it improves your weight lifting routine.
Yoga is also a great way to decompress and relieve mental and physical stress. Everyone can use a little less stress these days, especially since it contributes to many illnesses from the common cold to more serious conditions such as IBS and ED. Less stress can mean more sleep which in and of itself has a long list of health benefits. Yoga encourages you to focus on your breath and body in a way that it becomes a form of moving meditation and increases your mind/body awareness. A regular yoga practice increases the natural “Feel Good” chemicals from your brain, like serotonin, making you a happier and healthier person! Another added benefit of focusing on the breath is the increase of oxygen in the blood which promotes a healthier cardiovascular system.
Combine less stress, improved strength, improved cardiovascular system, improved flexibility and increased mind/body awareness and what do you have? A better sex life! That’s right; I said it! Yoga even makes sex better. So what are you waiting for? Yoga is for everyone, even men!
I’m assuming that most of the people who read this article are those who already practice yoga so I’m encouraging you to print or email this article to “that guy.” You know… The one who said, “Yoga is for girls!”
Massage for Health
We know massage is great for feeling undeniably blissed-out and all over relaxed. A good massage can relieve tension from sitting at a computer all day with your shoulders scrunched up to your ears and it’s a great tool to quiet the mind, get back in your body and focus simply on breathing in and out. But, did you know that massage is an effective tool for detoxifying the body? It is. And, what better time to give your body a little help eliminating toxins and not to mention, some self -love, than now?
Massage techniques improve circulation by increasing circulation, bringing nutritional blood supply to the tissues and enhancing the venous return of toxins. Toxins that lodge around the shoulders, knees, elbows and ankles can be dislodged by transverse friction movements and are then eliminated through blood flow and filtered through the kidneys. The increased blood flow from massage is also a great help to the liver, our biggest ally in the body’s efforts to detox. Massage, in conjunction with yoga, allows for full movement of the rib cage and diaphragm, thus eliminating gaseous toxins, loosening mucus in the lungs and improving clearance.
The lymphatic system plays a huge role in the body’s natural housecleaning. Massage improves the flow of lymph which carries nutrients to your tissues, bathes your cells and picks up the metabolic waste and toxins. The toxins are then eliminated through the blood’s circulation. Massage techniques push the lymph through gaps between the cells, thus improving drainage and reducing swelling. Improving the lymph circulation has the added benefit of increased immune function, increasing your body’s resistance to those nasty colds circulating around the office.
If you choose to alter your diet, you may feel sluggish as toxins are being dumped into your bloodstream for elimination. A massage can help this “moving” process and along with yoga, keep the muscles loose and limber. Stretching and toning the muscles with massage and yoga allow the body’s fluids to flow freely and easily eliminate what it no longer needs.
A detox is a perfect way to kick start a new year. Combining massage and yoga is a great way to make a long-lasting change in your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Eat as pure a diet as you can, practice yoga, have regular massages and don’t forget to thank yourself for taking excellent care of you.
To see the services we offer onsite at Sublime Yoga, click here!
Lynn Principe is a licensed Massage Therapist and Esthetitian experienced in Swedish massage, Reflexology, Pregnancy massage, Reiki, advanced stretching techniques, Aromatherapy, Facials, body waxing, and body wraps. She has been trained and certified by the Aveda Institute and was most recently a dual therapist at a spa voted by Conde Nast as one of the top 100 Spas in the United States. In addition to being a Spa Therapist, Lynn Principe earned a BFA in Painting and has worked as a professional artist for 20 years. She brings her artistry, intuition and creativity to her spa treatments. Lynn also enjoys being the mother of her 2 amazing children and pursuing her passion for Bellydance.