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I’ve loved yoga since the day I discovered it. I love the way I feel when do it, and especially the way I feel afterwards. A good yoga practice makes me feel open, spacious, bouncy, flexible, strong, pain-free (or at least in much less pain), and calm. And at no time has yoga more been my friend than during pregnancy.
Yoga has helped my energy, strength and flexibility so much. When you can no longer do basic things (like pick things up or put on shoes) without modifying how you do them, keeping up a yoga practice gives your body a bank account of other default postures to draw from, without which I’d have had to ask for a lot more help.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a pro, but these poses have helped me immensely. I also had a yoga practice before pregnancy. Not all poses would be appropriate for all pregnancies.
All postures help with 3 really important things:
- Daily energy, strength and flexibility
- Baby positioning
- Strenghthens and stretches muscles used during labor (that you might not typically use)
Here are some of my favorite poses.
A classic and basic. Warrior II. It begins to warm up your hip flexors for the other poses. My warrior II is better now than it was before pregnancy.
Standing Half Moon
Standing half moon for picking things up. I really do pick things up this way.
Standing Figure 4 or Standing Pigeon
A standing figure 4 for putting my socks on. As long as I practice this daily, I can put my own socks on. 🙂
Alternate position for picking things up is yogi squat. (Really helps encourage the baby into the right position, too).
And with a side stretch:
Low Lunge Variation
And one of my favorites for various purposes, opening up the low back, the psoas muscle (great for lowering risk of emergency C-section I hear), and the hips – the low lunge variation. Start this one on your hands instead of elbows. Work gently into your elbows over time.
Horse, plie, or goddess squat, whatever you want to call it.
With a side stretch variation. Side stretches feel so good during pregnancy.
3 legged downward dog.
This one will fire up your muscles and strengthen your core.
3 legged Down Dog with Open Hip
This next one is one of my absolute favorites, especially when you’re experiencing that sore, tight band of muscles around your low back that are exhausted from holding up your baby. This yoga pose stretches all the way from your shoulder to your hip. You’ll want to start in down dog, transition to one legged dog, and lastly of all bend your knee and open your hip. In pregnancy, you can open up your side as much as you want to feel that therapeutic stretch all the way up your back (before prenatal yoga, instructors will usually tell you to square your shoulders because they are focusing on different muscles).
Just doing the poses for this photo shoot got my heart rate up and I worked up quite a sweat, even though it was a short and sweet practice.
Cooling down, focusing, prayer, feeling gratefulness for having made it to 39 weeks, for my and my baby’s health.
I will never forget the sixth day of my 30 day Bikram yoga challenge. I felt a release in my back. A pain that I did not even know it was possible to exist without evaporated. I’ve had neck pain for a decade, and I am a little young for that.
The emotional release that came along with this physical relief of pain, tightness and tension was dramatic. I called my husband laughing and crying. I floated, not walked. I played the violin. “It sounds effortless, happy, fluid.” Nate reported. I cried tears of happiness while I played. I expressed myself, something I’ve struggled to do with the violin for years.
I did doubles sometimes (two 90 minute classes in one day) – the best of all. The second class was always euphoric. I ate and slept less those days. I didn’t need much of either. I drank a lot of coconut water though. Unwanted flab melted way, and so did the pain of painful memories, tension and false expectations of myself. While friends thought I lost weight, I actually gained through muscle.
On the last day of 30 my day challenge, I mourned. I didn’t want life to change.
I floundered for a few weeks after that. How often is one allowed to go to Bikram yoga? Isn’t that kind of time commitment irresponsible? Twice should be good for a responsible adult, right? I tried other yoga forms at home in the meantime. All good, but none so therapeutic. Pain crept back into my muscles, joints, tendons, mind. My work hours, the ones for the very job I said I had to do less yoga for, receded like a puddle on a sunny day. Last week I petered out at 20 hours, and pain plagued 10 of those hours. My going to yoga guilt was not working, for myself or anyone else in my life.
I don’t care how much responsibility I have, I said. I’m going to yoga. Today I finished my fourth class this week. I still have time for a fifth. I worked 38 hours this week at my desk, coding and designing, each day getting better, more creative, more productive. Happier. I hadn’t played the violin in a week, knowing how the old frustration might be there. It wasn’t today. The beauty I found in it on the sixth day of my Bikram yoga challenge was back.
I have never been to another hot yoga class. Chances are they would vary in effectiveness by how much they are like or unlike Bikram yoga. But since heat is a necessary part of therapy, I’m not parting with it, or a grueling 20 some postures, anytime soon.
I have found the key to everything else I love.
I made my first batch of kombucha and blogged about it here. This is batch number 5. It’s much better than my first batch, which, in comparison, tasted like a mixture of sweet tea and vinegar.
This fizzy stuff tastes like a delicate white champagne. But better. I love it.
- It’s the fifth batch, so each batch grows better with time. You have to keep mixing in a pint of aged kombucha with each new batch, and of course you can let your mushroom (scoby) grow.
- I also switched to plain white sugar on batch number 3. This speeds up the kombucha fermentation and makes a much healthier brew. Feed that scoby! It can’t easily digest organic raw sugar as well for some reason. Feed it simple sugar. It’s a yeast, not a child. (It also eats the sugar so you don’t have to).
- This was my first batch with green tea, which I’m liking. It has a more white champagne taste, rather than cider-y, fruity or dark.
I would love to be able to share a cup of health with you my readers! I also would love to know what you think of the taste, even those of you who think this whole process is weird. And of course, I would love to know what those of you who are fermented food or kombucha fans think of it, too! 🙂
Nothing takes away that dizzy feeling from not having eaten the right things, or for too long, like a cup of home brewed kombucha. I down a glass before I go to the gym and it gives me energy while calming my stomach. It is chock full of enzymes, probiotics and vitamin B. For more kombucha health benefits, read this.
This is my favorite Trim Healthy Mama meal. It was months, maybe years before I was truly able to enjoy my favorite favorite type of food, pasta, after the healthy changes I made to my diet a few years ago. Oh I had it sometimes, just never without guilt and a bulging stomach.
No more, thanks to Dreamsfields Pasta. This is not weird-tasting pasta. This is pasta where some of the carbs have been blocked. (And if anyone has anything to say against the healthiness of this pasta, I don’t want to hear it. I make enough sacrifices as it is). No seriously, this is THM approved!
This is a deceptively complex-tasting recipe – it’s really so simple to make!
- 1 cup of ground turkey with
- 1/2 tsp of oregano flakes,
- 1/4 tsp of Thyme
- 1/4 tsp of Salt
- sprinkle with pepper.
Knead with hands.
Form into balls and fry in 1 Tbsp of Olive oil.
Cook dreamfields pasta according to instructions on box.
Serve with your choice of low sugar pasta sauce. Less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. This is an important part. If you think 9-10 grams is no big deal, you’re missing out on the waste-healthy benefits of this dish. Sugar is EVERYTHING when it comes to losing belly fat.
Steam and salt the broccoli.
That’s it!! Enjoy an amazing pasta dish guilt and belly fat-free. 🙂