Admittedly, I’m a little biased. But prenatal yoga class is one of the best things to ever happen to me. Sure, I have a different perspective, being the teacher, but a few of my reasons for loving it may apply to actual participants. I think I mentioned this earlier on the blog (pregnancy brain does not end with pregnancy), but Claire Dederer (see her excellent book Poser) had it all wrong. Prenatal yoga class is not just “a bunch of pregnant women rolling on the ground and farting” (though that has its merits too). Prenatal yoga class offers much, much more.
- Wearing pajamas is perfectly acceptable. Even when you’re the teacher. It’s not all lululemon and athleta here. Pjs and cozy clothes are always welcome, as are your best friend’s thrift store finds from a decade ago.
- Snacking is encouraged. Whereas food is not a normal part of a regular yoga, it is welcome in prenatal yoga. Everyone in the room understands both nausea and the raging hunger that accompanies growing a human.
- We really listen to our bodies. We are always supposed to do this in yoga, but other voices chime in. One of the reasons my husband is not a big yoga fan is because there “is no competition” in yoga. But, sometimes it’s really hard to stay completely focused on your own mat when the person next to you effortlessly does something that requires an abundance of effort for you to even think about. When pregnant, it’s often a little bit easier to let go of that voice inside that urges us to push past our edge or critiques our outward form. As never before, it is totally what’s inside that counts.
- Checking in at the beginning of class is a kind of unparalleled group therapy. There is commiseration, laughter, some tears, and the warm acknowledgment and support of community. These women get it, possibly like no one else really does.
- Playdates are built in for years down the road. Your child’s first day of kindergarten will be that much easier. As will yours.
- It’s a time for you to connect to you. It’s a time for you to connect to your baby. Sometimes, one of those connections is more important than the other. Whatever connection is required is the one on which you should focus. For first time moms, being able to slow down a bit and mentally process all of the emotional and physical change can be invaluable. For women on a subsequent pregnancy, this may be the only time in the day that they are given the opportunity to connect with their baby (or remember that they’re pregnant).
- I’ve never been known for my loud and rocking playlists. Here, though, my sweet and, admittedly, often sentimental music* is welcomed and accepted. **
- You don’t actually have to do any asana. A dear former student of mine had a number of physical challenges relating to her pregnancy. Any of you who have experienced Symphysis pubis dysfunction know that it greatly limits the amount of movement a body can experience without pain. B struggled with pretty severe SPD throughout her pregnancy and had to modify for a great deal of our practice. And then, at 36 weeks, she broke her ankle. Still, she continued to show up. I’m not totally sure why, but my guess is that her presence had something to do with any number of the reasons above.
It’s yoga, community, commiseration, and comfort, all rolled up into one 75 minute package. And, if there’s a little farting as you roll around on the ground, that’s a perfectly acceptable, and wholeheartedly accepted, part of the practice.
* see lots of music with the word “lullaby” in the title
** I think