Prior to pregnancy I was an extremely active yogi. I would be on my mat at least 5 days a week, if not more!
Once my belly started to make an appearance I found that my normal practice needed some modifications. No more tiger's pose, belly-up core, or twists! Along with the modifications, I noticed my body feeling drastically different moving through a flow. My joints hurt, my pelvic floor felt heavy, and my belly started to get in the way of my "graceful" flow, lol.
Around month 5 of my pregnancy is when I realized I needed to frequent pre-natal yoga classes more-so than my standard Vinyasa or Sculpt. This was hard for me because for me. Yoga means to me, leaving drenched in sweat. Doing a gentle practice was the last thing I wanted to do. None the less, I gave in and took my first pre-natal class and fell in love.
I was lucky enough to have been friends with my instructor, Katrina Van Tassell, prior to taking her class. I knew she was talented but it wasn't until I experienced her pre-natal that I realized what a special gift she has. Katrina's pre-natal yoga offers more than movement. Her guiding words connect you with your growing baby along with preparing your body & breath for labor.
I want every mamma-to-be to experience Katrina's gift so I spent some time interviewing her:
How did you get into teaching Pre-nantal yoga?
Teaching prenatal yoga is very special to me! The first yoga class I ever took was when my momma was pregnant with me! She had the urge to start doing yoga during her pregnancy. She fell in love and went on to be a teacher herself. I grew up doing some yoga with my mom but really got into it during college and went on to become a teacher. Though I teach a few different styles of yoga, I have an especially deep connection with prenatal yoga and my students. It fills my heart to the brim being in a room of strong, powerful, glowing goddesses. Women have a special energy that shines through when they are pregnant. Being able to help them channel that on their mat is a really powerful moment to be apart of.
What are the best poses for pregnant women to practice? And any poses to avoid in their practice? Additional advice?
The best advice I can give is to listen to your body. When you roll out your mat sit for a minute with both hands on your belly and really listen to what your body is craving. It knows best! Lots of women enjoy hip openers like badha konasana (sitting with soles of the feet together and knees wide), child's pose the the knees wide, prasarita (straddle legs) forward fold. Taking standing poses like warrior two or triangle with your back against the wall can also feel very healing and supportive. Take downward dog and forward folds with the feet wide, outer hip distance apart. Set yourself up with lots of props. Use blocks under your hands whenever you can. Sit on a bolster or a blanket. During pregnancy the ligaments are softer than usual and muscles tend to be more open, so don't feel like you always need to go to your edge. Avoid deep twists, lying on your belly, and lying directly on your back. Take savasana propped on a bolster or on your left side in a fetal position. But most importantly just breathe:) Be in the moment with your baby and your body, and listen to what it wants. Even talk you your baby! Spend some time enjoying the special bond you two are creating together.
Where can yogis take your class(pre-natal and normal yoga)? Do you take any private clients for pre-natal?
Yogis can find me teaching at Buddhi Yoga, Akasha Yoga, Bird Rock Yoga, and EOS! Though I don't have any regular prenatal classes at the moment, I love doing private classes with prenatal students. It really gives the student an opportunity to work on areas in their body that need some love and attention. Every body is different during pregnancy, so yoga won't be a “one size fits all” kind of practice either. I build a client's classes specifically for the client and her baby’s needs. Private classes also give me the opportunity to do more hands on adjustments and assists that can really help the student find release and relax more into the poses. Students can find me at KatrinaRaeYoga.com or email me at KatrinaRaeYoga@gmail.com.
Betsy BenniS, FoundeR, Beautiful With Baby
Beautiful With Baby started as a result of owner, Betsy Bennis, experiencing numerous career set-backs in the fashion & beauty industry. Betsy has always had a passion for empowering other women by helping them connect with their inner & outer beauty through fashion, beauty, & personal development.