|Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art|
First of all, let me just say that yoga is so much more than sitting, breathing and meditating. I know that some people (my sister for one) have the misconception that yoga is a waste of time, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Before I got pregnant, yoga was a regular part of my cross-training program. I liked doing yoga that moved quickly from one pose to the next and got my heart rate up. My preferred video was Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown. My goal for doing yoga was to strengthen my muscles and increase my stamina.
During my first trimester, it was all I could do to run on a regular basis. I didn't do any other forms of exercise because I was too sick and too tired. Early in my second trimester, I realized that it had been a mistake to neglect my cross-training after an alarming 'wake-up' call.
Out of the blue one morning, I woke up with pain along the outside of my right foot. It wasn't intense, but it was definitely there. I didn't run that day. The next day, although the pain was still there, I ran. As I ran, the pain increased and by that afternoon, I could barely walk. By that evening, I was crawling to get around.
I still don't know what exactly happened or what the injury was, but I limped for three days and had to take an entire week off from running. As I considered having to join a gym and run strictly on an elliptical, I decided to try a prenatal yoga video my husband had bought for me when I'd first become pregnant.
It wasn't like the yoga I was used to doing. It moved more slowly and didn't leave me panting for breath, but it felt good - really good. As I continued doing the video, I felt stronger and I felt relief from the lower back pain that has plagued me for my entire pregnancy.
After doing yoga regularly during my second and third trimesters, I've noticed several benefits:
- I can still touch my toes. I'm flexible, which is a great thing for runners. In this article at Runner's World, Bruce Dick, M.D., a partner of Orthopedic Associates of Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York said:
If you don't have the flexibility in your hip flexors and hamstrings to create an adequate range of motion, your body will ask that motion to come from other joints--joints not meant to produce that motion. So you get early fatigue, early breakdown, and you expose yourself to injury.
- My posture is better - especially when I'm running. Before I was pregnant, I ran looking at my feet. Now when I run I look straight ahead. This may be because of my belly, an attempt to alleviate my lower back pain, or it may be because of the focus I've put on better posture thanks to yoga.
- I haven't suffered any major injuries. I had a problem in March but it was caused by a blister on the bottom of my foot.
- I feel stronger and more confident than I ever did during my first pregnancy.
During pregnancy there are poses you should not do, so be sure to follow 'prenatal' practices.
Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy