why to do pre and post natal yoga ????????

I am a BIG fan and huge supporter of doing yoga while pregnant as well as before and afterwards . Yoga is wonderful if you are trying to conceive , it opens your body up , frees toxins , increases blood flow to stagnant areas of your body and calms the nervous system . While pregnant its been proven the calmer you are the calmer your baby is , yoga helps create a peaceful  state  of being as well as a tranquil environment for your growing  baby to thrive in . Afterwards it can help restore your body , energy and help relieve the stress of new mommy hood .

I  only as of right now teach privately yin and restorative  healing yoga  to my clients , but there is something about going to a class and being part of a community of like minded people  that are all going through the same thing . Also  some might like more of a work out , I always recommend my dear friend Desi Bartlett’s class over at Exhale’s Center for Sacred Movement in Venice . Desi blends pre and postnatal yoga , spirituality  and fitness all together and teaches a FABUlOUS class !!!  I asked her a few questions about yoga …

How can yoga help with fertility ?

Yoga helps the mama to be to take time to reconnect with her body, and its natural rhythms. A female Yoga practitioner is called a Yogini, and many Yoginis that I know, are able to tell you the moment that they ovulate because the subtle awareness has been cultivated and refined. A woman who is in touch with her body’s voice, can also stay receptive to what her body needs to be most fertile.

why should a woman do yoga during her pregnancy ?

Labor and delivery can last several hours and requires strength, commitment and love. In my classes we do a lot of squats to increase lower body strength, as well as Kegel exercises for the vaginal muscles and pelvic floor. My goal is to assist women in their empowerment, so that they can go into labor and delivery trusting their physical strength and endurance, and of course stay connected to the beautiful baby that is arriving. We start the process the moment a pregnant goddess walks into the room. I encourage my students to talk to their beautiful babies, to remember that they are already mothers, and to cultivate their strength, so that they can call on it whenever they need; in pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the continuing journey of motherhood.

What 3 yoga poses are your favorite to help prepare for birth ?

Malasana (Yogi Squat)- I love this pose for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. The pregnant mama can close her eyes, connect to her vaginal muscles, and do her Kegels in this pose. There are women all over the world who deliver their babies squatting, and gravity assists in productive pushing. I like to remind women that there is more than one way to deliver a baby, and to research this.
Cat and Cow– The pregnant mama is on all fours and inhales as she lifts her heart and gaze to the sky. On the exhale, she rounds her spine and relaxes the head and neck. This helps to release tension in the low back, and connect to the breath. This is a very meditative exercise that can also be used to connect to the baby. Imagine the baby’s back to your belly, his or her head pointed down, and allow the belly to be a safe haven for growth and love.

Anahatasana
– This is similar to child’s pose, but the hips stay elevated, and the pregnant mama can either come onto her forehead or her chin and chest. This pose is named for the energetic heart center and helps to connect to the feeling of a wide open heart. It also connects us to the feeling of being supported by mother earth.

How can yoga help with postpartum  ?

Yoga is an amazing tool for helping to regulate all systems of the body. After a woman has given birth, the process of the body changing can be challenging. On the one hand, you think,’ I want my body back.’ On the other hand, there is a new body to love and find strength in. This new body is changing everyday. The uterus is returning to its normal size, the amount of blood volume is returning to normal, there is milk being created, there is a lot happening that can be a whole lot to handle. On top of that, the hormonal shifts can be huge, and finding a sense of steadiness or calm can be challenging. When you add postpartum depression into the mix, now the beautiful new mama has feelings that can feel bigger than her ability to handle. Yoga can help us to find that deep stillness that is ever present. In the eye of this storm of change, her root is still there. Her connection to mother earth and to all that is, is still there. Slowing down, listening to the steadiness of the breath and then working up a sweat (to help detoxify the body), can be extremely healing and centering.

What are your top 3 yoga poses to get your body back after having a baby?

Navasana (Boat pose)–  This looks sort of like an inverted pike position. The new mama can generate fire in her belly, connect to her core strength and reclaim it. These muscles have been on hiatus, so they will get fiery very quickly. Start with 3-5 breaths, and be patient and kind to yourself as you work your way into longer holds.
Shalabasana (locust pose)– This looks just like superman:) Lay on your belly, extend your arms in front, and simultaneously lift your upper and lower body. This exercise will strengthen your low back extensors, and it feels so good to lay on your belly again!
Chaturanga– This is the down phase of a push up with your elbows pointed back towards your feet. This helps to cultivate core strength, as well as upper body strength. I love this pose for anyone looking to increase strength in their core and triceps.

Also, walking is a fantastic complement for Yoga. Burning 50 calories twice a day will help you to get back into shape very quickly.

contact info – desibartlett@gmail.com Image
Desi teaches her pre and post natal yoga classes on … Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:45am at Exhale’s Center for Sacred Movement
 Desi Bartlett M.S., CPT, has been teaching health and wellness for over 18 years. Her innovative approach to teaching is to tap into one’s inner joy and let movement be an outer expression of that state. Originally from Chicago, she has earned a degree in Kinesiology, a minor in dance and her Master’s degree in Corporate Fitness. Desi holds advanced certifications in Yoga, Personal Training, Pre & Post Natal Fitness and Group Fitness. She is also a continuing education provider through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Council for Personal Trainers. In 2010 Desi was named the national spokesperson for Fruit 2 o, a division of Sunny Delight and appeared during a segment of the Today show to promote their ‘Small Changes’ campaign.Desi’s inspiring and unique classes have been featured on networks such as ABC, FOX, Univision and Lifetime. In 2005, Desi was named ambassador for Lululemon Athletica. In that same year, she helped open Equinox Fitness in Santa Monica as their Group Fitness Manager. In early 2006 she was a presenter for NikeFitnessAcademy at the University of Southern California and also worked as the product director of fitness for Gaiam, teaching ‘Yoga Dance Fusion,’ at Gaiam’s 10th annual LOHAS conference. As an extension of her relationship with Lululemon Athletica, Desi designed the first round Yoga mat on the market, the 360 mat. She created a special class format based on the design of the mat, which is called 360 Yoga-Flow. Desi also filmed her 2009 Prenatal Yoga DVD on the 360 mat, inviting in a feeling of freedom to the movement for expecting moms. Desi is passionate about helping moms throughout the journey into motherhood and has been a contributing writer on the subject for both LA Yoga Magazine, and Alicia Silverstone’s *Kind Life* website.Desi has multiple DVD’s available at mass retailers including;’ 3 in1 Total Body Fitness,’ a triathlon style, full body workout, that combines 30 minutes of strength training to sculpt and tone; 30 minutes of cardio to train your heart, boost your energy and endurance; and 30 minutes of flexibility training and stretching to lengthen muscles and open stiff joints. ‘Yoga for Beginners,’ includes two unique practices, one an active, easy flow for complete body toning, the other slower and deeper for building long, lean muscles.There is much more to come from Desi, so sit back, relax and stay centered.
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