High Risk Pregnancy

I just started teaching Pre-natal Yoga at a rehab center. I have known the director for a couple of years, even filled in to teach the regular yoga class to these ladies, so I felt like I knew what I was in for when I offered to teach Pre-natal Yoga at this facility. Let me also say that I have been teaching and training Pre-natal Yoga for several years so this is not my first rodeo.

I have been volunteering 2xs a week at an odd time during the day to teach these pregnant ladies relaxation skills, breath techniques and asana to improve or relieve pregnancy. When I found out that everybody in the program will be giving birth in the next 6 months, I felt a sense of urgency to start the practice ASAP and 2 days a week, the girls were on board  with this same sense of urgency.

One more thing… I am super cautious when I teach or train in Pre-natal Yoga. Life is short and very precious. Enough said!

I went to the facility Thursday to teach, signed in, went to the room where we have the class – alls good – until the director sticks her head in the door and says…” blah blah blah and these ladies are all high risk pregnancy” . What was I thinking? It’s rehab! Rehab from tic tacs? It never crossed my mind that these babies were in such a high risk situation, these ladies seem like most of the other ladies that I have taught Pre-natal Yoga to in the studio. It should not have shifted my teaching but it did – the shift was in what or rather how I teach to these ladies, more cautious. It saddened me to  think that this high risk could have been avoided. I can go two ways with this – 1. thank God that these ladies have taken the right step and are seeking treatment and continue to help and support  2. turn away and never look back.

Helping is what I choose for now and what they do in the future I can not control, I only have this moment to provide what little I have to offer these ladies. Yes, it still saddens me but sometimes we need to be the change.

Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma GandhiMahatma Gandi

Should I try Pre-natal Yoga?

I get asked this a lot when people find out that I teach yoga. I tell them it helps with breathing, it helps you to relax but… be careful when you decide to sign up for a class. Its important that the instructor is qualified to teach prenatal yoga. To find out her qualifications you can ask her, look her up at the Yoga Alliance website where she will be listed as a Registered Prenatal Yoga Instructor or ask for recommendations. This is a very special time in your life and you need to be cautious. With that being said, there are some teachers of prenatal yoga that have found no need to register with Yoga Alliance maybe because they have nursing degrees, doulas, midwifes or they have been teaching forever. I would still like to ask how they are continuing their education in prenatal yoga.

Yoga is very beneficial pregnant woman – like I said earlier it helps with breathing and relaxation. These benefits alone can help with the pregnancy, labor, birth and motherhood. The breathing techniques help the mother to calm the mind and body, providing the time for the body to destress and relax. The whole class is focused on preparing the mother for the birth and labor by hip openers, strength building, chest expansion and meditation.

Taking a prenatal yoga class is a great way to meet like minded people – make new friends and share your new experiences with

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Mindfulness

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness seems to be all the rage in today’s society. Anything we attach the word mindfulness to seems to well attend, given some form of importance, makes us feel like we are a part of a new movement. Actually, the concept is very deeply seeped in traditions.

Budda focused on the breath for concentration. 118th Sutra in the Majhima Nikaya

Patanjali mentions an impure mind that runs from to there and once it is purified concentration comes automatically. Book 2:41

The book The Miracle of Mindfulness was written in 1974, by a Vietnamese named Thich Nhat Hanh.

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”
1 Peter 3:8 Bible

Simply put mindfulness can be seen as acting in a spirit of compassion, focused on the task at hand, alert, willing and able to handle situations with intelligence. Not being distracted by the mundane, the ability to enjoy, experience all aspects of any given task.

An example: Close your eyes and visualize your self standing in a large soup kitchen and you have just been asked to wash all the dishes from today’s service.

Explore your first reaction to the assignment.

A simple task of washing dishes should be given our fullest attention. Taking in all the sensations of the water, soap and the cleanliness of the dishes while we preform this simple task. Stay aware of the fact that you are cleaning dishes. Focus on the breath, notice the reality of the task, ask yourself can I remain humble and content. By practicing this technique we are able to remain in touch with our thought patterns and keep our mind from endless chatter, and clutter.

Let’s apply this to the class situation:

You have come early to your studio to prepare your mind, body and the day’s practice for the class. In walks two student’s new to your studio, they proceed to share with you that they both have sever knee problems that keep them from doing and kneeling, or standing asana.

Truthfully, what is your first thought?

How do you approach your lesson plan?

We have all heard of Mindful Eating. Simply put, it is a method of eating that requires you to smell the aromas, slow down the chewing process, taste, feel and experience the food that you have consciously or unconsciously chosen to nourish the body. After practicing Mindful Eating you make less unconscious and more heath conscious choices and you are full from less.

Example: Distribute 4 food items (raisin, cube of cheese, cracker, small candy or chocolate, just keep it simple and one or two of the item) to each student. Before they eat, let them look at the item, feel the item, smell and then taste the item. Chew the item for at least 20 chews if not more.

While chewing ask yourself: what is the taste, how does it feel for each of the food items you have given out.

After all the items have been consumed, wait in silence for 5 to 8 minutes, ask your self if you feel real hunger or are you satisfied.

Mindfulness Breath

We should be aware of the power of our breath. The breath is a direct path to maintaining our mindful state. Breath is the connection to consciousness and life. Use the breath to bring your attention back to the body by focusing on the inhale and exhalation. This also assist us in staying focused and centered.

Practice Mindfulness everyday in your mediation, while eating or that one task that you have to do everyday. Starting the practice can mean a life of changes.

 

Breast Feeding Benefit Revealed

 

 

I have always heard that if you can then breast feed but nobody has ever been able to give exact benefits and Duke University has discovered that “Human milk promotes the growth of biofilms of beneficial bacteria that line the intestinal tract of healthy babies, helping digestion and the development of the immune system and acting as a barrier to bad germs.” News & Observer Section B, August 28, 2021, page 1. You can read the rest of the article at nando.com/health.

 

Stretches for the long haul

In the last post I mentioned the stretches for the car ride to the family visits – you know the ones – when retired people request that you take time off from your job, ride in a car for 5 or more hours pregnant to visit for three days, ride 5 more hours still pregnant only to have to wake up the next morning at 6 am to go to your job and make up for lost time at your job. Yes, this really does happen all the time so I teach in my Prenatal Yoga classes stretches to in the car on the road. Your husband will look at you funny while you do these stretches but remind him just who’s family is torturing you, while pregnant with his child, by insisting on the visit. Just explain to him that you need to stretch to keep from getting tension, tightness or cramps from sitting for long periods.

  1. While sitting in a chair, bend the arm at the elbow, extend the bent arm straight out to the side from the shoulder, now place the bent elbow on to the car window, take a long inhale and long exhale. Try to move the bent elbow further towards the seat belt area near the door frame of the car (behind). You are opening the right side of the shoulder and chest area so remember to take long inhales and exhales to relax those muscles. Keep moving the elbow back, pausing to take a breath with each move but keep it safe.
  2. The left arm can be stretched the same or you can extend it behind the drivers seat and relax. Be sure to do both sides of the body creating a balance.

I hope that this helps with those long rides. I use this technique all the time at my desk and it helps keep the chest area open. You can also reach behind with both hands and grab the chair back with both hands, bend or straighten the elbows and lift the chest to create a stretch in the front body. Ahhhh, it feels good. Just do not recommend that you use the reach behind method in the car. Happy Trails untill next time!

Pre-Natal Yoga Session Begins in September

As you all might know I teach and train prenatal yoga. I am very excited about our new prenatal yoga class session that starts in September at the The Yoga Connection in Smithfield NC. It’s so great to share the tremendous benefits of yoga with these soon to be moms. Theses ladies learn techniques to relax, stretch and rejuvenate that can be used anywhere.

  • stretches can be used in the car on those long hauls to visit family  
  • address the chest and keep the muscle in this area open 
  • maintain or increase the flexibility in the hips
  • become aware of what sensory brings you relaxation
  • how to use props for relaxation and stress reduction
  • breathing techniques to improve energy

Stay ‘posted’ to learn about a valuable coupon for this up coming class. Until then keep doing what you love and happiness will follow 

Batteries and children

Heads Up Moms and Grand moms! Me being in the  grand mom category, have never thought about the possibility of children swallowing the button batteries and the HUGE dangers that they pose. I read that in the US every 90 minutes a child is taken to the emergency room for a battery incident.

Please share with other moms the potential danger of the key-less remote batteries for your car, tv remotes, cards that play music when opened have small batteries, small flashlites

If you read this and have a battery idea  that I did not mention please post it and share. This is really sad, children loose the ability to talk, or worse death and this is so simple to avoid.

Working together to help each other.

Why Prenatal Yoga

Why is yoga good for pregnancy? Stress relief, improved sleep, mental clarity, prep for delivery through asasa are just some of the benefits of yoga.  Gentle physical exercises work on key muscles and joints to assist with general fitness and can also assist with labor, smooth pregnancy and a natural childbirth.  But more importantly, yoga does wonders on the physical and mental development of your growing baby. The following is a guide to some of the practices used during our classes, and how they can be of benefit to you.

Yoga Exercises (asana) these gently work on the pelvis to bring flexibility and a full healthy range of motion to the joints and muscles. At the subtle level, these ensure optimum supply of blood and nutrients to the developing fetus.  Assist to open the hips,Image strengthen the legs, and the upper body and also to become more aware of your body with breath and movement.

Breathing or Pranayama (breath control) – These powerful techniques ensure the abundant supply of oxygen and a better life force for you and your child. Learn simple pranayama techniques that you can use to revitalize and re-energize but with only a well qualified instructor.

Meditation As a therapeutic tool, meditation will help you resolve fears and conflicts, which are so common during pregnancy.  Meditation brings with it an incredible awareness which helps you connect with your child in a way that is impossible to explain. Breath and mediation techniques will also be given to manage the different levels of discomfort through out the delivery.

Yoga Nidra Yoga Nidra is a powerful technique to induce physical, mental and emotional relaxation.  Referred to as psychic sleep because it is as if you’re asleep but you remain aware on a conscious level.  Mostly Yoga Nidra is the systematic rotation of consciousness throughout different parts of the body.  It may also involve awareness of breath, feelings and also visualizations and is always guided by your Yoga Instructor.

Yogic Food

Sweet Potato/Edamame Hash

8 oz diced smoked ham or omit

1 sweet onion chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 clove garlic minced

12 oz pkg of edamame uncooked, shelled and frozen

12 oz frozen corn

1/4 cup chicken broth or omit and add veggie broth

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1/2 tsp kosher salt and pepper

Saute ham, onion in hot oil. Stir in sweet potato and saute for 5 min., Add garlic, stir in edemame, and the next 3 ingredients, reduce heat to med. and cover. Cook and stir occasionally 10 to 12 min. or until potatoes are done.

Close to 192 cal., 5.8 g fat, protein 13.9 g., 22 g. carbs

I had forgotten how good this is…gotta go make some for lunch tomorrow

Why we do not want a pregnant mother on her back…

I get asked this question so often in my Prenatal Teacher Training workshops.The reason is, the weight of the baby in the placenta can cause pressure on the vein, vena cava, and possibly restrict the flow to the baby.Remember in a yoga class we are using a thin  mat on a hard floor, but at home they might be fine on a bed since a mattress will absorb some of the weight.  This is a hot topic for debate among some, so to be on the safe side I just say lets stay off our backs.

There are so many exercises that you can do in prenatal yoga that do not involve getting on the back and yet have great results. A pregnant mother can benefit from such asana as warrior, tree, squats, lunges, seated floor work, hip rotations and even savasana. Modified savasana is one of my student’s favorite asana to practice. Most pregnant woman are stressed for various reasons and to be able to enjoy a guided meditation or just a body scan savasana, is worth gold to them. But, back to the active practice, as long as the pregnant moms are not inverted, unsupported or going beyond their normal range of motion they can find very valuable benefits from a Prenatal Yoga session.

Relaxin (and no that’s not slang for chillin’) is the hormone that penetrates the joints and ligaments so that there is a greater amount of flexibility during the birth. The hormone is produced about 6 weeks into the pregnancy and last after the birth for a few weeks. A new mom might get a little too zesty with her new found flexibility and cause stress or worse to her joints. I believe in keeping my students informed while teaching through gentle cues, “let’s remember to honor our bodies by staying in safe range of movement”. Just have fun and enjoy the ride!

So stay blessed, and stay moving!

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