Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Getting harder.

image compliments of missouriplants.com
Bikram practice is definitely getting more challenging!  My third trimester officially started yesterday which means I'm in the twelve-week countdown period until my due date!  This coincides with a greatly enlarged belly, decreased lung capacity, and all the requisite lack in stamina that goes along with those conditions.

I have found myself sort of huffing and puffing my way through the floor series which has always been the easier part of class for me.  Just moving up and down from pose to savasana is awkward and tiring by the end of class so I've made some adjustments.  There are times that I stay sitting up from rabbit through the end of class since situps are out at this point as well.

Yesterday was my marathon take then teach two classes back to back as I do most Mondays.  I did not work my hardest in the standing series because I knew I needed the energy left to teach.  Normally, when I practice, I emerge energized and ready to blast the students with my energy - but during pregnancy especially the back half of pregnancy it doesn't really work that way.  There's not a bunch of extra energy floating around to tap into.

Not maxing out meant honoring my heartburn and not going too deep into forward bends (hands on the floor in front of me for padahastasana and sep legs stretching) and for the first time, and this is sad to me, but I put my elbow on my knee for the first set of triangle.  I did do the second set.  Still, even with all of these modifications, I was sweating and working hard in class.  In our studio, we substitute full wheel (backbend) for bow pose as an I'm-feeling-awesome-and-strong modification.  We also can do the standard hip raise instead.

I tried to push up into wheel and it didn't feel very good in my mid-back.  So... I'm going to try to be flexible (ha ha) and allow myself the chance to do/not do what feels right at that point for the rest of my pregnancy.  There was a time where I felt like the pregnancy modifications were taking away from my class but now as I approach the end I couldn't practice without them.

With the entrance to my third trimester I'm looking forward gratefully to the days when my babe is on the outside of my body and I can return to practicing real Bikram!!!!  Even if it's in a hot closet in my house early in the mornings when I've had no sleep, I'm craving those forward bends and compression poses like no one's business.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In the mix... Third Trimester is here!

image compliments of flowerwower.com

I'm plugging away at this pregnancy, it seems... on Valentine's Day my third trimester will start.  Yoga is my savior now and I greatly appreciate and need all the pregnancy modifications to the Bikram series.  I've had some days where I've needed a nap more than a yoga class - days where the heat seems like the wrong place for me to be, and I trust those instincts.  However, my body really needs and wants the practice, having missed classes due to snow and exhaustion for the better part of a week.

Today I get to practice!  Woohoo!  And I don't even have to teach to go along with it.  It's truly a gift when I get to be "just a student" in the studio.

The aspects of practice that I feel are benefiting me the most are as follows:

The Heat:
Being in a nice warm humid room for ninety minutes is wonderful in these cold New England winter days.  The heat stimulates detoxification of the skin.  I'm not leaning on the heat to gain flexibility these days, I am instead working strength in the poses and breathing.  But the heat feels so good.  As a pregnant person, hot tubs are contraindicated.  But since my bikram practice is consistent, my body has the ability to regulate core temperature while doing the series.  So it's like being in the sauna or hot tub, which I'm not supposed to do.

Pranayama Breathing:
As the baby takes up more and more room, my lungs are taking a hit.  I'm out of breath from little things like walking into work from my car and even from putting on shoes and socks.  In bed, sleeping can be uncomfortable because of reduced lung capacity and increased weight.  So for the seven minutes at the beginning of class where I take deep, deep breaths and use the body shapes to create more lung capacity, I'm in heaven.  Well let's be honest... sometimes it's hard but by the second set I'm feeling the increase.

Standing Series Workout:
The standing series is such a wonderful cardiovascular, strength and flexibility workout all rolled into one.  My heart pounds more now than ever in the past.  By the time I hit the floor I'm always so grateful for the chance to have participated.

Floor Series Stretch:
The floor series during pregnancy is not nearly as challenging as it is non-pregnant.  However I do enjoy practicing in a more mindful and meditative way.  It's quite appropriate for pregnancy.

Some specific notes about the series: because of the constant change of my body shape now, the second part of awkward is really hard for me to hold my balance!  I'm always tipping one way or another.  I finally held the pregnant (ashtanga) version of head to knee for more than five seconds on a side last week.  It's quite a hard pose.  I always enjoy my downward dogs even as I miss all the head to knee poses.  Can't wait to do cobra and rabbit again.

I taught a back to back last week (teaching the 4 and 6 pm classes) and I will not be doing that again while pregnant!  Teaching is quite challenging as the lung capacity decreases.  I've mellowed quite a bit and am not in rapid fire mode.  It's just gotta be that way.  I'm currently trying to lighten my already light teaching load to allow for full focus on practice these last few months.

That's all for now... much love!