Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 26 - Tone Your Booty and Thighs

Week 26
Tone Your Booty and Thighs

There comes a point in pregnancy when you just feel like a blob.  I don't care how glowingly beautiful and motherly you say you feel, deep down there are those moments when you miss the pre-preggers body that was once yours.  I was pregnant during the summer and to top it all off we planned a trip back to Hawaii to visit our friends.  To help myself feel a little bit in control of my ever expanding body I kept active and focused on my butt and thighs, because let's be honest, the baby weight likes to gather riiiiiiight around the booty.  Luckily I knew I wasn't alone feeling like this, my girlfriends, women I personal trained, just about every mom I knew disliked the ever expanding hip/butt region (the day I had to buy bigger underwear was traumatic).


A year prior to our trip to Hawaii I was in the INBA/PNBA fitness competition (literally one year exactly, the competition was going on while I was on island).  Below is my June 2012 and June 2013 photos… I am working hard to have a June 2014 photo (and possibly another competition by that time too!)  Pregnancy definitely softens your body, but keeping active throughout pregnancy not only helps your delivery but your recovery as well, so stick with it!  It helped me to embrace being a softer version of my fit self, and to keep in mind that my focus was on being healthy and taking care of my growing baby.


For today's practice you will need:
  • Strap
  • Blanket
  • Bolster
  • Timer
I hope you can embrace your momma body and keep toned and active throughout pregnancy!  Until next week fit yoga mommas!

Amberlie




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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Week 25 - Carpal Tunnel

Week 25
Sore Wrists (Carpal Tunnel)

Oh how my wrists would ache during pregnancy!  Due to all the relaxin in your system to help open those hips for baby's arrival all the joints in your body are looser than normal.  I was practicing yoga at least once a day while pregnant… this eventually took it's toll on my wrists because of overuse.  Modifying my practice and sometimes even giving my body a few days off to "reset" itself helped as well.  Toward the end of my pregnancy there was a three day stretch where my wrist felt as if it was out of place, then one morning I woke up and it was fine again, it had just slipped right back where it belonged while I was sleeping.  



If you are having these issues don't worry because it is perfectly normal.  If you are concerned please seek the help of a medical professional.  In my experience just giving my body time off and then modifying my practice paying close attention to the pressure I was putting on my wrists did the trick.  I am now 17 weeks postpartum and I have had no issues, thank goodness.

For this practice we will stretch our wrists at the beginning and then do some flow paying attention to our wrists.  Even if you are not pregnant this is a great practice.

Tools you will need:
Block
Timer

Enjoy and take care of those joints yoga mommas!

Amberlie




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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week 24 - Plantar Fasciitis


Week 24

Also know as - my feet are KILLING ME!


So, you have been gaining weight at a rapid pace, probably (hopefully) much faster than you have ever put on weight in your life.  Your muscles are doing their best to keep up with your weight gain, but honestly, your body is starting to hurt just from carrying around the extra weight.

My feet ached daily once I hit this point in pregnancy.  I had dealt with plantar fasciitis in the past (what aerobics instructor hasn't?) and I knew what it was right away.  Unfortunately, my job requires that I am on my feet all the time, mainly barefoot, so I was getting little to know relief.  I would come home at night, collapse on the couch, and beg my poor hubby to rub my feet.  I consider myself extremely lucky that he was so amazing, a nightly foot rub became part of our nightly routine (he's a swell guy)!  Being proactive, however, I incorporated these exercises into my yoga routine to help stretch out the bottoms of my feet and get a little relief.  Every little bit that you can do to reduce this pain is worth it, so stretch out those tight tootsies.  Stretching your hips and hamstrings will help your feet feel better because everything is connected.  Whenever you get a free moment remember to loosen up those legs!

Yoga in and of itself will also help to strengthen your feet which will cut down on the aching.  Standing balance poses teach you how to engage all parts of your foot (and ankle, leg, etc) to work together to support your weight.  Through continued practice you will become more mindful of the way your weight is distributed and how your body naturally responds.  Although I do not include any standing balance poses in this video I highly encourage you to think about how you are utilizing your feet the next time you practice them.

Props needed for this series:
  • Bolster
  • Strap
  • Block
  • Timer
Enjoy!  I hope your feet find a little relief :)

Amberlie 




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Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 23 - Labor Positions


Week 23
Labor Positions

"What labor technique are you using?  You need to sign up for labor classes as soon as possible," said my midwife at my last appointment.  I was shocked - I am just now starting to actually feel pregnant and the baby todo lists have begun.  Due to wait lists and length of classes apparently these labor classes are HARD to get into.  Add on top of this stress the possibility that we may be relocating to Boston for my husband's MBA program toward the end of my pregnancy, and I am really feeling the pressure!  Sheesh!  We live in LA and I would have thought being a major city we would have TONS of options for classes.  We lucked out and got the very last slot in a class, thank goodness.  It's six weeks long and on Saturday nights (my husband is a trooper….), but we got in!


This stress just got me thinking - is it this hard to get into a class elsewhere?  Originally this post was written at 23 weeks and meant to be about reducing the stress surrounding getting into these labor classes, but as I approach my due date (I am currently 38 weeks! Eeeek!) I thought about some of the positions we learned for labor in the class and how they could be translated into yoga postures.  I am by no means an expert on this matter, in fact I am expecting my first child, but I am an expert when it comes to moving this changing body from one position to another (and a yoga expert to boot).  At 23 weeks these positions were a breeze for me, now they are more challenging.  I am offering them to you now so that you can begin to get familiar with them and commit them into your movement routine.  Basically, build up your labor tool box so that the day of you have some positions to depend on.

The best piece of advice I received in my labor preparation class was to listen to your body and do what feels right to you at that time.  Your body does, in fact, know what it is doing during labor - we just have to listen and be in tune with our bodies.  This is where yoga comes in and I am so happy to be able to offer these videos.  Each time you come to your mat you are tuning in to your body and what you need.  This is HUGE when it comes to labor.

On a side note - no matter what your plan for labor is - natural, epidural, c-section, VBAC - these positions will help ease the intensity of your contractions.  If you are planning to receive, or do receive an epidural during your labor at that point these positions for relief will no longer be available to you as the doctors will need to continually monitor you and, well, the lower half of your body has lost sensation.  Having said that, please still practice as much as you can before labor as you will likely experience some non-medicated contractions and the relief will be welcome :)

Tools for today's practice:
  • Exercise Ball
  • Bolster
  • Wall
  • Block
  • Blanket/pillow
  • Timer

I hope these positions help raise your confidence to face the early stages of labor (or your complete natural labor).  Until next week yoga mommas!

Amberlie

***Side note*** this is my last video shot while I was pregnant!  I started having contractions the same night I shot this video (ps you may notice me catch my breath in the middle of this clip, aka contraction fun...) the rest of the videos for this series are still coming out, they are just sans belly.  All are practices that I used during my pregnancy.  Stay tuned for a postpartum series as well that will help you get back in shape, including strength workouts, meal plans, and my thoughts on adjusting to fitting in fitness with a baby.


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Week 22 - The Pregnancy Glow


Week 22
The Pregnancy Glow

Honestly, I do not understand where people are coming from when they comment on a pregnancy glow.  I feel like the very last thing I am is glowing… maybe sweating, maybe overheated, but glowing?  Not in the least.  Add into that a nice case of acne that I can do nothing about because I am pregnant and it makes the "glow" even less believable.  Don't get me wrong - I think pregnancy is beautiful and wonderful - but I am also realistic in the sense that sometimes you just feel blah.  There is nothing wrong with this feeling, but cut the sugar coating and stop calling it a glow!


The only thing that yoga can really do to assist with this is a little bit of detox and just the sheer act of breathing and being in your body and not preoccupied with how you "should" feel or look.  Getting rid of the expectations in pregnancy is huge.  Feeling that you are exactly where you should be at this exact moment in time, glowing or not, goes a long way with accepting all the changes happening in your body.  At least this has worked well for me :)

Tools for today's practice:
  • Bolster
  • Wall
  • Timer

So forget the glow and just embrace how you feel, crummy or not, and know that everything is just fine.  See you all next week yoga mommas!

Amberlie



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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Week 21 - Kick, Punch, Jab


Week 21
Kick, Punch, Jab

Pregnancy is feeling more and more real every day.  Now it is not just butterflies in my tummy that I think may be baby, but it is finally to the point where I can feel real kicks that are most definitely baby.  One of the greatest developments about this time period has been the excitement that the hubby and I share over feeling baby kick.  It's not unusual for us to lay in bed with both sets of hands on my tummy waiting to feel a little movement from our baby girl.  I absolutely love having this new layer to our marriage and it is a pretty special time to bond with baby too.



For this week's practice the focus is going to be a seated relaxation/meditation.  During those times when you just want baby to move and can't wait to feel another kick use this time to do more than just sit there and become impatient.  Instead this mini meditation and relaxation will help prepare you for the craziness that is labor.  Granted practicing before hand is nothing like it will be day of, but without practicing breathing and relaxation they will not come automatically during the chaos that is labor.  Anytime you would like to have a little connection with baby feel free to common back to this week's video and enjoy!

Tools for this week:
  • Bolster
Enjoy those kicks, punches, and jabs yoga mommas!  Baby is getting stronger day-by-day just like those movements in your belly :)

Amberlie





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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 20 - Halfway to Baby


Week 20
Halfway to Baby

Congrats mommas!  You are half way to holding your little one in your arms :)  This has been a great week for me, second trimester has been treating me well and I hope it is treating you well too.  Today's practice is going to jump into half moon pose (half… get it?) a more advanced yoga asana.  To make this awesomely cool and challenging pose accessible to beginners and mommas that may be further along in their pregnancy (and therefore a little more off balance), we will use a wall for support.  Half moon pose is a wonderful, joyous pose where your heart is open, your arms extended and you feel accomplished because let's face it, it's a hard pose (but totally doable, I promise).


Celebrate yoga mommas!  You have made it half way and the end is in sight where you get to hold your precious little one.  Find joy in this practice and by connecting with your breath and movement look for the moments of mindfulness and being fully present.  So often throughout pregnancy I find myself focused on the negative side effects (duh, there are just so many that kick you in the booty and make you feel like a stranger in your body, kind of hard to ignore), take the moments that deserve a smile and hold onto that feeling as long as you can.

For today's practice please have the following tools close by:
  • Block
  • Wall
  • Timer

Until next week mommas!

Amberlie



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