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2005-09-21 - 3:34 p.m.

Two entries in two days? Itís like Iíve got some time to breathe this week or something!

Last night I went to try out a prenatal yoga class. All the websites and magazines now tout exercise as beneficial during pregnancy and Iíve often seen prenatal yoga recommended as one of the best types of exercise to get. Sadly, I was vaguely disappointed with it.

To start with, let me clarify that Iíve been doing yoga for about 5 years, on average about once a week. The class at my gym has a fabulous instructor Ė friendly, funny, makes little jokes, very nice Ė and itís a blend of styles but draws a lot of moves from Ashtanga or power yoga. Lately though Iíve been finding that there are some moves that are becoming uncomfortable for me; theyíre mostly ones that compress my abdomen but Iím also finding that I need to watch my back because it can get out of whack more easily than usual. Also I canít, for example, step back into forward bend from downward dog as easily because the belly gets in the way of moves like this. Enter my decision to try a couple of yoga classes geared specifically towards the gravid.

My expectations were along the lines of finding out what I can do, what I should avoid, and how to bring these things into my regular class so I could adapt it more to my specific needs. Unconsciously I guess I was also expecting something else Ė maybe something that would satisfy a bit more of my social wants.

See, when I first got there and other women with bellies started to arrive, I was kind of excited; Iíd never been to any group activity where there was a bunch of pregnant women in one place. I found myself looking around eagerly, smiling at everyone, trying to make idle chit-chat with a couple of the other early arrivals who were near me, etc. Then the instructor started having everyone lie back on these big round bolsters as the class filled up and that was the end of that. Not a peep was heard out of anyone until class was over and even then people picked up their stuff and, for the most part, silently departed.

I totally understand, on an intellectual level, why this was. The instructorís job is, right from the start of the class, to calm everyone, help them release tension, and get participants into the ďzoneĒ where theyíre learning to breathe and connect with their babies. And, for the most part, thatís why the women are there. When the class is over, everyoneís still focusing inward and is pretty mellow, so why would they want to start bustling and chatting and throwing off their groove?

Why indeed?

Maybe if it was the first of a discrete block of classes people would all be in ďfirst dayĒ mode and a bit more socially inclined. Instead, I think I was the only newcomer to a class in a schedule that operates on a ďdrop inĒ basis and thus has a constantly rotating group of participants.

I did, however, get some ideas of what to incorporate into my regular class, which I think Iíll scurry back to next week. Thereís one other yoga studio that offers prenatal classes but I think that if I try it out itíll be a lot closer to the end of my term and Iíll have more use for all the breathing techniques that seem to dominate these sort classes.

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