7.25.2014

yoga motifications for pregnancy

One of the first concerns I had when getting pregnant was being as careful as I could to safeguard a pregnancy. I wanted to be sure nothing I did would compromise that little life growing inside me. But I also didn't want to give up the yoga studios I love to find a prenatal class (which neither of my two studios currently offer). I worried that prenatal would feel way too slow to me, since I was used to faster, intermediate flow classes. I also love inverting, and didn't want to give that up.

I did a lot of searching because I wanted to find the best modifications for an experienced yogi to be able to continue her practice while expecting. I wanted to be active and keep up my level of fitness throughout my pregnancy. Most of the information I was finding seemed geared towards brand new or beginner practitioners, but I managed to find two great articles that I trusted, and who's information rang true for me. Plus I made sure to talk with a few of my yoga teachers. I thought I would share the advice here, in case others find themselves in the same position.

Here are the main points:

1st Tri: Not too many adjustments needed at this point. Avoid taking your twists and back bends too deep, and avoid jump backs or jump switches (unless you have already mastered "floating" down) which could be too jarring. It is also recommended that you avoid inversions from 9 - 13 weeks, when the placenta is attaching, as inverting could promote placenta previa.

2nd Tri: As your uterus gets bigger, you will have to modify floor work. At first you might be able to lay down blankets for extra padding, or use bolsters to keep the weight off your uterus. Certain poses, like dhanurasana (bow), can be done on your side; others, like locust are better avoided (maybe switching to balancing tabletop instead). You'll also need to adjust your stance a little wider for certain poses like forward folds to accommodate your growing belly, and the changes in balance. Inversions may need to be moved to a wall. Towards the end savasana will probably need to be done on the side, adding bolsters under top knee as needed.

3rd Tri: The same as 2nd tri, but a step further as your balance changes even more. Stop inverting in the last few weeks, since the baby moving down at that point is encouraged. And really be careful not to push too far, as ligaments really start loosening up and injury becomes more likely.

Most important... listen to your body! Trust your gut. If something doesn't seem accessible or safe, trust that instinct and let go of that pose for the time being. As your body changes, things that were easy will get hard, things that felt good no longer will. Listen to your body, accept your limitations, don't let your ego end up causing you pain. 



Sources:
Yoga Modifications for Pregnant Mamas with a Strong Vinyasa Flow Practice
Pregnancy Modifications for Experienced Students
And my yoga teachers!  :-)

7.23.2014

the memory of her smell


Scent memory is such a powerful thing. Its actually one of the strongest senses tied to memories, more then sound or sight or touch. I've talked about scent memories before, specifically how the smell of clove cigarettes takes me right back to college.

Today I smelled my Gram.

Did I ever tell you how soft my Gram's skin was? Probably not, but it was the softest skin I've ever felt. I guess I always associated her smell with her soft skin. Maybe the smell was her lotion, I think there were hints of baby powder in there, and something else, something just her. But I smelled that smell this morning, just for a moment or two, as I was walking into work.

And in that moment I could practically feel the softness of her cheeks as she kissed and hugged me.

She was the last of my grandparents. The one I got to spend the most time with as an adult. The only one who got to know Gwen. When my mom's parents were alive I was closer to them then to my Dad's, but I was a child then, and they were both gone before I graduated high school. I got to know my Gram in a way that I didn't get to know them. I got to see her with Gwen.

It's been just over two years since we said goodbye, and I miss her so so much.

7.21.2014

camping at Keen Lake

Thursday morning we woke up to a beautiful day. We weren't in a rush, which was nice, so we did some laundry, packed our bags, ate some lunch, then packed the car and headed out. It took us about 2.5 hours (plus a bathroom stop) to get to the campsite, so we arrived around 4. We chose this place because a friend gave it good reviews, and it looked really pet friendly. As with anywhere new, our fingers were crossed.

Check-in was a good start. Everyone was so friendly, and the gave us a map showing exactly where our site was and all the other fun campground amenities. We headed up to our site, the last in a row of no hook-up sites set a little apart (by request!), and started getting set up.

It was great. From our site you could barely see anyone else, and the sites around us stayed empty until Saturday! Even when someone did come to one of the sites Saturday, we were spaced enough that it didn't matter. Our site was large and allowed us a lot of freedom. We were able to let Daisy off leash (she is very good about learning her boundaries and staying within them, and not once did she stray away from us) and it was very relaxing for all of us.

The new tent (my big birthday present to Trav) was so much easier to set up then our old one, and very nicely made. After we got the site set up, and our sleeping bags arranged, we looked around for sticks for a bit, then headed down so Gwen could play on the playground by the lake. The lakefront, office/store, playground, and swimming pool were all together and about a 3 minute walk from our site. Very convenient, but far enough away. While Gwen played, Trav went and bought some firewood, then headed back to the site with Daisy.

We made a big fire, then cooked dinner and s'mores. Gwen loved the chocolate and the graham crackers, but didn't love the melty marshmallow.



Man make fire, hammer log!
That first night Gwen was a little riled up from the long ride in the car, the excitement of camping and getting to sleep outside, and the sugar of the s'mores(!), so we decided to let her stay up a little late to blow off some steam. Ugh, disaster! We all headed into the tent around 9, and she proceeded to pop up and down like a deranged jack in the box not matter what we said until we finally said we just weren't going to be able to come camping with her anymore unless she just. lay. down. already! Once we actually got her to lay down and stay still she was out within minutes, but jeez louise, that girl was nuts!


Friday dawned gorgeously, another cool sunny day. We headed to a local town that was having a large sidewalk sale event (all of main street's stores spilled out onto the sidewalks and offered deal, snacks, drinks, etc) to walk along the street and give the day a chance to warm up. Then it was back for some lunch and then some swimming!

Gwen looked amazing, of course. I rocked some camping chic, as my sandals had picked the first day of camping to finally bite it. Nothing like clomping to the pool in your hiking boots!

Trav took Daisy swimming in the dog section of the lake, while we hit up the slightly warmer pool.



Afterwards we headed back to the campsite. We read Gwen her new comic book (a sidewalk sale purchase), ate an afternoon snack, and relaxed for a bit before heading for a walk around the campgrounds. We found two more playgrounds and tried them both!


Bedtime that night went MUCH smoother as we stuck closer to her normal routine, skipped the s'mores before bed, and she had expelled a lot more energy during the day!

Saturday we headed out in the morning to check out Prompton State Park, which was just down the road. I hadn't looked into it before we arrived, and it was a lot harder to figure out their trails, but we found a shorter one to play around on. 




We hiked there for a bit, then on our way out stopped to enjoy the lake view.


There also happened to be a barefoot waterskiing competition going on! Gwen was enthralled.


We hit up a local BBQ pit for lunch, then back to the campsite for more swimming (Gwen and Trav), and relaxing (Daisy and I). Gwen and I went to the little arcade by the store, then came back and played cards for a while before bed.

Sunday it was time to clean up and head home. We'd packed up a lot of stuff the night before, so we dressed, brushed teeth, cleaned up the clothes and sleeping bags, then put down the tent. We got the car all packed and did a last walk through to make sure we had gotten everything (take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints!), and were at the office/store by 8:50 to check out and grab some breakfast to go. The ride home was easy, and we were home for lunch, with the whole afternoon to grab showers and do our 5 loads of laundry!!

Overall, it was a great mini-vacation. We enjoyed getting away, and reconnecting with nature. Gwen even exclaimed at one point that she wanted to live there. While the hiking wasn't as scenic as Rickett's Glen, we definitely enjoyed the extra amenities and the fact that there was more room between us and our camping neighbors. I think we'll definitely go there again.