I’ve always enjoyed yoga, but haven’t made an effort in the past to truly work on my practice. During P90X (which we did 4 years ago – time flies!), I always completed the 1.5 hour yoga workout each week but due to the fact that it’s the same video each week, I wasn’t really learning any new postures or getting any in person form feedback. However, that was the most consistent I’ve been with my practice in the last 4 years. I’ve been incorporating yoga in various ways over the years, but never very consistently until pregnancy.
Yoga has so many benefits to a pregnant woman including relief from stress and aches and pains, assisting in peaceful sleep, and increasing circulation. Yoga can help prepare the body for the stress of labor by strengthening and loosening muscles and the focused breathing learned in yoga can help during labor if used as a relaxation and pain management tool.
During the last 7 months, I’ve been to various yoga studios thanks to Wildfire Life and I’ve also done yoga in the comfort of my home thanks to P90X yoga videos and the wonderful website DoYogaWithMe.com (they offer 3 prenatal yoga videos, all free!). I also have experienced outdoor yoga via the Wanderlust event and a group run/yoga session with Movin Shoes (both of which I went to with Asia who has become a serious yogi this year).
If you’re in San Diego, I wanted to share with you the yoga studios/classes I have found to be the most pregnancy friendly. I was surprised when I added them all up that I’ve attended 7 different yoga studios during pregnancy! I wouldn’t have thought that pregnancy would be a time when I’d try so many new studios, but Wildfire Life has truly made this possible. In addition to using yoga to build strength and maintain flexibility, I believe the breathing techniques I practice in class will help manage contractions while in childbirth.
Remember that during pregnancy it is not safe to practice hot yoga and you should never do any deep spinal twists (also avoid most abdominal exercises in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters). Practice within your own comfort level and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right.
1) CAP Wellness – Prenatal Yoga (not heated), Encinitas
This is a recent favorite. CAP Wellness is an OBGYN office as well as a chiropractic and massage therapy studio that also puts on prenatal courses (such as the infant CPR class we took) and has a daily prenatal yoga class! I’m sad that I didn’t discover it until now, but I’m taking full advantage. I attended very two prenatal classes in the first week that I discovered it and they were very different from each other, but great in their own way. It’s also great to take a class and not feel like the sore thumb sticking out with the big belly since everyone else in the class is in the exact same boat as me! Not to mention, its wonderful not having to modify any poses since all poses are pregnancy friendly.
2) Mantra Yoga – Beginner Yoga (warm), Carlsbad
Mantra is an amazing studio with plenty of hot yoga classes and a yummy cafe serving juice, smoothie and acai bowls but what makes me happy is that they also offer several warm classes, the beginner yoga being the most pregnancy friendly of all. I’ve only attended the weekend classes (they have a class both Saturday and Sunday mornings) but they were both excellent and the perfect mix of strengthening and stretching (I definitely sweat in this class as it has quite a bit of flow). The classes were not too hot and at the end you get a cold eucalyptus towel over your eyes for an added relaxation bonus!
3) Yoga6 – Deep Stretch Class (Warm), Multiple San Diego Locations
Although no longer offered on Wildfire, this was one of my favorites when it was. Although this is definitely a hot yoga studio, they do offer a few options in a warm (80s) environment, including Deep Stretch. I also tried the Yoga Sculpt class which was definitely a tough workout (warm heat). I had to modify a lot even back in the first trimester and at this point in my pregnancy it definitely would be a little too challenging for me.
4) Inhale Yoga – iFlow (Warm), Del Mar
Inhale is a small studio without mirrors (gasp!) which creates a very intimate feeling. They have several pregnancy friendly classes (there are a lot of stretching classes available), but I enjoy the iFlow class. You can easily modify to make this class easier or harder.
5) Yoga Tropics – Vinyasa (Warm), Encinitas
The 6 pm Monday night Vinyasa class was preciously taught by a pregnant teacher, which is why I had the courage to try the class (and really liked it!). The teacher recently stopped teaching for maternity leave, so I’m not sure how pregnancy friendly it is now. I’ve heard some of the “warm” classes at Yoga Tropics can be over 90 degrees, so it’s best to call and check with the studio before signing up.
6) Foundation Yoga – Beginner Hatha
Just last weekend I attended my first class at Foundation Yoga. It was the 8 a.m. Saturday morning Hatha for beginners and it was truly relaxing. It’s a 1 hour 15 minute class led by an instructor whose voice sounds like it’s straight out of a yoga DVD! The class was very gentle, but in a good way, and not heated at all. This would probably be one of the best classes for someone who is not experienced in yoga to try out, pregnant or not.
7) Yoga Del Mar – Hatha 1
This studio is very close to my office yet I just recently tried it. The studio is very simple (no mirrors here) and the class was VERY gentle. This is definitely the most beginner friendly of all the classes I tried.
All of the above studios are available on Wildfire under one membership fee (except Yoga6). Join me at WildFire – try your 1 week trial (no credit card required) and then use code yw3xrv for $10 off your first month! Or use this link.
If you do yoga, do you tend to practice at a studio, outdoors, in your home via DVD/streaming or own your own?