Yoga for Pregnant Athletes BTS with Erin

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Pregnancy is an incredibly unique journey for every woman, and one that stretches us to the limit physically, mentally, and emotionally. Now approaching the end of my second pregnancy — I have a 2-year-old daughter and my son is due in June — my biggest learning so far is this:

The only thing you have control over is your ability to let go.

As much as I want this baby, and have been intentional in trying to enjoy being pregnant, most of the last seven months I’ve felt like I’m in a washing machine, tossed and flailing about, completely unable to control my body or emotions. Surrendering running, most of my yoga practice, and even some of my meditation practices — not to mention persistent sickness and intense bouts of prenatal depression — has made me feel less and less like myself, and less able to cope with the many unexpected realities that accompany making a human being. Having been through this before hasn't made it any easier. If anything, chasing a toddler around has made it way harder. 

It wasn’t until around 25 weeks that I finally accepted that I might just feel like crap until baby boy comes out (and long after), and that’s okay. I was resting in a restorative yoga posture when I realized that I’d spent nearly two trimesters judging myself and feeling like “I’m not okay” because I felt so unwell and out of control. But the reality is, like many things in life, there’s nothing controllable about pregnancy. 

It was no surprise that I’ve felt way better since this obvious yet radical revelation. This letting go of the need to feel a certain way or be able to do certain things — the desire to feel in control — has helped me to just, well, be. I’m still tired, still nauseous, still have heartburn, but I feel more relaxed and able to witness and release whatever comes at me. I'm more able to accept where I'm at, and even appreciate it. And it’s helped me to listen — really listen — to what I need, and to respond accordingly, even though that usually demands the opposite of what I really want to do.

Introducing The Yoga for Pregnant Athletes Collection

 Photography by homegirl  Claire Pepper  as per usual.

Photography by homegirl Claire Pepper as per usual.

When I was pregnant with my first baby and struggled to find pregnancy resources that resonated with me, I knew I wanted to create prenatal videos the next time I was pregnant. So it wasn't long after two lines appeared on the stick last fall that I started thinking about what it is that I want to share. Like all Jasyoga content, I put my ideas under the lens of practicality, and designed the new prenatal videos with the goal of balance in mind. I wanted to create something real — that addresses the pregnancy-induced realities of everything from anxiety to back pain to cankles. And I wanted to create something that is a reflection of the experience I've shared with many female athletes — solutions that we've actually found helpful along the way.

I hope these videos help you to let go of expectations and judgements, and to embrace balance exactly as you are.

 Join me in my living room for my favorite prenatal Resets! 

Join me in my living room for my favorite prenatal Resets! 

HOW TO USE

Note I’ve specified in most of the video descriptions beside “when” to do the routines: “whenever you have the energy.” That’s because while I think it’s great to set goals around staying active during pregnancy and maintaining strength is super important, planning a rigid workout schedule is a trap because you have no control over how you feel or your energy levels. The point it is to enjoy your ability to do something active that’s relevant to what your body is going through — when you’re really up for it — rather than forcing yourself through a rigid routine when you don't have the gas. The videos are short — ranging 5–25 minutes — on purpose, so that they're (hopefully) manageable to do amid everything else you have going on and create a real break for you to connect to yourself and your baby, rather than becoming another thing on your to do list.

That being said, here’s some ideas for how to incorporate these routines throughout your pregnancy. This is essentially the advice I give myself, but it's so different for every woman — the most important thing is to listen to your body and be willing to accept where you're at and respond accordingly.

Before you start using the videos, (and like any exercise during pregnancy) talk with your doctor about any concerns you have.

Use Breath Support for Pregnancy to familiarize with breathing techniques before you try the other routines, and use it ongoing as needed to reconnect to and amplify your breath.

1st Trimester — Nausea and extreme fatigue are super common, especially in the early days. Rather than holding tight to your current workout schedule, give yourself permission to rest! Use meditation to help you shift gears mentally, and gentle movement to help ease nausea. The Quick Reset for Preggos routine in a great one for helping you to connect to your baby in the early days of pregnancy. Consider anything else you do a bonus!

2nd Trimester — Now's a great time to focus on staying strong — you'll need your strength to manage the added weight, endure labor, and repair and cope on the other side. When you have the energy, focus on maintaining back strength to support optimal posture, and pelvic floor, hip, and glute strength to support your pelvis as your baby grows. 

3rd Trimester — Now more than ever is the time to slow down and rest. The final months of pregnancy can be particularly uncomfortable as your baby compresses your internal organs and it gets harder to carry around the additional weight — not to mention breathe! Focus on staying fluid, making space for baby (and you!), and resting. If you're feeling really good, the strength or squat video 1–2 x week is an added bonus.

Pregnant Athlete for Yoga Styles

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I’m proud to rep the bird through two pregnancies, during which I’ve stretched my Oiselle #flystyle to the limit.

Current faves that I'm wearing late into my 3rd trimester:
Flyte Tank (usual size)
Story Shirt (size up)
Lux Satellite Tank (usual size)
All the Women Hoodie (size up)
New Jogging Tights (size up)
New Jogging Knickers (size up)
Hawkeye 3/4 Tights (size up)

We'd love to hear how you’re using the prenatal videos to find more balance throughout your pregnancy — share with #jasyogamama!

And remember, mamas: You are doing great.

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 PS! Pregnancy Pro Tip: Look at photos of unborn baby in optimal position (shown here) where you'll see them often, which will help your subconscious and your baby to mirror this positioning and in turn assist your labor and delivery. This  Nikki McClure  print, "Inside," is a favorite of mine that I have on the wall next to my bed.

PS! Pregnancy Pro Tip: Look at photos of unborn baby in optimal position (shown here) where you'll see them often, which will help your subconscious and your baby to mirror this positioning and in turn assist your labor and delivery. This Nikki McClure print, "Inside," is a favorite of mine that I have on the wall next to my bed.