Monday, September 30, 2013

Yoga Love and the Miracle of Hot Yoga while Pregnant (or not pregnant)

I absolutely love the studio I've gone to for years. They treat me like family every time I'm there and I am constantly learning more and more about my practice. Being knocked up has given me the opportunity to learn even more about the practice, and how continuing can be very beneficial for baby and for pregnancy symptoms. Skip to the below post if you'd rather read this than read my Knocked Up Updates. ;)

Week: 10!    Official due date: April 29th! I was a bit farther along than we initially thought. 

Weight Gain: 2 lbs (At 125lbs, my goal weight gain is 20 lbs.. So, around 140-145.)

Minka, making sure her presence is known ;)
Sleep: Getting harder. I was an 80's kid before SIDS was linked to tummy sleeping, so not being able to sleep on my tum tum is pretty lame, and some nights I wake up still sleeping on my belly. And I'm a really light sleeper so I suspect my days of sound sleep are basically gone. Although, we have resolved the dog issue.

Miss Anything?  HOT BATHS. I take a much hotter bath than most, practically scathing, much like a hot tub.. So I really miss just soaking in a hot bath (to my standards). I just like being warm... Hot baths, hot yoga, steam rooms... Yeah, you guys know.

Symptoms: More mood swings, brain fog, constant fatigue, and my belly hurts a lot... Sometimes its the round ligament at the bottom of my belly and sometimes its higher, which I've read is probably my organs & internal tissues getting soft... not a lot of places for a baby to go in a woman my size. :) Sometimes the pains are worrisome, but I've been told not to.

My smells are on overdrive lately too! I smelled gasoline in our home and threw up everywhere! Funny thing was I could never figure out where the smell was coming from! Bad breath has made me throw up, the smell of the parking garage being cleaned at work... grease anywhere (like fast food type grease). 

Mostly it's a lot of barfing. For all the women who never had this, you have NO CLUE how lucky you are. It's impossible to predict when it will come for me. The other day it was in a meeting. On Saturday, it was DURING breakfast. Surprisingly, the prenatal vitamins don't seem to affect the nausea.

Women have suggested to me everything under the sun, and I've tried absolutely everything... Unisom, crackers at night, crackers during the night, crackers as soon as I wake up, ginger root supplements, ginger chews, ginger ale, ginger tea, tons of water, many small meals (which I do anyway), pregnancy teas, Preggie Pops (which do seem to help if I'm far from food, and am feeling the nausea come... although, I can't seem to find WHY these help. The ingredients are all sugars and essential oils. Tasty tho!), extra B6 during the day.. And still throwing up 6-7 times a day. I have no desire to be on any medication for this (Hello! Thalidomide was a disaster!), and am hoping I'm just hitting my peak of nausea & sickness.

Mood: Depends on my hunger or level of tiredness. :) Mamas, you know what I mean. The mood swings are CRAZY! I feel pretty bad for the hubs.. I really REALLY need to do something nice for him. He really is amazing.

Cravings: Fruit.. Except Bananas.. I am ENDLESSLY hungry. I have to deny myself a lot, but not like prep. I'm just denying things that sound instantly good but we know are completely empty - soda, ice cream... I've tried to turn to some FiberOne Bars just to keep my fiber up and avoid the dreaded pregnancy constipation yet still satisfy some sweet craving. Have been craving home food as the weather has gotten colder as well.. I made the BEST chicken pot pie last night!

Diet: Not that I'm complaining or anything, but this is so counter-intuitive for a bikini athlete/bodybuilder. Craving and eating loads of fruits lately. I binged on an entire carton of strawberries the other night. Mmmm! :) But honestly most of my diet is dictated by how I'm feeling... If the nausea is high, I'm tempted to only eat carbs, my breakfasts have pretty much only been bagels or cereal... Eggs, sausage, bacon.. all sound awful! But then also have to be careful about indigestion. I learned that on Cheez-It's a week or two ago. So, fruits have been my best option.

The saddest thing happened though this week, my taste buds changed... and coffee tastes awful. :( WAHHHHHH!!! Everyday my brain tells me I want coffee, but I have dumped an entire coffee every day this week. So, will probably just be making a switch to tea. (WOAH. Pregnancy really IS comparable to prep! haha)

Still working out: Baby and I have been doing hot yoga and cardio a couple times a week depending on where my nausea is at, but will discuss my love for hot yoga at the end of this post. My sickness has also dictated this, if I feel really sick... I don't work out.

Also, this isn't saying that I have loads of energy, it's mostly the opposite. I've been good about packing fruits and things to raise my blood sugar when I get too sleepy. But this is also a challenge when trying to keep up on my workouts. The fatigue is truly physical, but the battle is mental. It's easiest to compare this feeling to prep-depletion: Just get to the gym. I always feel better once I'm done!

The Sacred Pregnancy Obedience Rules: Okay, I quit Seafood.. And as far as the catbox, I just started wearing  a mask. Probably will eat clam chowder at some point. ;) I'm an excellent pill taker though, so the vitamins aren't an issue.

Goals for the next week or two:
We finally started our nesting projects! We did clean out and paint our master bedroom this weekend, so the next project is still one of my original goals:
1. Clean out the effing back room! It is a cluttery mess.

Onto My Real Post.... The Miracle of Hot Yoga (while or while not pregnant): 
With pregnancy comes loads of unsolicited advice. If you're a patient person, this might not bug you... but I, however, am not. I also used to be a GIANT people pleaser, so I now take any advice with a large grain of salt. A rock of salt, if you will. When I'm cranky and uncomfortable, I really want to tell some people to shove it.

"Do you really think you should be doing that given your condition?!" (Yeah, I heard that for real, last week)

I smiled as pleasantly as I could, although I'm sure she could see the irritation behind the smile, and informed her that I felt good and was perfectly healthy to keep up my exercise routine. I love how people think when you're pregnant, that you WANT to be squatting a large barbell or doing an hour of cardio (Okay, I do want to be squatting a large barbell, just not right now). On the contrary, in this first trimester, I don't feel awesome. But I ALWAYS feel awesome when I'm done!

My primary concern is growing a healthy baby. My secondary concern is keeping myself healthy and strong for a natural delivery. I've read from different sources that yoga is very helpful in keeping your abs & legs strong for delivery, and had even followed blogs in years past where women kept up their hot yoga practice throughout their pregnancies. All of them delivered completely natural, and had perfectly healthy babies. The power and grace these women exuded convinced me long ago of my intention to continue my hot yoga practice throughout any pregnancy I would have in the future.

And I have already been getting dirty looks of distress regarding continuing hot yoga into my pregnancy. However, you can find the Pregnancy Modifications to Bikram Yoga here, developed by Bikram's "wife". (I put wife in quotations because everyone knows Bikram is a giant man whore. He has two major rape lawsuits going on currently, which is why I don't necessarily feel the need to go to a designated "Bikram Yoga" studio. Did you know he charges studios $15K a YEAR to use his name?! Ludicrous. - Side note: I had to look up how to properly spell Ludicrous... Damn you Ludacris. LOL!)  I also found a posture by posture look at the alterations on This site is fabulous, it tells you at what stage in your pregnancy to begin altering what posture, and is way more comprehensive than Rajashree's guide.

Courtesy of Bikram Yoga Richardson - This woman looks so powerful in her postures!
Anyway, I was seriously doing yoga from weeks 1-6, obviously not aware I was knocked up, and felt perfectly fine! So, here I am, 10 weeks along and going to hot yoga fully aware I am with child... and suddenly I'm just supposed to quit??  If you're already accustomed to the heat, it actually feels amazing (and I suspect it really will as we head into the cold months). I walked into the hot room really just wanting to take a nap in there it felt so so good! As the first breathing exercise starts, Pranayama breathing, it is a challenge but once the second set has been completed, my energy level has picked up. Deep breathing and flushing my body with freshly oxygenated blood... Ahhh.

Yes, saunas & hot tubs are contraindicated for pregnancy. However, if you look into the science of hot yoga, if you are consistently practicing in the hot room, your body becomes accustomed to not raising its internal temperature in order to make it through an entire class. Which is why you see yoginis never getting sick throughout a class. But some women bring a thermometer and test themselves just to be sure (which I'll probably do). Bonus: The studio I go to has a class called "Beats" which is the same Bikram style series, but to low lights, music and minimal words. Perfect for a yogini to just do yoga and meditate into the practice. I love to talk to my baby during this and invite growth and love into our body.

Since I've had the soreness in my belly, which I guess is the stretching of the round ligament in your lower belly, and totally normal for a first pregnancy, I focus on the postures that stretch the belly. Half Moon feels wonderful, especially the backbend which I've been able to do at about 75%, once I feel the stretch, I don't push it further.

The only postures that are uncomfortable at this point are the backbends that push your belly into the floor like Floor Bow or Full Locust, but I got the chance to learn most of the alterations for when I get too big to do do the tight forward bends, which I suspect will be soon. I intend to give up the spine strengthening series in the next couple of weeks, and add in some Vinyasa/Flow postures. However, CAMEL... Give me this! I feel like the most powerful woman in the universe coming out of this backbend, and once I get to the ground, my body feels like it's melting into the earth. Camel is meant to flush and pump your cerebrospinal fluid (which is why many newcomers get dizzy and sick in camel, it can have those effects if you're not used to it), and I can only imagine that baby is reaping those benefits too.

My approach to practice has had to change, however.. I typically went into yoga as an athlete ready for the long haul, deep into every posture, pushing 100%, but now, slow and steady wins the race. I listen to my body, when I feel sick or dizzy I sit down until my heart rate has lowered completely. I leave yoga on cloud 9, my body feels good and surging with energy. And in fact, my pregnancy symptoms are not as intense the next day. I don't feel AS fatigued, or AS sick, nor as crazy with mood swings! It also relieves my body of any edema (holding water)!

After yoga (and my gym workouts), I give myself plenty - I snack on strawberries and chug coconut water on my way home. And sometimes a protein shake, depending on where I'm at nausea-wise. Sometimes the protein exacerbates it.

I just want to say this, that getting knocked up has really reinforced my desire to be who I am, and not  change my preferences and routines just because others wouldn't do it themselves, or because their pregnancy experience was bad. It is very easy to absorb the stresses and worries that others have, but my stress and worry is eased with the passing days. But I feel that their worries, are really none of my business. Just like my body, is none of theirs. Absorbing their stress, will not help me or baby. So, thanks... but no thanks. :)

How is everyone else doing these days??? Say Hi when you can!! Love you all!! :)


  1. I love that your black cat is in your photos :)

  2. I can relate to lots of the pregnancy stuff!! I had dinner sickness - from 2pm to 9 or 10pm at night even the smell of any kind of food made me throw up. And I had your coffee reaction with tea - couldn't drink it at all! Took me about 2 years to get back to enjoying a tea with my first son. Second one was fine though.

    As for the don't list of pregnancy things - don't listen to everyone!! You'll have to surround yourself in a glass box to keep everything away! It's just stupid these days. My doc told me a huge list of don't's - don't play with the dogs, stay away from the big cats, no cleaning cat boxes, no painting the nursery, no eating fish or too much red meat. No caffeine, no alcohol, no no no!!! I did it all!! lol The cat box was a huge argument for me so I called the University of Guelph (vet college speciality) and asked….the answer was so common sense, do not put the feces or dirty litter in your mouth! WHOA!! Really?! I never would have thought of that! LOLOL I just washed my hands alot since I was breeding bengals at the time and had the big cats then. Same with the raccoons and squirrels, lots of hand washing.

    Good luck!!! OH and my sister did lots of yoga for both her pregnancies, helped her bounce back to her old body and then some!!

  3. Omg LACEY! So I am way way way behind, but CONGRATULATIONS!!! Soooooo excited for you & am already loving following your fit pregnancy journey :o). You have such a great attitude - do YOU and enjoy every minute <3 xxo