Monday, April 06, 2009

Namaste

As I'm typing this, the Ann Arbor sky is turning an ash gray as we prepare for the winter storm that's coming out way- complete with rain, sleet, snow and all. Yes, it's April and we're expecting 5 inches of snow by tomorrow. That's a Michigan spring for you, folks... And as testimony to how schizophrenic the weather can be, when I woke up this morning, it was all beautiful sunshine and crisp breeze. Which was a wonderful way to start my prenatal yoga practice. I had been putting it off for a while because I couldn't find a studio I liked or a time that fit my schedule. The school gym I used to go to for my regular yoga practice doesn't have a designated class for would-be mommies and many other studios have their one prenatal yoga session at strange times like Friday mornings when I sometimes need to be in school. So I finally settled on A2 Yoga, which comes highly recommended from many friends (even my adviser!) and about which I've heard really good things for the past few years.

It's a beautiful place- calming and warm without the whole new age incense-burning, water-trickling, patchouli-smelling atmosphere you sometimes get at other studios. And truly, it was a lovely morning to be practicing yoga of any kind, prenatal or not- the sunlight was streaming in through the day curtains, one of the windows was open so there was fresh air breezing in, and we did a lot of shoulder openers that made me-- corny or not-- feel like we were embracing a kind of new-season energy on this Palm Sunday. Prenatal yoga is fairly different from the Power Yoga I'm used too. The props for one- two blankets, two blocks and a bolster- it was initially a little intimidating, but I can see how they'll become indispensable once I can no longer see or touch my toes... Prenatal yoga is also less about sustaining a pose than it is about loosening and stretching those muscles. And the breathing is a lot more calming which helped me focus more as well. One particular pose-- it's not even a pose at all, really-- touched me in a way that made me decide that I will be coming back to A2 Yoga weekly from now now: we were supposed to just sit simply and practice our pranayama (yoga breathing). To help us be aware of whether we were breathing right, the instructor told us to put our right palm on our heart, and our left palm on the core of our stomach (or where the baby is). To feel the intake of breath via the lungs/heart and then the slow pressure of its release around the core area was at once refreshing, calming, centering, and strangely moving. It felt like the baby was a real part of my yoga practice today and it was a beautiful moment... :)

2 comments:

Dark Orpheus said...

Firstly - your advisor is recommending yoga teacher? :)

Secondly - Awwwwww.

Sounds like the class is promising. Do keep with it. And the best bit is, you can do the pranayama at home too. :)

Take care of yourself and Junior.

serene said...

Thanks, Stella :) I really felt very good after practice yesterday so I'll definitely be keeping it up.

And yes, my adviser is very cool... We actually both started yoga together but at different studios. And his instructor also teaches prenatal yoga so he recommended her to me. She's great and sings her Ohms like my previous instructor! :)