A long time student of The Hot Room, Susan inspired us during her pregnancy with her continued dedication to practice. We admire her strength and passion so we wanted to learn more about what her journey was like!
How was this yoga journey during pregnancy different than your other two?
I am fortunate that I was able to practice during all 3 pregnancies. I never feel more connected with my body than when I am practicing when I am pregnant. I am more patient and listen to what my body needs during those months. This is the only pregnancy where I practiced hot yoga during the entire 9 months. Prior to my pregnancy, I only practiced the original hot yoga about once a week because I preferred pilates and vinyasa classes, but by the end, I was practicing it 3 times a week and it was my preferred class. I love the predictability of this yoga and it allowed me to confidently practice as my body rapidly changed.
I actually feel that I grew stronger during my pregnancy because I was able to increase the amount I practiced the original hot yoga (and because I was holding poses with an extra 30lbs. :)) Probably the biggest change during this journey was the support I received from THR community. Every class, I received words of encouragement from a teacher of fellow yogi. I can't express enough from how much that meant to me.
How did you decide to continue your practice during pregnancy? What was the biggest change/modification you had to make?
Yoga was such a huge part of all of my pregnancies and I knew I wanted to continue for my mind as much as my body. Prior to this pregnancy, I was practicing some sort of hot yoga/pilates about 6 days a week so I knew my body was accustomed to the workouts and heat. I followed the pregnancy modifications for the original hot yoga very early in my pregnancy. This allowed me time to try the modifications and figure out what felt best for my changing body.
Do you feel that yoga helped during labor or any other benefits during your pregnancy?
YES!!!!! Yoga played a huge role in allowing me to have 3 natural, unmedicated births. Every class, I made sure to find some time to completely focus on my breath and visualize breathing through contractions. During labor, I relied on my months of preparation to control the pain with my breath. All 3 of my deliveries were rather quick and I think that yoga gave me the strength I needed to quickly and efficiently push my babies out. :)
Other benefits...ENERGY! Practicing often gave me a much needed energy boost and I noticed I felt more tired if I missed classes. Yoga also helped with digestion. I had lots of heartburn with this pregnancy and was surprised to discover that yoga actually made it better. Another benefit was the effect on my mental health. It felt good to know I was able to do something healthy for my body and baby. I am definitely more cranky/less patient when I don't do yoga.
What advice do you have for other expecting mothers who plan to practice during their pregnancy?
I would encourage expecting mothers to inform the instructors as early as they feel comfortable and adopt the pregnancy modifications early. This helped me feel more relaxed during my practice and allowed me to give myself permission to take it easy and rest when I needed to. Always remember that your baby is the most important person in the class and listen to what your body is telling you. I found it helpful to talk to other moms who practiced during their pregnancies to learn from their experience. And as always, drink tons of water!!! But most importantly, enjoy the journey...it truly is a magical time.