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8 Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

benefits of prenatal yoga

1. Keep your stress level in check
Decompressing and reducing stress is something that brings a lot of people to yoga, and of course this becomes even more important to do during pregnancy; your baby feels everything that you feel! Yoga is calming for the mind, and the postures help to release tension that seems to accumulate extra during pregnancy. The work we do with breath awareness also helps greatly with de-stressing. Slowing down the breath, especially the exhale, slows down the heart rate so that you and baby can feel calmer and more relaxed.

2. Connect with your baby
The practice of prenatal yoga is all about creating space for baby; physically, as well as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Your yoga practice is time you set aside to take care of yourself, and in turn you are connecting to your baby. They practice with you. Every breath you take is a breath you share. And there is plenty of quiet time to communicate with your baby in any way that makes sense to you.

3. Increase circulation

Through the combination of breath and movement used in yoga, circulation is enhanced within the body as synovial fluid is activated and dispersed and the muscles are elongated. Increased circulation helps to reduce swelling, a common and sort of inevitable side effect of pregnancy.

4. Prepare for the intensity of labor
Yoga teaches us to breathe consciously and mindfully, even during times of intensity. Practicing breathing calmly through the different poses is wonderful practice for being able to breathe through the intensity that you will experience during labor. It is the practice of being comfortable with discomfort. There are also many yoga poses that we practice during class that can be helpful to use during labor such as child’s pose to rest or malasana (squat) to push efficiently with gravity.

benefits of prenatal yoga

5. Gain a community
It can be very comforting to be with a group of women going through the same process you are. Prenatal classes are safe spaces to communicate with one another, rant, complain, share stories, support, and congratulate one another. A sisterhood is created.

6. Relieve tension, ease aches and discomfort in the body
As baby grows, more stress is put upon the low back, hips, upper back, chest and shoulders. Many yoga poses help to relieve some of the discomfort caused by the changes in the body. In my prenatal classes I always start by asking each student what is going on in her body so I know where to focus some of the poses in order to address specific needs of each body that day.

7. Stay active and in shape
Being pregnant does not mean that you are broken or with an illness! You can absolutely stay active, in fact, most women enjoy more ease during pregnancy when they stay active, as you can imagine the body is not meant to be stagnant. Movement helps to stay balanced and to release tension and toxins. Also, labor is one of the most physically demanding feats you will accomplish in your life. So it makes sense to prepare the body and strengthen the muscles! It’s also a good idea to start working on upper body strength as you look forward to the days of carrying around a baby everywhere you go, plus all their stuff.

8. Tune into your body’s needs
During pregnancy, your body is changing every day. It is so valuable to set aside time in your day to quiet your thoughts, and really pay attention to what is going on. Your body will tell you what you need, whether it is to rest, or to work, or to play. The practice of yoga is nurturing. It is so crucial to take of yourself during this time, you are growing a baby! You deserve to be nurtured and cared for. Also, the time that you are pregnant flies by. Savor this short and sweet time while you can by slowing down and being present!


kim neer prenatal yoga teacher at One Down Dog Yoga in SilverlakeKim Neer is the newest addition to the One Down Dog team, teaching prenatal yoga classes on Mondays at 10:45a and Saturdays at 9am.

Check out our interview with Kim to learn a little more about her and check out her Prenatal 101 post for answers to frequently asked questions.

 

 

 

Yoga.Hoop.Dance Fusion: This Ain’t Your Normal “Hula Hooping” On The Playground

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Alright, so we’ve all practiced yoga at least once or twice. Or maybe you’re like me and practice almost everyday. Now, let’s take our practice to the next level and spice things up! What would happen if we fuse our yoga practice with hoop dancing? “What’s hoop dancing?!”, you ask. It involves a hoop, yes, it’s a “hula-hoop” and yes, it involves shaking your boo-tay. Sounds crazy?! It is! Crazy fun! It’s kinda like being back on the playground at recess, but even cooler… and sexier because now we’re adults, and being an adult is better than being a kid. Think of all the things that we can do as adults and couldn’t do as kids… like being sexy, while hoop dancing. Yoga.Hoop.Dance fusion brings out your inner child, while cultivating your own creative voice and style as we move and shake!

Ever see those beautiful girls (and guys) at shows and festivals dancing with a hoop circling above their heads like a halo? Ever wish you could learn to dance like that too? Well, you can! Pick up a hoop, set your intentions (just like in yoga class) and start moving and flowing. Yes, I know… it’s not as easy as it looks. It takes time and practice to make it look smooth and effortless, just like anything else. So… let’s practice…

When you attend our workshop on Saturday May 9th, Cat and I will show you the flows and poses, but it is up to you to smooth out your transitions, make it look as effortless as possible, as well as add your own flair. Maybe you have a variation or a special trick you’re working on- go for it! Don’t be afraid to try things because you might look funny, fall over, or drop your hoop- that’s what practice is for! Make all those mistakes over and over and eventually, you won’t fall over anymore and you won’t drop the hoop as much. Remember, it doesn’t happen in just one practice or even a few.

Being a performer my whole life, I understand the importance of practicing, over and over and over and over and over… and finding my meditation and zen within the practice. I also understand the importance of finding my own style and voice. If you are an artist/performer you must answer these questions: What do you want to express? Who are you? Are you passionate? Are you edge-y? Are you more traditional? Or are you a risk-taker? Show these things in your yoga/hooping/dancing. I know, I know… Traditionally, yoga was never meant to be a  “performance art”. It wasn’t meant to be aesthetically pleasing to the onlooker. However, these days with Instagram and other social media platforms, yoga has become a type of art or entertainment, leaning more towards acrobatics and dance. Yogis are entertaining their followers by showing off and “performing” crazy inversions and arm balances everywhere and anywhere stretchy pants are permitted. If you cruise through some hooping dancing related threads, such as #hooplife and #hoopersofinstagram, you’ll find the same type of Instagram community for hoopers as well.

Yoga (and hooping) is being introduced to a wide spectrum of people that would never normally see such a thing before. It’s also extremely inspiring and gives me ideas to try new things… Now, I’m getting into a whole other blog post that I could write about… I’ll get back on track here… What I’m trying to say is that Yoga.Hoop.Dance is about performance, style, and finesse. Other times we come to the mat to practice and it might not be about any of those things. It might be more about turning inward for a moving meditation and it doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside. Always know the reason for being on your mat on any particular day. Be clear with yourself. Set specific intentions.

Sign up for our workshop here!

Yoga.Hoop.Dance Fusion
YOGA.HOOP.DANCE workshop with Brittany Kovler silverlake yoga studio

 

 

Article written by Brittany Kovler, Yoga Teacher & Holistic Health Coach
Check out her class schedule here.

Yoga Teacher Training Graduates: Maureen Copeland

maureen copeland yoga teacher training

I’ll never forget the day I was approached at the sunset junction farmers market by a girl handing out fliers for a new yoga studio. It was about 2 years ago; I had just moved back to LA from Santa Barbara. I was looking for a new studio to call home to my yoga practice. Little did I know what was in store for me.

I have been practicing yoga since I was a teenager. But I have never had a strong and consistent practice until I found One Down Dog. I instantly connected with the power vinyasa flow and the message about keeping it real at One Down Dog. I felt like I could just be myself and not try to be some yoga-ized version of me.

When Jessica decided to offer the first teacher training something inside of me said, “do it”! I had toyed with the idea of yoga teacher training before. I had just gone back to school for my BSN so I wasn’t sure how I was going to work full-time, go to school full-time and do yoga teacher training. Even though it seemed impossible and a little crazy, I knew that my mission is to serve others through nursing, yoga and Buddhism. So I listened to my heart and signed up for the training.

I wasn’t sure what exactly would happen after I finished the training. I didn’t see myself teaching classes per se, more like incorporating yoga into nursing somehow. But during teacher training I started to discover that I liked teaching; I found it equally terrifying and exhilarating. The most important thing I learned in teacher training was to find confidence in my own voice and myself. This is still a work in progress for me.

I currently teach two classes a week: 6:30am Flow on Monday and 5:45pm Sweat on Friday. I have learned so much from teaching yoga. Not only have I deepened my own practice, I have also discovered the joy of practicing for others, my students.
It’s really a creative endeavor for me to come up with new flows and playlists every week. My goal for every class is to guide my students on a yoga journey and leave them feeling grounded, centered, and a little more joyful.

I am so grateful to Jessica for being such an amazing teacher and creating an awesome space where we as a community can explore our dreams.

How Yoga Teacher Training Changed My Life

Hallie yoga teacher trainingHallie yoga teacher training

Yoga teacher training was a life changing experience – sounds dramatic, but it’s true!

I tried yoga for the first time in college but didn’t practice regularly until about 4 years ago. I enjoyed yoga because it was a way to de-stress and help ease the pain from working behind a computer all day. It never crossed my mind that I would want to be a yoga teacher until I went to One Down Dog. I met a few teachers and they all loved teaching, I had never “loved” any job!

A few months passed and a teacher mentioned to me that Jessica was going to lead One Down Dog’s first yoga teacher training at the end of the summer. I was working 10+ hour days at the time, miserable in my job, and I thought I would never be able to juggle that kind of commitment with my current day job. Maybe when I got a new job and had better hours I could entertain the idea of signing up. I have friends who have completed yoga teacher trainings at other studios and they always say, “It changed my life!” or “It was the most amazing experience!” I realized I needed a change and it was never going to be the “right” time. I could keep putting it off, or I could sign up and try something new. So I did it!

Before I started teacher training, I felt stuck in my job. I would wake up every day and dread going to work. I had always been a driven person, I always knew what I wanted, but here I was, complacent and clueless about what my next steps would be professionally.

In teacher training, we learned about goal setting, something I had always done, but at this point in my life I wasn’t chasing any career goals. Early on in our training, we were introduced to the Sanskrit word bhavana, meaning yogic contemplation and visioning. We set lofty goals for ourselves and I wrote down what I wanted to be doing for a living and what I dreamed of. A week before training ended, I landed the job I envisioned at the start of training. You could say it was a coincidence but I don’t think so. If it wasn’t for training and my new way of thinking, I never would have scored an interview for the position. Training has also helped me further my practice. I am stronger than I have ever been, inside and out. I would recommend teacher training to anyone who is curious, wants a change or wants a challenge.

The experience is difference for everyone, so what will your experience be?

Get more info about teaching training here