Beth Prystowsky is a prenatal yoga instructor and writes Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom for Chicago Now. She agreed to answer a few questions for me. Below her interview is a short list of studios in Chicago that offer prenatal yoga. If the studio also offers a Mommy & Me class, I’ve made a note of it.
1. Why should I consider prenatal yoga?
Prenatal Yoga has many benefits. It prepares the body for labor and delivery through many poses including squats, which helps to get the baby’s head in the right direction. We also spend a lot of time working on breathing, which is a great tool for staying calm during the delivery as well as after if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
My students repeatedly tell me that they sleep so much better on the nights that they come to yoga. We stretch the entire body focusing on low back, hips and groin, which tend to be major areas of pain for pregnant ladies.
Also, my favorite benefit of prenatal yoga was to connect with other pregnant ladies experiencing the same worries, questions, pains. We spend time at the beginning of class talking about issues we are facing even if they aren’t yoga related.
Lastly, prenatal yoga is an amazing opportunity to bond with your baby. Many ladies come in and say they didn’t really “feel pregnant” until they began to visualize their baby and connect during yoga.
2. Can I start yoga during pregnancy even if I haven’t practiced in a while?
Yes, no experience is needed to begin Prenatal Yoga. You simply can come to class and breathe and stretch to any degree that feels good for your body.
3. What can’t I do during pregnancy (vs. regular yoga) and why?
We do not do anything on our bellies or our backs during Prenatal Yoga. In addition, no inversions. Otherwise listening to your body and not pushing yourself too far is what I suggest.
4. I’m a little intimidated. Any suggestions?
I think a lot of people are intimidated to try yoga. Coming in at any level is fine. I try to offer different options. I tell my students, “If you’re feeling off today, just sit and breathe.” A lot of yoga is physical but a lot of it is not — it’s also breathing, connecting with your baby and taking time for yourself.
*List compiled by Big City Belly on April 15, 2011. Always call the studio first to confirm its schedule. If you’d like to add to the list below, please leave a message for me in the comments or email bigcitybelly @ gmail.com
Self Centered Yoga in Roscoe Village (Beth’s class; there’s also one on Saturdays) — also offers Mom/Dad & Baby class
Soulistic Studio at Milwaukee & Chicago (Beth’s class; several other prenatal yoga and pilates) — also offers Mommy & Me Yoga & Pilates
Nature Yoga in Wicker Park — also offers Mommy and Baby
Bend Yoga & Movement Studio in Ukrainian Village — also offers Baby & Me and classes for older kids, too
Bloom Yoga Studio in Lincoln Square — also offers Mom & Baby, Parent & Tot and Storytime Yoga
Sweet Pea’s Studio on Ravenswood, just south of Grace — the private studio of Jennifer Barron Fishman offering tons of classes for during and after pregnancy
Yogaview on Elston with a second location on Division
Moksha Yoga Center (three locations) — also offers Baby & Me
Namaskar in Lakeview
Sana Vita Studio in West Loop/East Village
Vessel — FREE Mommy & Me demo classes on Tuesday, 4/19. One at 9:15 am for ages 2 months to crawlers; the other at 10:15 am for walkers/toddlers to 3 years old. Read more on Wee Windy City’s blog and be sure to call the studio to reserve your spot. Vessel also offers prenatal yoga — next session begins on 4/23/11.