Thursday, November 03, 2016

Best Free Preggo Yoga Videos...

...tested by your preggo guinea pig, me! 
I'm still loving my yoga practice, even though it has evolved a bit during my first pregnancy. While I aim for #yogaeverydamnday, I honestly practice yoga five times a week, not every day. Sometimes, I take the weekends off. Sometimes, I "skip" a day but still find myself in a downdog or forward fold or tabletop just to release the stress on my spine. Yoga works for me. 

In my first trimester, I stuck with my beloved Yoga With Adriene subscription videos and made small adjustments. She has a lovely little series of prenatal yoga with her paid subscription which I started and absolutely loved. Around week thirteen or fourteen of this pregnancy by lower back started to be all like, "EFF YOU! You're having a baby! I'm going to hurt you so much!" 
I started searching for more free yoga videos outside of YWA, specifically videos focused on strengthening the low back for childbirth and to alleviate pain. I also wanted the people guiding me in the videos to be pregnant. I can't pinpoint why I felt irritated when I did I prenatal video where the instructor wasn't pregnant, it just made me feel like she wasn't in it and didn't get it. I did try the free trial of Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen's oneOeight, but honestly, the prenatal videos on the site were just as good as the free ones I've been doing on YouTube. 

I've done as many free yoga videos as I can over the last month and these are my top free five go-tos as I've gotten bigger and had to move away from my more intense practice and to take a break from the three YWA prenatal videos on my subscription.

1. Paula Lay's Prenatal Yoga for the Low Back
Time: 30 minutes
This is the video I do whenever my back hurts. My one issue with it is that you spend a lot of time on your wrists. A modification for this is putting a bolster or folded blanket under your palms for little cushioning. Still a lot of the wrists, but worth it for my back. 

2. Paula Lay's Prenatal Energizing Flow
Time: 25 minutes
This practice is a good one for getting your booty moving. It is still gentle, but it feels good to move. 

3. Prenatal Yoga with Lara Dutta (My personal fav)
Time: 28 minutes
I LOVE this practice. It's very fluid and the movements are fun. Plus, Tonia Clark talks a lot about the baby "dancing in the amniotic fluid," which makes me laugh when I picture it. This video makes me feel fit. 

4. Be the Change Yoga
Time: 20 minutes
This is a short, sweet and gentle practice. It's the one I do when I don't have a lot of time. The only thing I don't like is that at the end of the video, I think the doula guiding the practice says, "Mamaste" instead of "Namaste." I don't know why it bugs me that she does that. She makes up for it by describing tabletop position as a baby hammock, where your arms and legs are trees and your belly is the hammock. 

5. Tammy Mittell's Yoga for Strength and Stability
Time: 34 minutes
Yo, this video is HARD AF. So many squats. So much burning in my glutes. I'm making myself do it one to two times a week because I know it will help keep me strong. Plus, Tammy keeps saying stuff like, "Please don't tell me I'm doing this by myself." It makes me keep going because she's pregnant in the video and I don't want to leave her hanging! 

As I get bigger and bigger and it gets even harder to move, I will keep trying as many videos as I can to give you the best free options I can! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Pregnant Pause

Seriously though, how many bloggers have used this title to explain a long pause in their posts because they were pregnant? Probably a lot. 

I posted this on my personal Facebook on Friday: 

This whole expecting-our-first-child-thing is very exciting and something I've wanted to blog about for so long. If you know me, you know that's a long time to keep my mouth shut. I was carried away by the anxiety of "what-ifs" for the first trimester of this pregnancy. Then twelve weeks came and went and I thought maybe we'd post something about this on social media at thirteen weeks, then fourteen, then... ? I really enjoyed telling people face-to-face throughout the summer. Here I am today at 22 weeks. More than halfway there! 

There is so much to say about pregnancy-- from weird cravings, to body changes, to adventures dressing yourself when pregnant. My focus right now is my old demon of food and eating changes. You think you've got your disordered eating together after years and years of figuring it out when BAM! Pregnancy hormones! -__-

My other focus right now is trying to really and truly figure out my work-life balance. Basically, I have none. This summer I was so freaked out by being pregnant that I was trying to make Big Life Changes like a madwoman. Let's sell our current house and buy a new and bigger house! Let me find a new job where I don't have to travel so much! Let me get my book to my editor as soon as possible so it will come out before the baby is born since I won't have any time to write it after the birth! Let's change everything about our current lives since it's going to change so much in February that we should just rip the band-aid off and do it to ourselves now! You might guess that none of those things happened because naps. 

So the summer was a little bit of bust because I couldn't do much and I was working like it was my job times four. Although I wasn't very sick during the first trimester, the summer heat made me feel gross and I subsisted on soft serve vanilla cones. I worried about every twinge or lack of twinge in my weird and changing body. 
My life all the time, but especially this summer.
The best thing that came out of this summer is the renewed admiration I have for the Hubs for just being him. I'm very anxious and he's very patient. I love him. He even put in a taller privacy fence on his own this summer with no help from me. I looked at the post hole digger and was like, "I'm tired."

Feeling more like myself again, just big. Starting a thirty day yoga challenge tomorrow. I'll post daily on Instagram and write a wrap-up here. 

Peace and love to everyone still reading this little blog! I just started really feeling the baby move over the last week and since this is the first time I've settled down all day it's like a dance party in my womb. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: A Love Song

The song that marks my return after six months has been on repeat for me over the last two days. I also find myself whistling it in the hallway at work and singing it at my desk.

I always feel extra lovey-dovey about the Hubs around this time of year. We never had an official anniversary when we were dating. What I do know is that fourteen years ago in August, I went to a party at a big 'ole house in the Vine neighborhood with my new roommate and he was there. That was the first night we met. I didn't know then that we'd start dating shortly after or that I'd fall so deeply in love with him.

Anyway. Enjoy this sweet love song.

Side note: This video is awesome, especially after they start dancing.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Vague Post

The Hubs told me about vaguebooking the other day when I was commenting on how I can't stand when people post vague status updates. How did he know something pop culture-y that I didn't know?!

Whelp. Here's your vague blog post after six months. I've been itching to write, but I can't say anything about anything because I've been in crazy limbo with so many things in my life since MARCH. That is so long, you guys. So long.
Anyway, I'm bringing back Tunes for Tuesday and posting about yoga and food and looking up lists of other things to write about. I might start Ann Dee Ellis' 8 Minute Memoir prompts. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: Music for Healing

The violence in Kalamazoo since the new year began has me tired.



I've been getting into Google search holes of reading everything related to what happened here on Saturday. Reading about the victims, details, gun control, mental health awareness, racial double standards, white masculinity in the United States... yesterday morning I looked up and an hour had gone by. Then another.

Then I stopped. And I thought about my job.

I work for a youth leadership organization that is rooted in the community, We do community work every day. Yesterday, I did a variation of what I do every day, what makes my job amazing and enjoyable-- I talked to people in Kalamazoo about upcoming community events, community projects, ideas for improving the community. It gave my tired soul some energy.

Last night, we had one of our twice-monthly meetings and we opened the floor to our young people. Many of them expressed anger that they didn't get to talk about what happened at school. That in 2016, the thought that you could easily hide what is ugly from the youth if you don't talk about it is an idea I can't even entertain. Their conversation moved me-- let's come up with ideas to raise awareness, let's do something, let's give ourselves time to grieve, let's understand, we can't understand... I love them.

After our conversation, we moved outside for a small gesture to send something good out into our community. Each of us took a glass votive and on it, we wrote what we want to put out there to Kalamazoo.





We lit our candles and stood together in community. We left them burning until the end of our meeting.

I listen to music all day at work, every day. Yesterday, I couldn't do it. But last night, after the conversation and candles on my way home from a very long day of work, I passed through downtown Kalamazoo. As I drove by every news truck stationed all over our small city, the tears flowed while Death Cab for Cutie played in the background. Now I can't stop listening to music.

Today, I'm listening to music that heals me. These are the songs that pulled me out of bed early this morning.

What are yours? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp a Butterfly is an album I return to week after week. I find new lyrical bombs that blow my mind every time I listen to it. No doubt that I've spent too much time on Rap Genius for this album. Kendrick Lamar's Grammy performance last night made me feel more passion than the Bernie rally. Check it out in all of its beauty here:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Feeling the Bern

Yesterday, my sister told me that Bernie Sanders was coming to Michigan. Since I had the day off for President's Day, I decided to drive over to Ypsilanti and check out the rally with her.

When Obama was campaigning in 2008 and 2012, I felt so much passion for what he stood for and his campaign-- especially in 2008. This time, I'm not feeling particularly passionate about either of the Democratic candidates. I want to be more excited about Hillary, but I'm just not feelin' her right now. I decided to get to the Bernie rally to see if I could drum up some excitement for this election, especially with all of the talk about a new Supreme Court nominee.

Bernie's message resonates with me and continued to do so today at his rally. It's hard to listen to presidential candidates talk about what they're going to "change", especially now that I'm a little older and wiser than the last two elections. I wonder if it's just like this for everyone as they get older and see more and more elections. There were a few eighteen-year-olds sitting behind me screaming and freaking out about everything Bernie said. It gave me a wistful feeling, like I was looking at myself eight years ago.

While I felt myself slow-clapping a few times, I still remain wary. However, Bernie said something that stuck with me because it is something I truly believe, no matter how much watching Scandal makes me go all conspiracy theorist in my imagination:

"When we become politically engaged and stand together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish."
I hope our country can find a way to remember that. 

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