Yoga body

Except for a little more squish in my midsection and the disappearance of my derriere — a phenomenon known as “mum bum” — the look of my body has returned to its pre-pregnancy state. At least when it’s covered in clothes that… still… mostly… sort of fit.

Cheers for elastic waists!

If you were to see me without a shirt, however, you’d see some remaining marks of pregnancy: The slowly fading stretch marks across the front and sides of my stomach and the super slowly fading linea nigra — the line that some women get from naval to pubic bone during pregnancy. Lucky me, my line started at my rib cage.

And it’s crooked to boot.

Regardless, my body is at its new normal, fully recovered from the C-section with a few scars. Since I’m not pregnant anymore, my body is also yoga-ready!

Or… yoga-able.

baby in a bouncy chair while mom does yoga
What to do with the baby when you want to do yoga… give him his monster and make funny faces at him between chaturangas.

Yoga is like riding a bike. You don’t forget the postures; it’s easy to fall back into the flows.

I expected — and encountered — stiffness, tightness, shakiness. My back doesn’t bend the way it used to. My hamstrings are tightly wound cords. My balance… well, there’s another carryover from pregnancy, but my body still knows what to do.

What I didn’t expect was the awkwardness of my fingers and toes.

When before my toes could hug the mat, gripping it for stabilization and strength, now it’s as if they’re stuck in glue. In yoga, you’re supposed to be able to move through space while grounded — wiggly toes required. When before my fingers could bear the weight of my body in Upward Dog, now they bend and break from the slightest weight of a high Cobra.

It’s amazing what falls apart when you stop practicing.

Instead of going straight back to power yoga, which might kill me, I’ve been doing short flows I collected online while I was pregnant.

A yoga flow by Jennifer Partridge for Thrive Market to banish bloat and improve digestion, which was simple and short…

A “Tone Your Asana” yoga flow for legs and butt by Emily-Clare Hill for Gokker, which was not simple but was short enough that I didn’t die…

…and my new favorite — a metabolism-boosting flow that’s all about balance (and is the flow during which I discovered how weird my toes got).

It feels good to have long legs again, even if they shorten up an hour later. Oh, well. Practice makes perfect.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to go back to my favorite ever power yoga class at the YMCA soon, but I’m not ready to leave my son in the Drop-In Kid Zone while I go to class.

Maybe it’s because he’s my first baby — and my only baby, no one get excited — or maybe it’s because he’s only three months old *sob*, but I am terrified to leave him with anyone other than family.

Insta (42)

Even if only for an hour.

My friends tell me this will pass, and I’ll want to hand him off to the nearest janitor for five minutes’ peace.

Until then, I’ll stay home to do my workouts, and so will Henry.

We do baby yoga all the time :)

35 weeks pregnant the final countdown

PT for pregnancy

I was putting clothes away in our dresser when my husband asked me: “Does your back hurt just all the time?”

From the profile view of my body, not only is my large pregnant belly sticking out in front a major feature — but so is the concave curve of my spine over-exaggerated when I lean.

Pregnancy is not kind on the back.

Around 28 weeks, I complained to my doctor about a pain in my butt and how much of a pain-in-the-butt it was to sit and stand, roll and flip. The only thing that didn’t hurt was walking. She sent me to Palmer Physical Therapy where I got checked out. I was told I had bad posture — not surprising — and that the pregnancy was putting new weight on a poorly cared for spine. Ouch. The weight put pressure on the sciatic nerve — that giant one in the spine, butt and legs — which caused all sorts of nasty pain.

Had I kept up with my weight-lifting workouts and yoga practice — like my doctor told me to — my back might have been strong enough to withstand the extra strain on my spine.

Beachbody Master's Hammer and Chisel workout program
Master’s Hammer and Chisel (because I’m going to get beefy!)

But I didn’t.

So it wasn’t.

Now, here we are.

Guess which exercises I’m allowed to do…

…walking.

Guess which exercises I’m not allowed to do…

…yoga.

Why can’t I do yoga? Yoga sounds like a practice that should, in fairness, help with back pain. But forward bends, Downward Dog, sitting without support… the physical therapist said all these poses were just making the pinch in my spine worse. Even prenatal yoga is bad for my back.

No more yoga while the baby is in the belly.

It’s the suckiest thing ever :(

I went to Palmer’s four times in two weeks to get my spine checked. The left side was worse than the right side so all my PT exercises focused on fixing that pinch — using a towel roll under my left side while rotating my spine to the right, miniature back bends while standing, press ups (which are just going up and down in Cobra Pose).

homemade lumbar support towel roll
My homemade towel roll held together with twine.

I did a really good job doing the rotations three times a day and the back bends once an hour. My Fitbit goes off hourly to remind me. I also did a really good job remembering to ice my lower back three times a day — no lie, the ice pack was the best part. I even switched out chairs with a coworker so I could take the arms off and get as close as possible to my computer station as my belly would allow <– This is no longer possible.

The only thing I couldn’t do were the press ups because I can’t successfully lay on my stomach without the special pregnant lady pillow pad <– This thing is awesome.

I did a really good job.

…for about four weeks.

Then, well, waking up earlier in the morning to do my exercises was sacrificed for sleep, and getting up and down off the floor at work to do the rotations became really hard — I’m the size of a whale — and every time I try to do the standing back bends, I have to pee.

baby laundry
Pre-washed baby clothes successfully stored in his closet or just built dresser!

Plus, we’re so busy all weekend every weekend getting ready for the baby that taking care of myself is becoming less and less of a priority.

So backwards, right?

Now is the best time to be taking care of myself because, in five short weeks, I’ll be taking care of a newborn. (Did you see the cover photo? Five weeks, y’all. And, yes, that’s a cup of cereal sitting on my stomach like a TABLE. Follow me on Instagram for more.) He’s going to take up all sorts of attention! And my back? Well, it’s definitely going to suffer from neglect.

Once I recover from delivery, my goal is to get back in to yoga. Gentle, stretching yoga, with full support — that means sitting in a chair with my towel roll instead of on the floor — to alleviate tight muscles and start building up the strength in my spine.

High hopes I have for postpartum, huh? :)

I also renew my commitment to my PT exercises every day. You know, as soon as I have the crib built, the house cleaned and the Christmas decorations up. (What if he shows up around Christmas, and I don’t have a tree up? Or an ornament? Crap.)

The Internet, in its infinite knowledge, has a bunch of recommendations to relieve pregnancy pain, including sciatic nerve pain:

  • What to Expect has several recommendations (The only one I don’t really agree with is the “warm compress.” I was told to stay away from heat as it can worsen inflammation. Physical therapist’s orders!)
  • Diary of a Fit Mommy — a new favorite blog of mine — has information about kinesiology tape, which can be used for a number of annoying ailments
  • You can also take your chances with WebMD, but I’m not allowed to look at that site anymore because… well, we won’t get in to that…

 

Eka Pada Koundinyanasana II

Eka Pada K… for short, and because Koundinyanasana is too hard to say.

Soon, I will have the strength and balance to do this pose without smashing my face into the ground.

Goals, people.

An injured workout buddy and a blueberry smoothie

My workout buddy is hurt!

Ashley is not sure how she injured her back, but I am convinced it is from our workouts. Probably yoga.

So I feel terrible because I dragged her to yoga, and then her back started hurting.

Perhaps, because she had not hit the gym in a while, any new exercise regimen might cause strain and injury. Recommendations to heal her injury are heat, Ibuprofen and stretching. But no yoga.

I am a horrible friend.

Our workouts together have been working for me, though, and in a fairly unexpected way.

First, while I have not lost any weight, two pairs of dress pants that used to be too tight (well… they used to fit perfectly) are now fitting around my middle and through my thighs like they haven’t in months.

I. Am So. Happy. (And yet still so sad for my sweet Ashley.)

I am still too frightened to test my jeans. Maybe in a few more weeks… after a few more yoga classes… after a few more cycle sessions… Perhaps.

More good news? I shaved 50 seconds off my mile time without training by running. I didn’t run to reduce my time, which didn’t work during my Running Streak, which I barely finished.

I ran an 11:09 mile last week, and I am in shock. How did I do that without running at all? I don’t know, but I’m doing more of it.

In the meantime, here is a delightful smoothie I made for breakfast, and a recipe for another smoothie I hope to slurp down tomorrow.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 whole banana
  • 6 oz. of milk (enough to fill up the rest of your travel mug)
  • 1 tsp. of raw honey

Directions
Blend and enjoy.

It looks lavender!

Blueberry Banana Smoothie Recipe

Obsessed: YOGA STUFF!

I have been obsessed with yoga since my sophomore year in college when I took my first Vinyasa yoga class.

Now, I go to Power Yoga at the YMCA at least once a week.

My obsession with yoga hasn’t traveled much outside the realm of the practice and the poses. I didn’t much care about the mat I used or the clothing I wore…

…but then I saw these babies featured on Diets In Review. (They featured black. I hunted down the pink pair. This chick loves pink. Remember the Adidas shoes?)

Nike Studio Wrap
Photo courtesy Nike, Inc.

These are Nike Studio Wrap shoes. Five-in-one shoes designed for the barefoot, in-studio workout… without the barefoot part.

I. Am. Obsessed.

According to Nike, Inc., the bare foot can slip and slide, and I’ve experienced this during Downward Dog pose where my legs and arms both slowly move farther away from each other on the mat I’ve soaked in sweat. The Nike Studio Wrap acts like a toe shoe without the shoe, and Nike claims that it will be less bunchy than a yoga sock.

Let’s count the pros…

1) My feet aren’t completely bare in public at the YMCA where small children get pink eye.

2) The little sticky bobbers on the soles of the non-shoe will prevent sliding on the mat.

Cons?

It’s still a shoe, and shoes are awful, and I don’t understand the ribbon part. Is that for decoration? Ankle support? I don’t get it.

The Nike Studio Wrap shoes are supposed to have a starting price of $110, which I find ridiculous. I paid $100 for my Brooks running shoes (worth it)! The Nike Studio Wrap is half a shoe so they should be half the price.

I like my logic. I don’t think Nike would appreciate it, though.

The wrap shoes seem like they might make a functional addition to my yoga practice, but I have no intention of purchasing a pair until I’ve read extensive reviews and seen them in action.

I have to wait until Spring.

Dang it.

Do you use a yoga shoe or sock? What luck have you had? What price tag have you paid? (I’m so stingy.)

My desk job might be killing me

I love my job.

I hate my desk.

Did you know your desk might be killing you? I am pretty sure my desk is killing me.

I dropped by my friend Jordan’s house last weekend to pick up the jewelry I ordered at her party. We had barista-made mochas and a fun talk about work and weight gain.

We were talking about Halloween costumes in preparation for her upcoming Halloween party. I told her I’m going to be Lady Rambo so I can wear sweat pants because most of my other pants don’t fit right, and she said: “Desk job.”

I agreed with her.

She’s been in the working world longer than I have, and she understood why I hate my desk.

Sitting at a desk all day is awful, and my desire to exercise usually occurs midday. We’ve already discussed why I can’t get sweaty in the middle of the day, but I have to do something to satisfy my need to move in the middle of the day.

I found six stretches that every desk worker should do throughout the day to loosen stiff muscles and prevent excess strain on the neck, shoulders and back. Every stretch highlighted in the guide is a move we do in my Power Yoga class.

Speaking of Power Yoga…

I am often absent to my Power Yoga class. When I show up for a day, I’m sure everyone is like: “Whoa! She’s still alive.”

I attended last Saturday, and I felt like a BEAST. Maybe it was because we had a substitute instructor, and he went a little easier on us than Jill usually does. No matter! I destroyed that yoga class!

Yoga does, however, highlight glaringly all of my “trouble spots.” Reverse Warrior… Side Angle Pose… Any and all twists… My waistline addition is very obvious (to me, no one else is paying attention) when I try to do those moves.

Obvious and uncomfortable.

I’m used to moving parts of my body to get into a yoga pose. Usually around my chest area, but I cannot move my core to make a yoga pose work.

It’s my core.

It doesn’t go places.

I’m working on my waistline now. Working hard to get it whittled away back to a healthy circumference, one that works with yoga poses I used to love.

Wish me luck!

 

Weight gain… it happens

Remember when I lost 10 pounds?

Well, I found them.

They came back, and they brought friends.

Yay…

It is so easy to fall back into old habits. I fell back into my old habits: eating too much dairy, drinking too many of my calories and sitting around on my behind… a lot.

And it is so hard to get back to the good habits: like avoiding food you’re allergic to, drinking less and not sitting… a lot.

However, I also believe that it isn’t too hard to enjoy eating a well-balanced diet and to enjoy running and yoga when you’re doing it.

Does that make sense?

For example, last week, I went to the gym three whole times. Go me. I haven’t been to the gym in forever. I haven’t really worked out in forever. But I ran on the treadmill. I lifted some weights. I did some yoga.

And I loved it.

My legs were tired after half a mile. My shoulders were sore after one set of push-ups. My wrists and ankles were weak after 20 seconds of plank.

I L.O.V.E.D. it.

Another example: Apples are not in season in the summer, which is fine, whatever. I still buy apples and eat them… but they’re gross. They taste like cardboard so I never really eat the whole thing. I am missing out on my apples. I LOVE APPLES.

I fell out of fitness, but I know I can fall right back into it, and I know I’ll love it just like I have before. I fell out of my healthy eating habits, but I know I can fall right back into them, and I know I’ll love the way I feel when I do.

So here is my pep talk.

Get up. Get back. Get fit.

I can do it. I did once before.