What to Expect (From Yoga) When You're Expecting

A local yoga pro reveals the benefits of prenatal yoga

By Allison Jones July 13, 2015 Published in the Health Annual: Summer 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Diego Cervo

Looking for a prenatal class that will help you stay strong, balanced, and informed throughout your pregnancy? Certified Athletic Trainer and yoga instructor Sally Hoesing taps into nearly a decade of birth support as a registered nurse in her new weekend prenatal yoga class at downtown Portland’s Julie Lawrence Yoga Center

Here, she shares her approach to yoga for expecting mothers, including the inside scoop on how certain poses can alleviate nausea, fatigue, back pain, and prenatal anxiety.

Why did you choose to focus on prenatal yoga? I worked at a family birth center after I graduated from nursing school, and I kept noticing women with fearful, deer-in-the-headlights expressions. They would ask, “What is happening to me?” When I left the birth center I wanted to help moms use yoga to learn about their bodies, and feel confident about their abilities before labor started. 

How is prenatal yoga different from other forms? I spend time teaching the anatomy of the pelvic floor, and why Kegels aren’t actually for everybody. I begin approaching the topic of postpartum depression, so moms know not only what to look for in that hazy period of newborn life, but where to turn for help. I teach poses to help alleviate nausea, fatigue, and back pain, enhance what is weak, and release what is too tight—and show them how the poses they’ve been practicing can be used during childbirth.

How close to due dates are women able to practice? Every woman, and every pregnancy, is different. I’ve had a mom show up to practice with me as late as 42 weeks. Some feel more comfortable stopping a physical practice a week or two before their baby is born. The beauty of yoga is that even if some poses no longer work, there is still plenty you can do! 

Looking for more prenatal classes in Portland? Check out Zenana Spa and Wellness, the Bhaktishop, Yoga Shala, Mandala Yoga, and Yoga Pearl. 

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