Yoga & Pregnancy: What NOT to do (video!)

I made this video months back after being in yoga classes (regular group mind you, NOT prenatal), and being dismayed that some instructors are not giving the pregnant ladies special attention (or modifications!).  I wasn’t particularly worried for myself,  as I was aware of what NOT to do, but a few times I had another preggo in the class and was definitely concerned for them. One time in particular, I wanted to walk over and say “Please, stop doing that!,” to a mom-to-be who was taking class as if she wasn’t carrying a 7+ month fetus.

Problem viewing video? Click here to view on Youtube! 

Bottom line is, yoga is great during pregnancy, but in a standard group class, we typically can’t not rely on the instructor to guide us through the whole time. Many of them don’t even know enough about pre-natal yoga to offer great modifications as the standard RYT (registered yoga teacher) does a brief study on it, but not nearly enough (which is why pre-natal teachers have separate trainings.)

That being said, mamas-to-be, please arm yourself with knowledge before jumping in a regular group class. Or, better yet, take a few prenatal classes to get going on the right track. Regardless, here are some clear NO, NOs from me to you. Ultimately, remember to listen to your body, and don’t push it (no, matter what anyone says). Take care of yourself and baby!

Disclaimer: Always talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. 

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Core Fusion Mommy & Me At Exhale Spa

mommy & me core fusionFor those of you who read this blog regularly, you know one of my complaints is the lack of really good workout options that provide childcare here in NYC (it still blows my mind that more don’t exist). Unless you want to join select Equinox clubs or another big box gym with a child care center (usually at an additional cost), you’re likely to be looking at hiring a sitter to hit up your favorite yoga, spin or barre class.  However, ExhaleSpa is one spot that has answered my mommy prayers and offers a Mommy & Me Core Fusion class– combining a kick-butt workout and a pretty great childcare solution.

Unlike most mommy & me exercise classes (yawn), Exhale’s Core Fusion Mommy & Me focuses more on giving mom a great workout while letting our little ones  join in, socialize or just entertain themselves (and each other). It’s a typical challenging barre class, except you might see a toddler (Aria!) pulling down all the balls off the bars, or another group of littles stacking yoga blocks in the middle of the room. Oh, and of course there’s always a few pre-walkers hanging out laying on mats or snoozing in a stroller.

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Rachel Nicks is an amazing instructor and provides a tough workout, but also goes above and beyond by being extra attentive to mom & baby alike. She’s clearly an incredible multi-tasker, calling out (and doing) sequences but never skipping a beat when walking over to wipe a runny nose or pick up a disgruntled toddler. The workout itself is one of the best I can find. Barre classes have always gotten the best of me, and I’ll admit that there are time I use Aria as an excuse when it starts to really burn (…”what’s that love, you want me to get your sippy cup?”)

For now, Mommy-and- Me Core Fusion is offered only at the ExhaleSpa in the meatpacking district on select Monday mornings. Make sure to check their online schedule and get your little one ready to play while you suffer… I mean kill it! 

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Baby It’s Cold Outside: Great NYC Classes & Programs For Toddlers (that won’t break the bank)

So, it’s FREEZING here in NYC again, and that means no braving it on the playground (although we’ve been known to do it when no other kids would dare!) Having the temps drop, means having to figure out indoor spots to entertain the littles. Here are a few of my neighborhood favorites (& ways to save when visiting).

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CMA– The Children’s Museum of Art offers classes and activities for children of all ages. Toddlers can paint, color, play in their bouncy ball gym and enjoy creative art exhibits.  Thursday afternoons are “pay as you wish” and a perfect opportunity to visit and check out the offerings.

Karma Kids Yoga: I LOVE my yoga and Karma Kids has the most offerings for the little ones. With two studios centrally located not far from Union Square, they offer kids yoga and dance classes, mommy & me and pre-natal classes, and fun events and themed classes  like Shark Yoga  and Pajama Glow-In-The-Dark Yoga.  They also have a great FREE story time twice a week and discounted community classes. 

Integral Yoga: Another great yoga class for kids. Instructor Lakshmi Pidel takes toddlers (and moms) through simple poses using singing, music and props to enliven the experience. Classes are 45 minutes and just under $20. You can also try it out for FREE (first timers only), and the studio is included in my favorite yogi money saving resource, the Yoga Passbook, so you can access two more classes using that.

NY Public Library: The NYPL offers a variety of toddler and baby classes and story times. The Hudson Park branch used to be our go-to (they had a great big play area with lots of toys), but they  are closed for renovations until spring (hmgh) so we’ve been heading over to Jefferson Market for story time which is a fun hour of stories and crafts. Libraries throughout the city are a great FREE resource and programs are offered throughout the year.

YMCA: I wish I had known all the great stuff the Y offers sooner! They have programs for kids– from swim to dance to pre-school prep classes, all at a very competitive price– in fact cheaper than anywhere else around the city. You can sign up for classes alone (most require commitment for a term), or join as a member and take advantage of the gym, pool and other amenities. My local Y is super nice with state of the art work out equipment, group fitness classes and (most importantly) Child Watch services that allow parents to drop off their little ones to be watched while they work out…for free.

City Find: Yoga At A Deep Discount

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So, Oma came in the other day and gave me a break from the little one.  Since no yoga studios seem to offer child care, the first thing I do when I am baby free is try and get in a class. My go-to is PURE, but seeing as I only had a limited time I decided to stay downtown (much to my chagrin PURE has yet to venture down to the best part of NY city).  I had also purchased the Yoga Pass Book (one of the best deals in the city) and still had a slew of studios to check out before it expires at the end of the year.

Aria and I had spent the morning on the playground in Washington Square Park (btw– Aria seems to have graduated from the little toddler playground there to the big kids one — but I love that there are two options),  so when my mom met us, I decided to head over to Yoga Vida, which is just a few blocks away.  Because the timing worked, I ended up going to a “50/50 Community Class” which is “pay as you wish” (awesome), and also has the studio contributing 50% of the class proceeds to charity (even more awesome). That being said, I ended up not even using the Yoga Pass Book pass and just paid my way.  (Side-note: bring your mat or a few extra dollars because they rent their mats– kinda weird but OK)

The class itself is taught by a teacher who is in or has just graduated from their teacher training, which I am all about having gone through it myself.  I found the flow good and the studio space is great (spacious with lots of light and great floors). The only drawback is they are right on Broadway, so you do hear the occasion truck horn or subway rumbling down. Once the music was on it was all good, and the whole thing was totally worthwhile.

So next time your looking for a low cost yoga session and a way to give back, check out Yoga Vida. They have two locations downtown (one on University and one on Broadway), and offer an array of classes (community classes typically are at 2pm). For more info head to www.yogavida.com. OM on!

yoga vida

I Pick Up Moms On The Playground

Seriously, I do. Or at Starbucks, or at the park, or on the street corner.  Gone are the days of scoping out the hot guy across the room at Soho House, I’m now passing off my number to new moms. It’s just something about that baby carriage that can’t keep me away.

So, yes, I am naturally social, but as a new mom you need to be— for your sanity. My biggest piece of advice for those new to the club (including Carol who I chatted up this morning over my Blond Roast) is find other new moms who get what you’re going through (your single friends will not– believe me.)

My mom-group kinda saved me those first few months. I had gotten hooked in because a fellow mom blogger (Arielle) and I chatted each other up on the corner of 7th & Bleeker, exchanged info and planned a (play) date. She had already met a fab group of new moms through the neighborhood Parent’s Association (check those out too), and our weekly play dates, lunches, swim lessons, library runs, etc kept me sane.

So next time a mom on the playground catches your eye, go over and say hello. You never know where it could go.