The Mothers Circle… it’s for YOU

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Becoming a mother is a transformative and life-changing event. This six week series is offered so that you can connect with your journey through birth and motherhood with the four quadrants of human experience: Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit.

Sarah Caldwell is a therapist with the Healing Group and she will be guiding the group through the 4D Wheel, based on the work of Gina Odgen which uses the native american medicine wheel as the foundation for healing and processing difficult experiences. I’ll be leading the movement portion of the sessions- yoga, breathwork, meditation and sound healing.

This isn’t just for those of us that had a rough BIRTH experience, it’s for anyone that has been pregnant, given birth and stepped into the role of MOTHER. There is far more to the experience than just the few days around the birth! Any part of this journey can be challenging and maybe those struggles are still sticking with you. This series is designed to help women move through the emotions and feelings that come during the birth years in a supportive, nurturing and compassionate way.

Does any of this describe your experience?
A high-risk pregnancy
Pregnancy after loss(es)
Body image concerns
Unexpected birth outcomes
Painful birth experiences
Birth injury
Postpartum depression or anxiety
Long-term physical recovery
Nursing struggles
Family/relationship issues
Career challenges
Feelings of resentment, loss, fear or anger about the changes that come along with bringing home a new baby and taking on a new role…

We get it. Really- we’ve been there too. Which is why we’re offering this opportunity for women to join together and release what’s been building up. It’s ok if things were hard. It’s ok if you’re still upset about it. It’s ok to move through it and find peace and joy once again.

Space is limited to 6 participants in order to create a safe and caring environment. Don’t worry- everyone else is going to cry too! Come with all you’ve got, we’ll work the wheel and surround you with love.

Registration is now open for the next session beginning March 16th on Thursday evenings from 7-9 pm. Contact Alicia for more information.

Little Tot Landing visits Mommy and Me class

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Check out the latest blog from Little Tot Landing to get a mamas perspective on the postnatal/mommy and me class as well as a postnatal yoga Q & A with Utah Prenatal Yoga. This lovely ray of sunshine and her darling babes have been so much fun to have in class! It’s one of the things I love most about teaching: meeting amazing women and the angels they bring earthside.

BABY study at the U of U

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Have you ever wondered if your baby knows what you’re thinking? I have! That’s why I find this study so exciting. The University of Utah Child Adaptation and Neurodevelopment Lab (CAN) is conducting a study on baby affect and behavior. The BABY study will examine how a first-time pregnant woman’s mood is related to her newborn’s behavior! How cool is that? You can participate in this study if you are a first-time mom, expecting one baby and planning to deliver at the University of Utah hospital. There is compensation for participation and it’s pretty simple: One prenatal visit to the lab and a follow-up visit with you at the hospital after your baby arrives.

It’s really encouraging to see more interest and effort given to women and children’s health during the birth year. I look forward to seeing what information this study provides and applying it to prenatal yoga and preparing for birth. One of the things I love about teaching prenatal yoga is that I get to meet a lot of really neat women. I heard about this study because a mama in class is one of the principal investigators- Elisabeth Conradt, PhD. Thanks, Liz! We love what you do and want to support your efforts.

If you are eligible and interested in participating contact the CAN lab project coordinator at 801-581-6468 or at canlab@utah.edu.

Please share with your mama friends so we can all learn more about how we connect and impact each other… even in the womb!

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The NEW Cat-Cow

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If you’ve ever been to the internet, you know there is a lot. When it comes to prenatal yoga there is an abundance of posts (blogs, pins, instagrams) that suggest that the “Cat-Cow” is a great exercise for pregnant women. I’m going to get crazy and go against the internet here…

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In the years that I’ve been teaching prenatal yoga I have also touted this as a great option for mamas. In an effort to offer the best and most up-to-date information to my students I continually seek out new information, training and education about pregnancy, anatomy and alignment. During one of my last teacher trainings one of the (very educated and experienced) teachers in my class created a great discussion about how the traditional cat-cow was actually very poor alignment for the neck and spine. I spent several months thinking about it, trying out new options, bouncing ideas off my peers and mentors and testing it out with my pregnant yoga students. I’ve finally arrived at a NEW way of doing the cat-cow.

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Here’s the scoop (hehe)… In the traditional “cow” position there is way too much strain as the neck pulls back and the spine shifts into a highly exaggerated curve. Additionally, this excessive arch in the back pushes the belly forward more than is reasonable for an expecting mama. Overstretching the belly can lead to a separation of the Linea Alba and possibly Diastasis Recti. When I started “shape shifting” this pose I realized I would NEVER asked a pregnant woman to do the actions of the traditional cat cow if they were sitting in a chair, standing up etc.

The traditional “cat” position has some issues too. The rounding in the upper back and neck puts pressure on the spine in the opposite direction of the way it’s meant to carry our weight load. The force needed to draw the mid and lower back up in to an arch requires far more abdominal engagement than is appropriate for the pregnant belly. And, to where are they going to draw in the belly as they arch the back? The space is occupied! One of my favorite mentors, a highly respected PT, calls this type of movement “over-efforting”. Indeed. It’s possible that this extreme engagement of the core can also lead to separation of the abdominal tissue as well.

Don’t throw out the cat-cow with the bath water, there is a solution! The New Cat-Cow. My intention for teaching this movement has always been to increase mobility in the pelvis and the hips. This can still be achieved, I think more effectively, by keeping the neck and shoulders in a neutral position while the hips take the lead on the movement. The opening, releasing, stretching and mobility is still there, but the unnecessary actions in the neck and shoulders are eliminated.

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Give it a try. If you’ve been doing the old cat-cow it will take some getting used to. The response and feedback I’ve received from my students is overwhelmingly in favor of the New Cat Cow. I hear things like “it feels so much better”, “I didn’t like the way it felt when I arched my back the old way, it cut off my breath”, “the new way doesn’t stretch my belly out so much” and “I get more movement in my hips because I’m not messing around with my neck”.
There you have it. When you see those posts that show pictures of mamas in the extreme (old) version of cat-cow, just… don’t. If you already did, it’s ok! You can change your approach now. Remember I said that I TAUGHT the old cat-cow for years in my prenatal yoga classes? Rather than stress out over that, I remind myself of the wise words from Maya Angelou: When we know better, we do better.
Om!
Alicia

Why you should register for Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training

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Colie Belieu, RYT-200, RPYT tells us why she thinks the Utah Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training program is a good idea!

“I had the fundamental yoga teaching materials from my initial 200 hour Teacher Training and had been teaching for three years when I signed up for the Utah Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. I had built confidence and experience through my teaching, however the training gave me the tools to improve my teaching 150%. Alicia is a phenomenal teacher who is highly educated in the skills and techniques of teaching, specifically with the prenatal students, which she passes on to future teachers in her training with grace and eloquence. The training reinforces the fundamentals taught in a 200 Teacher Training, as well as equips you with building blocks to further grow your teaching and your business as a teacher. I now feel confident and comfortable teaching my prenatal mamas with classes themed and designed specifically for the prenatal body. If you have an interest in becoming educated in prenatal specific teaching as well as furthering your knowledge, skills and education as a Yoga Teacher, you will want to take this training.”

Colie completed her training and practicum for the RPYT designation in 2016 and is currently offering prenatal yoga classes in Park City, Utah. You can check out her offerings at barenecessitiesyoga.com

Mom, is this a yoga thing?

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My kids have seen me do yoga. A lot. Everywhere. Mostly they paid no attention to it. But there came a day when they started showing some interest in what I was doing. They asked about it, they tried out the poses, they got bored and wandered off to the next thing. One day my youngest son struck the most outrageous pose- something in between down dog and scorpion- and asked me “Mom! is this a yoga thing?” and so it began….
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I love the times I can get a photo of them doing “yoga things” but mostly I love that they have seen and participated in something that means so much to me. I hope they keep up with the yoga things, and if they don’t at least I’ve got a few great photos of how we were in these sweet and youthful days.

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Do your little ones do yoga things? Follow Utah Prenatal Yoga on Instagram and use #momisthisayogathing? when you share the photos you are able to capture