If you're expecting a baby, hopefully you've heard about the benefits of yoga for pregnancy, labor, and delivery. If you can't find any prenatal yoga classes near you, then try a prenatal yoga DVD, like this one, Prenatal Yoga With Desi Bartlett ($15). This flowing, gentle, 45-minute yoga practice is designed to be used through all three trimesters.
It begins with a sweet, two-minute meditation to help connect with your breath and your baby. The meditation is followed by 10 minutes of postures on the floor that gently begin to open your hips to increase flexibility and strength in your core. This sequence moves quite slowly, but it's really relaxing. Desi then leads you through 20 minutes of standing postures that include — as you'd guess — lots of squats and hip opening postures such as Goddess and Warrior 2, which are good preps for labor. I like that she included modified push-ups to strengthen your upper body, "which you will need for carrying your little one in your arms." There's also 10 minutes of restorative poses on the floor, using blankets and blocks.
I really enjoyed Desi's gentle nature, her encouraging voice, and how she held poses for a long time so you could really experience the sensations in your body. I remember pregnancy being a time for inner reflection, and this DVD is a great way to allow for some much-needed time to yourself.
To see a video clip of Prenatal Yoga,
If you have never tried yoga before your pregnancy, be sure to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.