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Yoga for Life....Changes

Pregnant woman doing yoga

January 2017 is all about loving your body at Love Your Body. So, we are thrilled that our friends at Tree House Yoga have agreed to do a series of blog posts for our series Happy Body! In this week's post, Purvi (Patel) Lippincott writes about adjusting your yoga practice to embrace your body's changes, whether being pregnant, recovering from injury or experiencing new aches and pains. See below for her full bio.

It doesn’t take carrying a baby or giving birth to need to modify our practice. You might have new or long-standing aches and pains in the body as you recover from surgery, an accident or a big race. Whatever the situation you should listen to your body and adjust as needed.

These tips and techniques are for anyone looking to modify their general practice to accommodate life changes. This is stuff I have picked up along the way in my 5-ish years of teaching, trainings and most recently as a growing, soon-to-be-mama. If you have any issues with back, legs or any other part of the body you may consider changing some of your practice to better serve you. What I have learned along the way is pushing doesn’t make for progress and more often than not it leads to injury. Most importantly, if you are looking for modifications to accommodate your practice as life calls for us to be flexible (yoga joke!) these are the top three things that have worked for me and my students.

*Please note, I am not trained in Prenatal Yoga. For pregnant women, if you can get to a prenatal class that’s fantastic. I often need to make my practice fit my scattered schedule + getting to a specific Prenatal Class is not usually an option for me.

  1. Twisting takes space and sometimes we just don’t have any extra room. A posture such as Chair, High or Low Lunge can be intensified and deepened with a twist, prayer twist is one of the deepest and common variations. If you don’t have room with a growing womb, modifying is a great option. You can still get the benefits from twisting without needing to go so deep for times when range of movement is limited. You can modify by simply keeping the arms long. Protect your pelvic muscles (and a growing placenta for mamas!) by maintaining extension here. Arms reaching in opposite direction works great and you can keep the integrity of the twist. Focus on keeping the sensations in the upper part of the torso and less about turning deeply from the waist.

  2. Core is in every pose. Core focused movements can be just as powerful when we modify them from a reclined position. For pregnant women your growing uterus (early in the second trimester) starts to become heavy enough to put pressure on your vena cava, When spending long periods lying on your back this may reduce blood flow from your lower limbs to your heart and it can lead to placental separation. Try a seated posture with deep breathing techniques focusing on abdominal engagement. Bridge lifts are a great option for activating core while strengthening the butt and hips. Dolphin to forearm plank, my personal favorite, removes pressure from the wrists and asks for full core activation.

  3. Savasana. This marks the end of your asana practice do yourself a favor and choose your most comfortable pose. Low back pain is common, there is no need to suffer through it. Simply put, forcing a pose sucks. Forcing corpse pose sucks even more. This is one of the most difficult poses because we practice stillness and turn deeply inward for 5-15 minutes. If your low back hurts in this pose it can be even more challenging. You can prop a bolster on a couple blocks and recline on this, if available. If you can’t do that, lying on your left side with a blanket, towel or your arm gently under the head to elevate it works great.

Don’t force or coerce the pose, it’s most important to find steadiness in mind and body.

Love & light - Purvi

About Purvi:

Purvi (Patel) Lippincott has been practicing yoga long before she even knew what it was. Growing up in the Hindu culture she had an instilled sense of spirituality and a deep connection with the yogic culture. These beliefs coupled with an innate draw to yoga, Purvi started digging in to an asana practice in 2007. Eventually, her love for yoga expanded beyond her mat and she completed her teacher training. Most recently completing her 500 hour advanced training in Kerala, India. She has been practicing since 2007 and teaching since 2012.

Purvi really appreciates the community aspect of yoga and you’ll often find her teaching and taking classes around Indianapolis. She has two dogs, is a a music fanatic and loves to laugh.

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