Ep172: The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation During Pregnancy with Peloton Instructor Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts

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This episode is being supported by Bamboobies. Check out their amazing reusable nursing pads at bamboobies.com.

So y’all I’mma be honest. I was straight fangirling about recording this interview. Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts is an internationally-celebrated Peloton yoga teacher and scholar. I’ve done dozens and dozens of Chelsea’s yoga and meditation classes so it was really special for me to be able to chat with her. She’s currently 30 weeks pregnant and has some really special insight about how yoga and meditation have helped her along the way.

The number one thing I’d like for you to take away from this episode is that yoga and meditation are for EVERYONE. Yes, that means you. You don’t have to come to the mat looking a certain way or be super flexible. Just start. Make the practice your own and find what feels good for you. 

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What inspired Chelsea to shift from being an elementary school teacher to getting a PhD and becoming a yoga and meditation instructor
  • How yoga helped her manage stress as a school teacher
  • What inspired her to introduce mindfulness to the classroom and what the outcomes were
  • How yoga can have a positive impact on kids
  • What kind of training Chelsea went through to become an instructor
  • What the benefits of yoga are during pregnancy specifically
  • How yoga has helped Chelsea with her own changing body during pregnancy
  • What the benefits are of simply breathing and being present
  • How and why Chelsea incorporates all different genres of music into her classes

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

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Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:00): This episode is all things yoga, meditation, and pregnancy with renowned Peloton instructor, Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts. And this episode is being supported by Bamboobies. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:58): Hello. Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 172. As always, I am so glad that you are spending some of your time with me today. In today's episode, we have Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts. She is an internationally celebrated Peloton yoga teacher and scholar. She's highly regarded as a leader and a new generation of Yogi. She's so passionate about making yoga and meditation accessible to everyone. She's widely recognized for her work with yoga in teens. Chelsea founded yoga literature and art camp at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in 2014, which later birthed her nonprofit, Red Clay Yoga and side note. We share being graduates of Spelman College in common. Now, while she has been a part of Peloton for the past two years, she has actually honed her style of yoga over nearly two decades. And that style includes a blend of contemporary hip hop, electronic and R & B with Asana.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (02:01): She has toured the world as a global yoga ambassador for Lululemon. She's collaborated with the national institutes of Health, Starbucks, and the NFL, and has also graced the cover of Yoga Journal twice. Chelsea's celebrity supporters and clientele include Jennifer Garner, Shonda Rhimes, and Janelle Monet and her infectious smile and patient yet inspirational tone add to her magic, a spell that deepens the connection with her students, as well as her over 240,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts under Chelsea loves yoga. So y'all, I'm gonna be honest. I was straight fangirling about recording this interview. I have done dozens and dozens of Chelsea's yoga and meditation classes, and never could have imagined that I'd be interviewing her. So it was really, really special for me to be able to chat with her today. And we talk about her journey from being an elementary school teacher, to getting a PhD and becoming a yoga and meditation instructor.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (03:07): We talk about the benefits of yoga and meditation in pregnancy, as well as in life, we talk about her unique approach to yoga. For example, she does gospel yoga. She does trap yoga flows y'all and then how yoga has helped her with her changing body during pregnancy. And then we also touch upon things like how parenting yourself is a part of yoga, a concept. She talks about a lot in her classes and in her work, the both, and, and then she gives some really outstanding advice at the end of the episode, you are going to absolutely love it. I promise now, before we get into the episode, let me tell you a bit about this episode supporter, Bamboobies. Bamboobies was created by a real life mom who was frustrated at the lack of reusable and comfortable nursing pads. And what Bamboobies does is it combines smart design with baby and mom friendly materials to provide worry free, effective products that support and empower every mom at every stage of her motherhood journey.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (04:14): Now, speaking about their washable nursing pads in particular, the Bamboobies pads provide leak protection all day, all night with a super soft seamless design and leakproof liner. It is the number one sustainable washable nursing pad. It's designed with super soft velour that is made from renewable bamboo, which is great for the environment. Now the heart shaped pads cup your breast so they are less visible under clothing, no matter your cup size, whereas the round shape pads allow for more surface area protection. Those are great for overnight protection. They're soft and comfortable on sensitive skin too. So check out all the products from Bamboobies at bambboobies.com. That's B A M B O O B I E S.com. All right. Let's get into our conversation with Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (05:15): Well, thank you so much, Chelsea, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am so excited to chat with you today about yoga, meditation and pregnancy.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (05:24): Same here, Nicole. Thank you for having me.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (05:27): Yeah. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your work?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (05:31): Sure. So I am Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts. I share the doctor part because there are a lot of educators out there who, um, may go into education and may think that there's only one path with that education trajectory. And so I kind of took the untraditional path and I'm a former elementary school teacher. I taught, um, first, second and third grade, but mostly third graders. And during that time, I, you know, felt overwhelmed. Um, I, if you have educators, um, teachers out there listening, I know they can relate. I know that we're headed back to school right now. And so for me, it was important to still stay true to what it was that I was passionate about, and that was education. And so when I was an educator or still an educator, when I was a public school teacher, I started practicing yoga a lot more regularly. I ventured into it right after I graduated from Spellman.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (06:35): Yes, yes. Shout out to the HBCUs.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (06:37): Yes, yes. And so I, I started right after then and, um, I just noticed a change in my own life. And I said, well, what would happen if I started introducing this into the classroom? And it wasn't like a full on yoga class. Sure. We didn't even really call it yoga. It was mindful moments or, you know, just taking a moment to breathe, to stretch. And so later on in life, I decided I wanted to look into this a lot more. And so I decided to pursue a PhD at Emory University in educational studies where I focused on the ways in which yoga and meditation and mindful practices impact how young people, particularly young girls of color, who self-identify as such, how it impacted not only how they navigated school, but their relationships, life. And, you know, the rest is history. Now I'm at Peloton as a Peloton yoga and meditation instructor. And most, a lot of people will say, so how did you decide to, you know, leave being in the classroom altogether? And for me, it's the same type of offering, just a different setting. And for me, I wanna cast the widest net as possible for people to have access to the practice of yoga and meditation. And so now I'm just a teacher in a different way. That's my story. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (08:02): Yeah, yeah. And I can relate to taking a different path. I'm a physician now an OB GYN. Okay. But my undergraduate, my undergraduate majors were math and mechanical engineering. Wow. And, um, yeah. And then I can also relate to educators. I come from a family of educators. My mom taught math for 50 years. My sister's an assistant principal. So, you know, all of the things I have a cousins, aunts who are principals, so I'm sort of the oddball in that regard. So I have a special soft spot for educators too. Cause there's certainly underappreciated. All right. So what type of training did you go through in order to become a yoga and meditation uh, instructor?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (08:43): Yeah, so initially it was a 200 hour teacher's training. I had studied in Atlanta where my husband and I Shane met and I had started, you know, after doing the 200 hours, I started practic, I mean, teaching practicing of course, but teaching more like on the weekends, in the evenings after I was finished teaching school and I didn't feel exhausted or depleted, it was actually something I looked forward to because it was what I used to kind of, you know, decompress from the day. And so sure it was something about being able to share that with people in my community. That was really great. And so from that point forward, I, um, just continued to further my education with continuing education classes, more trainings, I'm trained in yoga NDRA, which is the practice of really allowing the entire nervous system, the body to relax. I studied under, um, instructor, Tracy Stanley. Um, and so I, I got trained in youth, um, yoga and meditation for youth and I just cont I'm a, I'm a lifelong learner. So you are probably not ever gonna not see me in some way in ti in a school setting.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (09:54): So yes, I hear you. Yeah. And, and I ask all of my guests, their training and education, because I think it's important to see how folks are so serious and passionate and committed to their work and continuing to improve it and have that sort of inner drive and push to just do better and bring your best self to your work. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So what type of yoga do you focus on specifically? Is there a specific type and if so, why?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (10:24): Yeah. I mean, honestly I am a hatha yoga teacher, and that is really the umbrella in which any type of yoga, pretty much that you hear about lives under, you know, there's different, you know, Ashtanga, there's Vinyasa, there's, you know, all of these dynamic types of, um, practices. And then I mentioned just now yoga nidra, which is what I love, um, the deep relaxation aspects of yoga. And I do that because it's what I needed. It's what I need each and every day, even after teaching yoga, I need to have some type of practice that allows my body to be held. I, um, I say that a lot, allowing our bodies to be held, to be supported. And so I just know in this world where, especially where we live, um, I'm in New York city, but in the US in particular where we are constantly producing, constantly multitasking, we need, we are yearning for those spaces and outlets that we can just say, you know what, all I, all I have the capacity for today is just to breathe. Yes. And so I love to specialize, um, in deep relaxation yoga practices and meditations as well.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (11:38): Nice. Love it. Love it. Love it. So let's talk about yoga, meditation and pregnancy. So do you think it's important to have both a yoga and a meditation practice?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (11:50): Yeah. So yoga meditation go hand in hand. So when I think about yoga, I think about this physical aspect by definition, yoga means to unite, to join to yoke. And so essentially what we're doing is connecting our body, our mind, our breath, our heart, so that when we go out into the world into action, we're coming from a more grounded and anchored place. So we're learning how to be present, whether it's through our body, doing motions, movements, Asana, what we call it in yoga. And then with meditation, although meditation is primarily focused on the breath, there are different types of meditations. I mentioned yoga nidra is a meditation. There's visualization. There's, um, you know, you can count backwards just as long as in meditation, you have this one point of focus. And one of the things that has been the most challenging part for me, as well as my students that I hear is like, I just can't get my mind to turn off.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (12:50): Yes. You know, to settle down. Yes. I'm very distracted. And so when we couple this moving meditation together with that meditation, sometimes that allows our body to let go to discharge as the things that we've accumulated through the day. So that's why I love the practice of physical yoga in addition to meditation. Because if it is a challenge for you to just sit still, which right. We're human, it is hard. Absolutely. It gives us a chance for us to discharge and let go. Um, of anything that you know, is taking over our nervous system at the time. So yes. All of that to say yes. I think that it is essential for us to find opportunities to do that. I know that, um, you know, as a physician yourself, you have probably studied a lot about the nervous system. And I think about the studies that were done, you know, out in the wild, out in the forest with possums in particular.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (13:49): And when they, you know, were in danger, they would, um, when they got outta danger and they went through that fight flight or freeze, and then they knew that they were safe, they used to, they used to, they still do it. They begin to shake and it's like, they're shaking so that they can reset their nervous system back to the state that it was before the trauma happened. And I know that as a human being, we go through traumas both small and large, daily, over time, abrupt, like whatever it may be. And so I think as a parent, which I'm just embarking on that journey, myself, it's just like, I know that there are gonna be twists and turns along that journey to where I'm gonna be like, I need to, you know, reset this entire body, mind and my spirit. So yes. Yoga meditation for the parents out there.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (14:42): Yes. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And one of the things that I love about, um, you know, what you talk about in, in your classes and teachings is things like you don't have to be perfect. Like sometimes like your mind may wander just gently bring it back, or you don't for yoga, it's it, you can come to it, however you come to it. And some days you may be ready to, you know, really go full throttle. Some days you can just, it's gonna be the, the most basic of things. You just bring yourself to the practice and do the best you can in the moment.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (15:18): Yes. Yes, absolutely. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (15:22): Yeah. So why don't we talk about, um, some of the benefits of yoga specifically during pregnancy. So what are two or three benefits of yoga that you believe are important during pregnancy specifically?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (15:35): Yeah. I love one of my favorite aspects of yoga is this focus on the breath. It's like, even if what I love about yoga is that even though I think that there's a misconception about like who yoga is for what a yogi is, what a Yogi looks like, the body type. If you have to be super flexible at the end of the day, it's really about allowing yourself to be present. And so one of the benefits for me that I found is being present. I'm able to focus my, my mind, my body, everything on my breath. So oftentimes you've practiced with me on Peloton, I will just start in the first minute of let's just sit here for a moment and take a deep breath, just so that we can take survey of, you know, the things that we've experienced throughout the day, the things that we no longer wanna carry, even if it's just for the 30 minutes of doing the yoga class.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (16:28): And so one of the benefits is practicing, being present, being present to how your body feels, how your mind feels and really without judgment. And I think that the more that we practice it, it's not gonna happen overnight where we're just like, oh, I'm not gonna judge that. You know, that wasn't the best yoga practice I've ever had. But I think that the more that we have opportunities to be attuned with our, our body and our mind and our heart and our spirit and whatever you wanna name it, the more opportunities we have to practice to do exactly what you said, just said to let go of the perfection, to let go of, you know, thinking that it's only gonna be a good session. If I can get through this many poses or do it for this long time, sometimes we only have five minutes.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (17:14): And so the benefit for me is allowing myself to be present so that I can make a clear decision on how I wanna move into the next phase of the day, of the week, of my life. Um, another benefit for me has been just this cultivating honesty with myself, um, and yoga. There is a sacred text called patanjali's yoga sutra, and in it is very much this, um, almost this framework for how to live a conscious life and in the yamas and the ne yamas, one of the yamas is about, um, non-violence so being kind and patient to ourselves. So when I step onto the mat, I make an agreement with myself, Chelsea, you are going to be kind and patient with yourself through this practice, but I'm also being so aware that I'm also grounded in the truth of what I need. And I don't need. One day I may think that I'm gonna come in and do this super dynamic practice where I think I'm gonna end in a full sweat, or maybe I'm just gonna curl up in the fetal position and allow myself to let it go for a day.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (18:19): Yes, yes.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (18:22): And so, you know, I think that one of the benefits is, you know, the more that we're present with what our body needs in the moment or does not need the more we can stay grounded in the truth and walk through this world, move through this world with integrity.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (18:37): Yes. Yes. And that can be really important. In pregnancy when you're going through so many changes physically, mentally, to have that place and that space where you can connect and stay grounded. For sure. Yes. Um, how do you feel? Does meditation offer similar benefits or more benefits? What type of be benefits have meditation, uh, brought during pregnancy?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (19:00): Yeah, again, it's the same. I think that meditation, you know, I started meditation after I started practicing yoga and again, meditation is challenging. Like, I love it when a student for the first time experiences meditation. And they're just like, I just can't turn my mind off. I just cannot let it go. And I'm like, I know, right?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (19:22): It's like, I it's the same way. Yes, exactly.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (19:26): Cause we're human. And because we are, you know, not living, most of us are not living in an Ash room, not living at the mountaintop where we can tune out all of the, I live in New York City and I tell you just five seconds ago, there was like someone having a cussin' match in front of the door seven. I was like, I have to do a podcast in five minutes. Right. But they're like in a full, so it's just like, this is life. And so we have to be honest about, you know, all of the things that life throws at us. And so for meditation, it's a challenge, but take your time with it. And so, yeah, I think that, um, that the benefits are just as equal, if not more sure. Yoga started out as these tenets of philosophy. It wasn't even a physical practice first. Right. It was this way of governing ourselves through those yamas and the ne yamas. It was a way of sitting, listening to the breath. And so to me, I think that meditation is quite advanced, but I think that we are all capable of having a meditation practice if we also insert that kindness and truth within the, the foundation of it all.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (20:40): Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I wanna touch upon something you said that sometimes people have misconceptions about who does yoga and what you need to be in order to do yoga. So can you touch upon what are some of those misconceptions and myths that you just wanna bust wide?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (21:00): Yeah, I think for being in the Western world, I speak on behalf of like being in the US, being in a space where, you know, um, we have access to globally to so much information. I think that when it comes time to market yoga, this is what I've noticed over the 20 plus years of being a practitioner is that you folks want to package it in a way that it is something to be attained to or to, to get to. And I think that we have to remember that you can't compartmentalize even yoga as it is in the Western world, in a capitalist society, in all of these, um, moments where we know that there's imbalance in the world. And so I always like to remind folks that, you know, yoga is a microcosm, yoga communities can be a microcosm for what we have in a global world.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (21:57): And so we have to be mindful of that and not think that, oh, when I go to my yoga class, all of these things go away. That was one of the, the challenges for me when I started that. I didn't have a lot of examples of teachers while there were teachers, for sure. Shout out to Maya Broyer, Dr. Gal Parker. I think about Faith Hunter, seeing her on the cover of Yoga Journal as when I saw the first Black woman to be on the cover of yoga, Yoga Journal, since then I've been on the cover of their, the Yoga Journal magazine twice. And I think that the more that we see our reflection, the more that we hear our accents, the more that we see our body types, that we're reminded that yeah, we belong here too. Um, on Peloton, you know, my thing is that I love to, to go through the genres of music because I want to meet people, invite people in ways that make them feel safe, or at least

Dr. Nicole Rankins (22:52): Can we talk about the trap yoga flow, please, please. Cuz that was on point. Yes,

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (22:59): Exactly. Listen, I am a child of hiphop. Hence my, my, I have on an Outcast t-shirt right now. Yes. And it's like,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (23:06): Yes. Yes. Yes.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (23:06): It's like, I I'm thinking, you know, what would I have felt more comfortable with? And it's not to dishonor. It is not to, you know, ever make light of, or diminish the potency, the, the sanctity of yoga and its roots. There have been traces in the continent of Africa and overwhelmingly, we have the research that says that yoga has been traced back from India, thousands of years ago. One, yes, you can honor that. I often talk about the both and, and I can also have a gospel yoga genre class because when I think about the history of the Black church, when I think about the ways that that music has, has been able to summon people community together to move into action, to love each other, that's all that I wanna do when I insert these different genres into inviting people to the mat so that, you know, you're welcome. And if it looks like trap music come through.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (24:08): Yes, yes, yes, yes. That I love your trap yoga. I, your Beyonce seat class. Love it. Love it. Love it. Yeah. So thank you. I think that's just, just so, um, it's just so important to understand, like it, it's something that's for everyone, for lack of a better way of putting it. Especially in the US, yoga has had been kind of like, I'm just like thin White women. Yeah. And that was it. Yeah. You know what I mean? Yeah. And it's it's for anyone, regardless of your race, your ethnicity, your body size. Yep. Anyone can, can come to the mat and get benefit from it.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (24:44): Absolutely.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (24:45): Yeah. Yeah. So how about, um, how has yoga, how well first let's talk about yoga for you and your own pregnancy. So how do you feel like yoga has helped you in your pregnancy and navigating the changes in your body? Because we know that, um, pregnancy changes our bodies. Yeah. So how has that, that helped you?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (25:05): Yeah, absolutely. Right now I'm hot. My hormones are changing. As I sit here, I'm like whooo, I am hot about to yell to my husband and turn the air on. Like, I'm sitting here, I'm hot. And so I'm like, you know, there's a, there's a yoga practice for that. There's a, there's a breathwork for that. It's called the sitali breath that I often share with my students, the cooling breath. And it's so like when I think about, wow, I've accumulated all of these tools, you know? So that, for my biggest yoga practice, yet I have these things in my back pocket. I have no idea who I'm going to be as a mother once the little human being is here right in front of me. I have an idea. I have goals. I have an intention. However, just like, I didn't know who I was gonna be when I walked into my first hot yoga class and fainted, had no idea that was gonna happen.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (26:01): Right. And I had to roll with it. It's like my yoga practice has been in place to teach me how to roll with the punches, the twists and turns of life, the ebbs and the flows, be the both end in every moment. And when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I know that I still have this breath right now. So if my baby is crying and I don't know why he's crying and I'm, Chelsea take a breath or with Shane, my husband, if you know, he's a Yogi too, he's a certified yoga instructor too. I had never been married before. We just celebrated seven years of being married. And I hadn't been married before, had no idea what that was gonna be like. But there were moments where I had to bring my yoga practice in, as we communicated sure. As we took moments apart from each other and had our own moments of deep breaths and came back together and breathe together. So I think that, I know that this practice has not been happenstance it hasn't been like this arbitrary thing. It's like, oh wow. That's why I learned that. Right. So that, you know, when these moments come up, how dare I not use what I've been teaching to the world? Sure. In my own individual experience, this school of uncertainty.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (27:20): Absolutely. Yeah. Pregnancy and the birth birth as well. Yes. Are you, are you worried at all when you think about birth or, or I don't think I, to that point.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (27:28): I don't think I'm there yet to where, you know, I certainly grown even in the last two weeks, I'm 30 weeks today. I'm 30 weeks today. And to hear myself, I had to say it to somebody today. I was like, whoa, how did that happen? So I think that I'm, I'm processing that I'm in week 30 right now. Sure. And probably have we gone, I'm just, but I have not, it has not been something that has brought me anxiety. Um, who knows.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (28:00): That. That's amazing. Yes. That is amazing. That is amazing. So if someone is interested in starting a yoga or meditation practice, what are a couple of pieces of advice that you would give them?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (28:13): Yeah. Um, I always go to what my teacher Swami Ja Davy would say is that don't let your yoga practice be one more thing that you use to beat yourself up. Like let go of perfection. Perfectionism, let go of thinking that it has to be this beautiful thing tied with this really neat ribbon. That my yoga practice may look like getting two minutes in of sitting and stretching my arms up, bringing my hands to my heart center and taking a deep breath. I recommend that people start out slowly, like not over anything that we're doing for the first time about to have a baby, I'm gonna see a lot of firsts in front of my face, you know? And I can imagine that there's gonna be moments where he will fall, where he will, you know, learn life in these ways. And so coming back to that, that element of curiosity, I think, is the best way to approach anything new, especially our yoga practice.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (29:13): Because when you think about yoga, it is this thing that is so centered on us. It's like, there's not too many things that can distract us. And I think that that's why people are afraid of yoga in many ways. And I'm saying the word fear, like I've had students who have said, I wasn't gonna come to your yoga class until I saw you do it. Or until I heard the music that made me feel safe. Right. And so it is scary when you pull off all the layers and you have nothing but yourself sitting or standing or moving there on your yoga mat. And I can't pull those things that kind of take me away. Now I'm sitting here and wondering why I'm crying at the end of Shavasana, because I've allowed all of my, my, um, centeredness, all of my awareness to be placed on really what I'm feeling. Right. And this human experience is a lot. Right. Right. It is. It's the joy, it's the suffering. It's the love, it's the frustration. It's all of that. Yes. And so to remember, you know, that fullness so that we can live the most fullest lives ever. And yoga certainly helps me do that. So start off, start off small increments, start off slowly and love yourself every step of the way. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (30:29): Absolutely. Love that. Love that, love that. So are there any particular poses that you think are great for pregnant folks?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (30:36): Yeah. So I think that, well first always consult your physician or medical professional. Yeah. You know, and I always like to say that because there are things that I thought that, um, would feel really comfortable in my body that was recommended in a prenatal class. And I was like, oh, I don't like that. My body doesn't like that. So the first thing is, start to trust yourself. Like, especially for first time parents. Yeah. This is a great place to practice trusting yourself. And to me, the best way to trust yourself is being honest and listening, like taking a moment to pause and listen and say, does this feel right in my body? Does this feel right in how I'm moving in the world? And so starting there, um, I think that it's important to parent ourselves through the process because now we have to parent this whole human and many times there are elements that we may, whatever our childhood may have been, that we may have missed, our parents may have done the best that they could but there are moments where we get the opportunity to experiencing parenting.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (31:41): So why not include ourselves through that process? And so I say to do those practices that allow yourself to take care of you. That's why I say the deep relaxation, the restorative yoga classes, the yoga ninja classes, like, yes, yo, this is where, this is where the, the yoga begins. Right. That was, uh, the patanjali's yoga sutra would say is like, the yoga begins now. And it's like, if we allow ourselves to slow down enough to be present with what it is that we're experiencing, that's when we move from a more grounded, anchored and compassionate place. And so that's what my advice is. Take it slowly luxuriate in the practice.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (32:28): Absolutely. And I think what, one thing that I've, I've found, and maybe you've heard your students say the same thing is that slowing down in the moment of yoga actually helps you, you to bring your best self to your other areas of your life and you end up showing up in those areas in a better way. Yep. In a way that is not as stressful in a way that actually helps you to maybe be more productive. Right. And things that you're doing that slowing down is really key and important to helping you bring your best self up in your life.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (32:59): Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. We see more and more, you know, professional athletes practicing yoga. I've seen LeBron James practicing yoga back in the eighties and nineties could, uh, you know, different in NBA players, NFL players sure. Where yoga was really getting popular. Um, so yeah, and you see a lot of corporate spaces integrating yoga to say, wow, now I'm not always a fan of saying, use your yoga practice to produce more.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (33:30): Absolutely.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (33:31): It can certainly be a tool for people to be present in whatever space they're occupying. So if that's in your profession or in your job, yeah. It definitely strengthens the, um, different aspects of our lives.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (33:45): Sure, sure. Sure. And then as we wrap up a couple things, can you talk a little bit more about your concept? You mentioned it earlier, but I think it's important for people to hear. What do you mean when you say both and?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (33:56): Yeah. So it's like, not this either, or I don't think that life can ever be lived in this polarizing way because there's so much in between one of my favorite teachers, I always say one of my first yoga teachers, James Baldwin, who may or may not have ever done the physical practice of yoga, but whenever I hear his voice or read his writings, I'm like, oh, James Baldwin was a Yogi. Like, and when he would talk specifically about suffering, and even when I say the word suffering, I, I can sometimes look out into an audience and see a visceral reaction. Like why is she talking about suffering? I thought we were supposed to be talking about yoga. Right. And you know, feeling good. And it's just like, I remember James Baldwin in an interview saying that the, the more that we understand our own personal suffering, the more we understand the suffering of others.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (34:52): And so we take that suffering as a way to practice empathy so that we can go deeper and move into love. And so we have to have the both and, we have to have acknowledge and understand the suffering in order to understand and acknowledge the joy. We have to have those moments, you know, the light, the dark, the yin the yang, the, you know, all of those different ways that we see, um, that duality that people talk about in yoga. Sure. It has to be this both and in order for us to have a full experience. And so that's why I'm always like the both and is on Sunday, I'm teaching gospel yoga on Monday, I'm teaching trap yoga, right. One day it may be that, but like, I'm, y'all,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (35:39): There you go. There you go. The both and may be like, I am so grateful that I am pregnant, at least for me personally, but at the same time, I, this is I'm hot and my body is, I didn't me personally. I did not like being pregnant other than feeling the movement, but I was still grateful, you know, for both of my, my babies. So yes,

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (36:00): Yes. And I think that there's a taboo around that sometimes. And to me, it just diminishes and silences our capacity to be a human and to understand the fullness of life and see it in other people. And so the more that we don't have that, um, that detachment from like seeing something, you know, oftentimes when you're triggered by something that you see in somebody else it's often, because you can identify it with it within yourself. And it's like, oh, I don't like that. They said that. And then if you just pause a second and you're like, I don't like it because when I say it, I don't like when I say it. And so I think it's important for us to practice seeing the both and within ourselves so that when conflict comes up, we are more in a space of communication than of saying, I'm not like that person at all.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (36:51): Absolutely.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (36:53): And you know, I am definitely an advocate of freedom of liberation, of justice, right. Of equity, all of those things. So I think that it is also, um, starting to be understood more that that folks who practice yoga, it's not just all about, you know, just going with the flow and, you know, everything's at peace again, it's that both end, right. It's being so grounded in the truth and being so grounded in what love looks like, what compassion looks like that I can also be an advocate, you know, in those moments where, where there's injustice. And so that's the both end. Absolutely. That's the both end for me as well.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (37:36): Love it, love it, love it. So last couple questions. And I ask all of my guests this, what is the most frustrating part of your work?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (37:44): The most frustrating part of this work is folks thinking that this place is not for them. And it's not so much put on those people who think that it's not for them. Right. It's more so for how yoga is portrayed out in the media at times. Sure, sure. Sometimes I cringe when people think, you know, you have to be able to do a back bend. You have to be able to do a handstand. We just talked about, you have to have a certain body type, all of these things, um, that is frustrating that folks that they move away from it or don't go towards it because they don't think that they're included.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (38:22): Sure, sure. I understand that. And then on the flip side, what's the most rewarding part of your work?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (38:27): When people realize that the practice is for them when they have those aha moments on the mat, whether I can see them or not, whether they're sending me a message or an email saying that I never thought that I would make it through an entire yoga class or when the parent says that my child requested to listen to one of your meditations, because they were having a frustrating day at school. Yeah. And they said that they knew that the meditation would help them. Those are those rewarding moments. When I see people apply what we do on the mat, out into the world.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (39:04): Love it. Yeah. That's amazing. So what is your favorite piece of advice that you would give to expectant moms? Expectant parents?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (39:12): Yeah, one of my, so my teacher's teacher ma I just mentioned Swami Ja Davy and her teacher. Also, my teacher would always have this mantra of saying, you must drink as you pour, which means, you know, as you pour out into your loved ones, that little baby, that child who's growing up in the world, just remember that you have to find those things in life that allow you to drink as you are pouring out. And so for me, drinking in looks like my yoga meditation practice, it looks like I just went home to Dayton Ohio to see my parents and my grandmothers who have seen me pregnant for the first time ever, that joy, that love that was me drinking in, in order for me to say, all right. Yeah, it let's, let's go back in, you know? And so I say that to all the parents that we are doing miraculous work one by creating humans or parenting humans, however, those humans come into your life. Um, whatever your path may be to parenthood. And to know that as you give and as you offer that, you have to make sure that you establish those things that pour back into you.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (40:23): Yes. I love that. Love that. So where can people find you if they wanna connect with you?

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (40:28): Yeah. So on social media, I'm Chelsea loves yoga and that's my website. And to practice with me with a, a plethora of all offers, including trap yoga.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (40:41): Yes.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (40:42): You can find me at Peloton. And a lot of people don't realize that, um, you don't have to have the equipment, you don't have to have the bike or the tread to be able to connect with Peloton all you need is that smartphone.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (40:54): Absolutely. Yeah. Actually I started off, um, with the, with just the app. It, I just got the, I just got the tread, um, a few months ago for, well, over a year, I just used the app. So you really don't have to have, have the, have the equipment and yes, y'all, she has a plethora of, of offerings and just, and amazing spirit, um, that in your energy just shines through. Aw, thank you. So I'm delighted, delighted to have chatted with you today.

Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (41:22): Same here. Thank you for having me.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (41:30): All right. Wasn't that a great conversation with Chelsea? She has such a lovely energy and spirit, so warm, so welcoming. It comes through, um, in our discussion. And I so enjoy chatting with her. Now, you know, after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's Notes, where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the conversation. And here are my Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts. Now, before we get into Dr. Nicole's Notes, let me tell you a bit more about our episode supporter, Bamboobies. Bamboobies puts moms first. It was created by a real life mom who was frustrated at the lack of reusable and comfortable nursing pads. However, nursing pads are not the only thing that Bamboobies has. They also have a best selling yoga nursing bra. It has a stylish racerback design that offers all day comfort so important.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (42:26): Now this is a wardrobe essential for a breastfeeding mom or even a mom or even a mom to be. It's created with ultra soft rayon made from renewable bamboo fabric. Again, that's so important for the environment and you can easily nurse your baby using the nursing clasp and drop down cups with removable pads, the seamless design stretches to fit your changing body while still holding the shape of the bra. And it's very easy to care for. You can wash it with warm water and dry it with low heat or even air dry it, and it comes in sizes all the way from extra small, up to double XL. So check out the yoga nursing bra, as well as the other products Bamboobies offers at bambboobies.com. That's B A M B O O B I E S.com. Okay. So the Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Chelsea.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (43:21): So she talked about in the conversation, this fear that can come up when you're in yoga classes, because you are starting to actually focus on yourself and that can be uncomfortable. And I wanna share my experience of how I can totally relate to that. At the end of yoga classes, there's something called Shavasana where you just literally lay there and relax. And when I first started doing yoga, doing Shavasana was, Shavasana always have a hard time saying it was really hard for me. It felt like I was wasting time, or I had the urge to hurry up and go start checking the things off of my to-do list. It was hard for me to just lay there and relax and enjoy the moment. But over time, Shava Shavasana, I'm gonna get it right. Y'all Shavasana has actually become one of my most favorite parts of yoga, where I can just lay there and relax for a moment with just me with no distractions.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (44:25): And let me tell you, especially as you become a mother, it can feel indulgent to focus on yourself, or you feel like you just don't have time to do that. And I also know that the reality is that this tiny human being that you're gonna have is going to become your number one priority. Like you will take a backseat when you have a newborn, that's just the reality of having a newborn, but you can, and still need to remember yourself, even if it's just for a moment, still remember yourself, like Chelsea said, you have to drink as you pour. That's gonna look different for everyone, but don't forget about yourself, even if you're not the number one priority in the moment. Okay. All right. Number two. I love, love, love her concept of the both and, this is going to apply to so many areas of your life.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (45:26): You can be both grateful for your pregnancy and not like being pregnant. You can both love your child with everything you have in your being and be pissed the blank off at night. When that same child is screaming and will not go to sleep, you can be both grateful that you have a healthy baby and unhappy with your birth experience. Oftentimes on social media, things can be painted as these rosy pictures and oh, I'm just in love. And I love my baby and here's all the pictures and things, and all of that is great, but understand that you can have those feelings and also not always be happy with the experience. And that is totally okay. It is totally a normal part of being a human being, of being a mother of being a parent. Okay. And then the last thing I wanna say is that I would highly, highly, highly, highly, highly encourage you to start a meditation practice.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (46:24): Meditation has so many health benefits. It can help you during your pregnancy can help you during your labor. It can help you in your life. I have a free handout. It's drnicolerankins.com/meditate, drnicolerankins.com/meditate. And it's a free guide that you can download that will give you a step by step, easy process to help you get started with meditation. Go check it out. You won't regret it. All right, so there you have it. Do me a solid share this podcast with a friend. It helps me reach and serve more pregnant folks. That is my passion purpose to serve as many pregnant people as I can. And when you share this with a friend, it helps me to reach those pregnant women. So I would appreciate that. I would also appreciate it if you subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcast or wherever you're listening to podcast right now.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (47:11): And I would really also love it. If you leave an honest review, in Apple Podcast in particular helps the show to grow helps. So the women find to find this show. I do shoutouts from those reviews from time to time. And I just love what to hear, what you think. All right. Also do head on over to Instagram. You can follow Chelsea @chelsealovesyoga. You can follow me for more pregnancy and birth advice @drnicolerankins. Also check out our episode supporter Bamboobies at bambboobies.com. All right. So that is it for this episode, do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.