Ep 187: The Benefits of Yoga During and After Pregnancy with Lara Heimann

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If you’ve listened to me for a while or followed me on Instagram then you may know that I love yoga so I’m always happy to chat about it on the podcast. Lara Heimann is a yoga instructor, physical therapist, and creator of the LYT Yoga Method. She is a mother of two and has created a special pre/post natal series on her platform to help expecting and new parents build and hold onto energy.

You know how I feel about “the snapback.” That’s not what this is about. Lara’s and my discussion focuses instead on how movement and strength building can help you to have a healthier and happier pregnancy. As your belly grows bigger you will need a stronger back to support it; as your breasts increase in size, you’ll want stronger shoulders to hold them. Connect with your body, learn to listen to it, and give it what it needs. You’re going to learn all kinds of helpful skills for wellness in this episode!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What made Lara want to become a yoga instructor
  • How her approach is different
  • How paying attention to the way we move impacts all other areas of our lives
  • Why posture is so important
  • How a movement practice - whether it’s yoga or not - can make you better equipped to handle pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery
  • What types of movement and poses you can do during pregnancy
  • How improper posture and a sedentary lifestyle can drain energy

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 (00:00): In this episode, we're talking at Yoga with Lara Heimann. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OBGYN, 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.

(00:50): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 187. Thank you so much for spending some of your time with me today. If you've listened to me for a while or followed me on Instagram, then you may know that I love yoga, so I am always happy to chat about yoga on the podcast. I've had a couple of episodes about yoga in the past, and I'm bringing another one to you today that I am equally excited about. This one is from Lara Heimann. She is an international yoga pioneer and physical therapist who is focused on evolving the practice of yoga to empower movement and balance amidst a modern lifestyle of technology and sedentary or just having a sedentary lifestyle. She's redefining the modern practice of yoga through her comprehensive lit method. It's L y T method that emphasizes smart alignment, functional movement, and spiritual wellness through its holistic connection between body and mind.

(01:56): Lara's methodology is a clear and influential roadmap to ignite the spirit to operate at its highest potential. She's a mother of two and she also has a special pre and postnatal series on her platform to help expecting in new mothers build and hold onto energy before, during, and after birth. Lara has a big audience. She has 138,000 followers on Instagram. She has a popular podcast herself called Redefining Yoga, and I'm really excited to have this chat today where we will dive all into what her lit yoga method is, the L Y T Yoga method, why it is different than other types of yoga, why it's important to pay attention to the way we move because it impacts our intelligence, our mood, and our energy, as well as our habits. Of course, we will talk about prenatal and postnatal yoga, how movement can help you get things in place, how movement can help you.

(02:59): You build and hold onto your energy before, during, and after birth. She's going to explain exactly what that means. We also touch on rectus diastasis, and so much more. You are going to enjoy this episode as always. Now, before we get into the episode, let me do a quick listener shout out. This is from Lindsay 6 2 3 8 6 7, and the title of the review says, better Than My Birthing Classes, and the review says This podcast is the best in all caps for anyone who's pregnant. It was so much more in depth than my birthing classes, and Dr. Rankins is so informative while also being warm and positive. I ended up having a pretty complex and traumatic first labor, but I felt mentally prepared because I'd learned so much from this podcast and understood what was happening at each stage of my delivery. Thank you so much, Lindsay, for that lovely, lovely kind review.

(04:00): I'm so glad that the podcast was able to help you despite having a complex and traumatic first labor. I hope that you and your baby and your family are doing well despite that, and I appreciate you taking the time to leave that review. Now, if you love the podcast, then let me tell you, you can take things to the next level by joining the Birth Preparation Course, my online childbirth education class that gets you calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth. It is completely online. You can do it at your convenience, you can do it with your partner, and it covers everything from mindset to the details of labor and birth, to making a birth plan, to the postpartum period, to possible scenarios that may happen, and it's organized in a very smart, efficient, and easy to understand and digestible way. So check out all the details of the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll.

(05:03): Also in the spirit of the holiday season, this is coming out in December. I am collecting donations to help give away five spots for mamas in the Birth Preparation Course. And if that is something that you are interested in donating to help, I would love, love if you would help me do that. You can head to drnicolerankins.com/gift. You can give any amount that works for you. You can donate as little as a couple dollars all the way up to whatever amount that you would like. I know I have such a wonderful, amazing community who loves to support other mamas, and this would just be a great thing to do. So check it out. You can head to drnicolerankins.com/gift. Anything that you can appreciate to help donate those spots, I would be most grateful. All right, let's get into the episode. And quick warning, the audio on my side is a little bit less than or not as tight as it usually is. We had a little issues with the recording software, so forgive me with that, but hopefully you can still enjoy it and still and get the great content. Okay, enjoy.

(06:23): Thank you, Lara, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am super excited to talk about what you do. I think it's really cool, really interesting.

Lara (06:31): Well, thank you so much for having me, Nicole. Nicole. I'm always interested in talking to other women who have podcasts and are doing inspirational work in the world, so very grateful to be here.

Dr. Nicole (06:42): Oh, awesome. Well, why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your work and your family if you'd like.

Lara (06:48): Sure. I am a mama of two. My son just turned 17, and I have a almost 20 year old daughter, and I had been a physical therapist and yoga teacher for over 27 years. I became a yoga teacher after I finished grad school at Duke, which we both went to is, and I'd always loved movement. I'd always loved the mind body connection even before I recognized what that was in the sense that we talk about it now, I was very tuned in to how I felt, and especially how I felt when I was moving my body and how it made me feel a deeper level of joy. And so I always was interested in moving and helping people move better. And then that's how I went into physical therapy. And when I moved up to New Jersey after I graduated from grad school, I'd already been teaching aerobics and hip hop and step, and then I got certified in spinning. And so I was just lo, I loved teaching fitness and I kind of stumbled across yoga, not knowing what yoga was about 27 years ago. It was not anything like it is today. No,

Dr. Nicole (08:13): Not at all.

Lara (08:14): Not at all. Right. So I thought it was sitting around in front of candles and chanting, and fortunately the kind that I tried really spoke to me. It was more of a power vinyasa class, and I loved the movements and the sequences and the expressiveness of it reminded me of dance, which I had already also been, I was really serious about dance in high school. So just most things, I think when we love something, we want to share it, especially for, I was already in that track of teaching, so I wanted to share it, and it was, there weren't many yoga teachers around at that time, and so I just started exploring DVDs and books. And so those early years were really self-taught and I followed the typical Vinyasa blueprint, and vinyasa is translated in a lot of different ways. It actually means to put things in a particular order, but we often just generically say it's a flow, so it's a more movement oriented than mm-hmm more of a still practice.

(09:27): And I did that for a while. At simultaneous to that I was in practicing in a clinic and I went back and got my postgraduate specialization in neurodevelopmental training, which is really focusing on the neurology, the brain development, how you can help someone as a PT when they've suffered a brain insult. And the techniques were so fascinating, really, especially after having kids being able to observe the same developmental patterns that I was learning about in this neurodevelopmental world. And then I started being curious. I think that's my biggest trait is I'm always curious about how I can integrate this knowledge in a deeper way. And my curiosity really stemmed from the fact that I, as a PT began to see how the more kind of classical vinyasa practice had some gaps in terms of functional sustainability, how it was emphasizing in range of motion, wasn't really welcoming to everyone, and could in fact lead to injury, which many people have talked about.

(10:44): And I began to wonder if I employed some of this, these techniques I was using with very involved stroke patients, with able-bodied people, what that would do to their practice. So I essentially in my own laboratory way, created what is now known as the lit yoga method. Yes, LYT stands for Laura's Yoga Technique, but it's really an acronym and a onia really that makes you feel lit up because it's like we wanna feel awake and alive as humans, as mothers, as professionals, as women, as men. And this type of yoga really just spurred such a creativity and a juice in me and I found that it did that for others as well. And so that I've been doing that. I opened up a brick and mortar yoga studio. I had that for nine years right up until, but I had also started an online platform because as I was traveling and teaching and doing workshops, I was getting more people that were not in my state, that were more worldwide and I wanted to reach to them as well.

(11:54): So I had already started that pre covid. Right. And it really expanded a lot during Covid. And so now I mostly do online trainings. I have an online platform that has over 800 classes, and it's really infusing the physical therapy understanding of the body with the yoga practice, which is universally about being more awake, paying more attention raising your consciousness. So it's been just a beautiful journey to that and it's really informed my motherhood, my community, my friendships. So it spills out in all the ways that has made my life feel a lot more joyful for sure.

Dr. Nicole (12:43): Oh, I love that. So that's awesome how you took two worlds and saw how you get pull from the physical therapy to connect with yoga and then create something that you felt could serve more people in a broader way. So that's really, really cool. It sounds like you've had all types of training and things to do what you do between physical therapy, yoga, additional training, all of that good great stuff.

Lara (13:10): Yes, I've done a lot of I've done yoga trainings as well, but a lot of what I do is really pulled more from the functional anatomy world. I've also gotten trained in fossil reintegration and all of that I bring into my teaching because what I really aim to do is educate people about their bodies. We walk around in this vessel that unless you go to medical school or PT school, you're not equipped to understand it because we just don't place that emphasis on that. And yet it holds us, it moves us, it helps us breathe better, it helps us feel better at a cellular level. We're always trying to find this state of balance, this homeostasis that really is the root of growth and potential.

Dr. Nicole (14:06): Yes. All great, fantastic things. And I think it's important that people understand that these days especially, it seems like a lot of folks kind of pop up online and do things, but you take a very serious approach to your work and what you do. And this is really not just passion, but you put the work behind the passion as well.

Lara (14:33): Exactly. I mean, there's a lot of personal trainers and yoga teachers and other kind of fitness professionals who are very knowledgeable. You don't have to be a pt, but there is a big gap in there still that people that are teaching others about movement practices might not understand all the nuances. And again, the sustainability, we wanna take good care of our bodies so we can be moving well and functional and safe for decades. We don't have to have this, I always say we don't have, it's not inevitable. We're going to just shrivel up and die and have a really long journey into that, like if we practice for today the way we wanna practice in the future, we can really age well and joyfully and still do all the things we wanna do. And that includes stuff outside of yoga, going on a long hike with your grandkids or playing around and not feeling like you are limited by your body.

Dr. Nicole (15:41): Right? Absolutely. Absolutely. So one of the things that when you wrote in that was included in the information was you talked about how paying attention to the way we move impacts our intelligence, our mood, our energy and our habits. So what do you mean by that?

Lara (16:04): Well, we are a bit wired to conserve energy. That's just our evolutionary track, and it served us really well when we were moving all around and foraging. But that is not in our modern day lifestyle for the majority of the people we have limited our movement experiences. We have really, really become much more sedentary. And so that kind of path of least resistance is so present. And when you are not exerting energy, you're probably not producing much either. You also are not growing your brain. When we go through these patterns as children from the wound to being bipedal, that's what grows our brain. It's movement that actually grows the brain and to continue to be fresh and to have this energy in the brain, there has to be a curiosity, there has to be a novelty. Your brain pays attention when you're doing something new.

(17:07): It does not need to pay attention when you're doing something habitual. So when you are doing, when we're on the mat, it is a canvas of exploration and inquiry. How can I move and how can I move really functionally well, meaning I'm moving in my joints, I'm stabilizing well in the center of the body, which is the core. And doing that with good breathing patterns, not compensating by overly using these muscles that are really overused a lot in daily life, like a forward head. A lot of people have a lot of tension in their neck, and believe it or not, they try and stabilize from their neck, which is not a very productive way to move. So it's really paying attention to create better movement habits to kind of undo some of the suboptimal movement habits and postural habits that do make us feel lower in our energy and that aren't efficient.

(18:09): So some people will say, well, posture doesn't really matter. Which I argue vehemently against because posture is your, it's your starting point and it is going to predict to some degree how you move because the movement choices, the way the brain will fire for the muscles to move are predicted to some degree how you are habitually sitting, standing and moving. And so when you pay attention, you can change that. You can say, Hey, instead of using my back to bend over and come back up, I'm actually going to use my hips, which are ball and socket joints. They're circular, they're made to do that kind of movement of hip flexion, trillions of cycles. They're so equipped for that our, our spine and all the muscles surrounding that and the passive structures surrounding it are not made for that trillions of time. So when people talk about having back pain, the first thing I look at is, well, how are their hips moving?

(19:11): How are their ankles moving? The back is just the point of it's the victim of it, it's not the cause of it. So paying attention will make us more efficient. Efficiency. We are bodies of energy. We get energy from the floor, the ground we get energy fry holding our core more stable. And when we move well with our joints in the best alignment, it's like that current event. It's like our insulation in a sense. It's really well, the energy flow is brilliant and it's potent. But when we don't move as well, when our joints aren't as aligned, we are, we're kind of losing some of that energy, like having a little fray in the wiring in the conduction around the wiring. And so moving well, paying attention, you're basically enhancing your energy. And I know this because people will talk about how they wake up, they have more energy, they have sustained energy throughout the day. They're breathing better, they're more literally more awake in their brain because you're practicing that on the mat versus coming there and just moving and paying a little bit of attention. But in fact, you might be moving in the same way in this kind of suboptimal movement patterns in that path of least resistance, which isn't challenging and novel for the brain.

Dr. Nicole (20:35): Got it. Got it, got it. And I can see how that can be especially important, paying attention to your body while you are pregnant, when you're going through all of these things and you're trying to figure out how to navigate this new normal also postpartum as well. So let's talk a little bit about prenatal and postnatal yoga. You talk about how your series focuses on movement, your prenatal, postnatal, prenatal, postnatal series focuses on movement to properly get everything back in place. So what do you mean by that?

Lara (21:12): Well, when you're pregnant if you're coming into pregnancy and you've already had a pretty good movement practice and that doesn't need necessarily need to be yoga, it could be something else, but you're setting yourself up for this nine month hall of change and you're just going to be better equipped not only to handle pregnancy, but to handle the birthing process no matter what comes up in that and then the recovery of it. And so postnatal, when I talk about bringing things back together, inevitably when you're growing a baby in your uterus space has to be made. We have hormones called relaxin that are there to help us prepare for birth and it's wonderful. But those relaxin hormones do what they sound like they're doing. They relax things. And so there's this kind of feeling of a little bit spread everywhere. And so to bring everything back together and organize it is really important because you're doing things, you're picking up a baby, you're holding a baby, you're nursing, you're pulling around a car seat.

(22:28): All of those things can be pulling on the tissues and on the ligaments in a way that cre can create some problems, which I see. I have a big postnatal population. I mean that's really where I started. And moms postnatal moms, they don't have necessarily the time and energy they think to take care of themselves in the same way. But my argument is you absolutely, it doesn't have to be an hour practice. It could be 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, but you need to pull everything back into the center of your body. So that's going to be the abdominals of course. But all the other core muscles which include your, your scapula muscles the pelvic floor muscles which are part of the core, the bottom part of the core, all of that kind of harnessing and holding so that you can move, that you can pick up the baby, you can hold the baby and that you've got support in your scaffolding.

(23:33): So really pulling that back together is super important. With pregnancy, a lot of people think the pelvis is impacted the most, but in fact the lower thoracic spine and upper lumbar spine have the biggest change because that's where, yeah. And it's really fascinating to see people five months postpartum to five years who have not addressed that because the pitch of the uterus going forward actually pulls the most on that upper lumbar spine. The pelvis may in fact not even tip that much. It's really the growing and the expanding of the abdominal wall. A hundred percent of women are going to have diastasis. It is that's an a normal occurrence as the uterus grows. But as you organize again, you can really retrain those muscles to hold better. And I don't even really worry about that diastasis in the way that it's like this got a big shock value for a lot of people.

(24:43): But it's like, no, you just address it. Your body is, knows how to heal itself, but give it the proper alignment and feedback to help that strengthen again. And doing that, you have to address it from the back. I think because so many people pitch their ribs forward and then they go to do abdominals and they're really, everybody doesn't wanna dome. You might have heard about that, but you're positionally, you're structurally positioned. You have to dome because you haven't gotten that upper lumbar, lower thoracic pivot point. It's like a hinge point. You haven't gotten that back enough that you can get into the deeper abdominal wall. So it's very easy to, when you just start using the abs and you have hinged in that lower thoracic spine to just dome the rectus a dominance, the superficial muscle. So getting that back and space, harnessing some in the intercostal muscles that are in between the ribs that help to close, especially the internal ones which are deeper help to close the corset of the rib cage to align it. So the thorax is over the pelvis. So a lot of times the pelvis will tip because the thorax is tipped and that just happens. So it's all of that kind of reorganizing, not as heavy as it sounds, right. But it does require attention and training with a person who's going to really address that. So you don't wanna go back into core training, big movement patterns if the spinal alignment isn't neutral. Sure. Because again, you'll be more likely more prone to that. And that doming is what makes any diastasis that is present worse.

Dr. Nicole (26:37): Got it. Now is there anything that people can do during pregnancy to help set themselves up to be in a better place after pregnancy?

Lara (26:48): Yes. I mean, I always have the caveat. Everybody's pregnancy is different and there are people who go through pregnancy and have no red flags or any contraindications. So assuming that you don't have anything majorly as a contraindication you wanna just really keep moving in a variety of directions. In particular, keep your hips mobile keep your spine in alignment as much as possible when you're upright. And that is hard when the uterus goes forward. So I do a lot of work in that up the lower thoracic spine to help pull it back. So you're actually kind of pulling the uterus back a little bit, but just starting to get that memory there. It doesn't have to be a huge movement because even though people might might've experienced that kind of pushing forward four or five months max, usually you don't experience that as much in the first trimester.

(27:51): That's what stays with you. So that's in your memory bank. So even though baby's out of the uterus, you're starting, the uterus is starting to shrink, the memory is still there to push the ribcage forward. So the more that you can do to continue to keep that mobilization and the lower thoracic, that awareness that'll help as well. So hip mobility and hip strength is really great and the preparation and the recovery from birth as the breast grow, the shoulders are going to round forward. So trying to get some good scapula strengthening to help that I call the scapulas are the little reins. And don't just think of pulling the humeral head back, think of actually really drawing the scapula in toward the spine a little bit and then just suction, cupping it there. That's a neutral scapula. And all those muscles that are doing that are going to help you stay more upright even as the weight of the breast grows and it's going to pull you more forward. So it's almost like predicting some of the changes and starting to really work on strengthening the muscles needed as those changes happen.

Dr. Nicole (29:00): Got it. Got it. And that's what your yoga series focuses on. Am I understanding that correctly? Yes. Ok.

Lara (29:07): Yeah. Okay. Exactly.

Dr. Nicole (29:08): Perfect. So you also say that it focuses on or helps people build and hold onto their energy. What do you mean by that?

Lara (29:19): Well, I was referencing before energy is we are energetic bodies. So we know if you've been, I just got back from a retreat if I was in a plane, you're on a plane for five hours sitting in a car, it's, you've done nothing and you feel tired, right? Yes. So

(29:39): It's like, yes, why

(29:40): Is that? Am I tired? And I'm specific. Yeah, why am I tired? I literally didn't exert anything. Yes. Well the whole thing is that energy requires an input. It requires that you're putting something in that is actually sparking. It's like reconfiguring in almost in a molecular way. But if you're stagnant, your energy is stagnant. So energy is created again and conducted Well, when we are in this really lovely kind of more optimal posture and often posture is not ever a single point, it's a spectrum. And it just means we are in the best alignment when our joints, which are two bones coming together, have the most congruency, have the most surface area, and that the energy flows through that surface area with vitality. When you're not in that kind of congruent state, it's also known as concentrated. Then there's a loss of energy, the surface area isn't as robust.

(30:47): And so there is a loss of that energy. Now, loss of energy can make you feel not as awake. It can also make your body work harder so you're less efficient. And that can translate into just being more tired and not having as much endurance. It can translate into an injury because you have strained an area where there is an energy loss. Instead of being able to hold in a collaborative way, I call all the team players come in and do the work. So energy is, we can't see it, but we can feel it. And we have to know that energy travels through the body from the ground. It's called ground reaction force. I mean it's what helps us stand up against the gravitational forces. And then when we start moving in ways where gravity has more of an impact, not just straight up and down vertically, we have to hold using again this collaborative work of core musculature to maintain that energy.

(31:53): Or we kind of leak it in the form of rounding and letting it go. And that again will translate into more fatigue muscle aches and pains. I always tell people, if you're doing a movement practice and you still wake up every day with a lot of aches and pains, you have to reevaluate how you're performing that movement. Because when you're efficient and you're holding that energy in a way that is not overburdening one area and under activating another area, then you won't feel that kind of soreness, that achiness. Your joints feel that way when there's been loss of energy. If you slump for periods of time, you're going to get sore. And some of that is these receptors in your body that are kind of giving you a signal that we often ignore. Hey, can you please move? Because I need to get the blood flowing.

(32:52): I need to get the energy sparking cuz this is a lot of stagnancy and load. And so paying attention is, you'll find that when you pay attention in your movement practice how in lit yoga, you'll hear those signals a lot quicker. And that is what holds onto your energy where you don't ignore these beautiful communications we get from our body to our brain that are trying to tell us, Hey, you need to do this because I really wanna hold this vitality and I'm feeling kinda stuck. So I hope that answered the question. I could talk a lot about that.

Dr. Nicole (33:31): Yeah, it does it. No, it does. It does indeed. And I just love how you are it have a depth to what you're doing that I don't think it necessarily a lot of people do or appreciate or understand. And I don't think you're not complex or anything, but it's just taking the body and really connecting with your body in a way that serves you in the best way possible.

Lara (34:03): Exactly. That's what empowerment really is. It's really using all of these tools to make ourselves feel more awake, more alive and more, and feel the potential of whatever it is we wanna do is available to us.

Dr. Nicole (34:20): Love it, love it, love it. So if someone is interested, they wanna try prenatal yoga or they've had a baby and they wanna hop into some postnatal yoga and they are completely new to it, what are some two or three tips that you would give them? And maybe, I don't know if it's different for prenatal versus postnatal, but what would you say if somebody's completely new, they're thinking about hopping into yoga?

Lara (34:43): Well, with prenatal what I always say is, if you've not done yoga, then this is probably not the time to get into a vigorous style of it. This is the time to do that kind of fun bonding with the baby. They have these mama yoga classes and they aren't necessarily really rigorous, but it's just getting to enjoy and in fact really celebrate the changes in the body as opposed to dread them. And doing it in a community of other pregnant moms, if you've not done that, is I think a good place to start. It doesn't mean you can't do other forms of yoga like I would say you can do some people come onto my platform and they haven't really done yoga and I will say, okay, start off with this foundational series and then check out the prenatal of how you can modify. Because the modifications in our prenatal are really more in the second and third trimester when you are contending with a uterus that you can't, don't wanna squish the baby.

(35:47): So a lot of blocks and props for that, right? But it's still quite rigorous. You always wanna watch out for the heart rate. That's the big thing especially in that second and third trimester. So I always say we are not injured or in disabled as pregnant women. It's actually important that we really, really stay strong, stay fit because it is not a time to just sit around and eat bonds unless you're on bedrest. And hopefully most people won't get to that. So it's really important to stay strong cuz then your recovery is so, I mean see it in the people that do my training, they literally, and everybody's different, but they're back practicing in four to eight weeks. It, it's, they've just done the preparation and then the postnatal experience is just more joyful. And then postnatal is a great time. So that's a great time to start a lit yoga practice or another form of yoga.

(36:55): But really the biggest advice I would say is honor what your body has really experienced and how it's transformed and how it does have to recalibrate and be patient with that. Be tender with yourself. You don't have to go into an hour long class. I always say, and this goes for anybody, I'd much rather you do 10 minutes, three, four times a day than wait all day and do 40 minutes to an hour because you need to get in the practice of moving and moving frequently. And so ease into it. Don't feel like you have to get back in shape right away. That's a bunch of bs. A hundred percent. I mean all the stuff that, I mean moms are already like, oh my gosh, am I doing this? Am I doing the last thing they need is to be judged by if they can fit back in their clothes. That is not at all what I'm about. It's about how are you feeling? Can I help you feel stronger and more stable and more equipped with withstand lack of sleep and caring for a baby? Cuz there's a lot of energy that we have to put out as new moms and we should really just be tender on ourselves, but take time to do things.

Dr. Nicole (38:20): Yes, 100%. That whole snap back culture

Lara (38:24): No

Dr. Nicole (38:25): Ridiculous. And it sounds like it's, you're saying it's learning how to connect with your new body body because the reality is you're going to be changed in a lot of different ways, both physically, emotionally, after you have grown an entire human being and then that human being comes outta your body, you're going to be changed and it's helping you to connect with your new self in a way that feels good, that feels supportive, that feels uplifting and not rushing or anything about it or focused on a number exactly. Or anything like that?

Lara (39:05): Absolutely. Don't do that. Really remember you still have relaxin, it's still present. And that that's again the hormones that do relax your ligaments. So you want to give yourself some grace and not hurry back to anything cuz you ligaments. For people that don't know, they join a bone to a bone and I always call 'em the lawmakers and they, they're like going to let you go enough. And then they're like, wait, stop here. And that's really good because when we get to an in range of motion, we want them as our kind of first stop. And when they're looser, you are going to be able to slide into some mobilization that you know might not be controlling. So just be mindful of that big. You don't have to go into big ranges, emotion, practice breathing, practice breathing into your back body. A lot of moms have a lot of tension in their back and just putting your hand on your middle back.

(40:05): And that also helps with that retraining because hands on is a wonderful signal to the brain, like, oh, pay attention to this. So if you put your hand on your low back ribs and try and breathe into it, you're also make trying to create that space that you need in the area that has pitched forward or hinge and become a hinge joint. So that can be the practice. It doesn't have to be a lot of movement or like, rah rah, let's burn some calories. How about just right, let's just try and enjoy and be awake and take care of your mental health. It's a time where you really, really, really have to pay attention to all the signals and give yourself a lot of grace and ask for help in any way, whether you know, need mental health or you need literal help with the baby. Physical health may ask for help because that, I think those are the things don't talk about as much. You know, have this baby, it's a miracle, it's wonderful and yet you're exhausted. Your body is feels foreign. Hormones just could be a spiral. So pay attention and know that that is part of it and that you can have, get help in the ways that you need.

Dr. Nicole (41:24): Love it, love it, love it. So as we wrap up, what would you say is the most frustrating part of your work? Ask all my guests these questions.

Lara (41:32): Oh yeah. So I'd say and the most frustrating part, and it's not frustrating, it's more like me wanting to just get to as many people as possible. And that is just growing to the point where I can really reach a lot of people. And within that, I think the frustrating thing is when on social media especially, but in other platforms, people will hear little sound bites of something and that is confusing, a message like that I might be sending. And so I get frustrated with, there's a lot, you can't just read cliff notes to something like about movement or about, you have to really go deeper. And so there's a lot of people that offer opinions that are giving you cliff notes. And that frustrates me because people will say, well wait, I just read that this person wrote that anterior til pelvic tot doesn't really matter.

(42:34): And I'm like, well no, it does matter if you're in it habitually because that has become your go-to way. And because anytime you tip your tilt or pelvis, it's like a pot, it's going to have an impact up the spine and the spinal curves will then exaggerate instead of being more balanced. So I always say pain is such a low bar, I want people to have more energy. I want them to be able to move well. I want them to have efficiency and force production and endurance. There's many, many variables of movement. And so when people pull it into a sound bite, it's frustrating as a kind of movement specialist to say, I look underneath. So what I would say to people is, there's a lot of information out there. I think this is where credentials do help because you at least know this person has dedicated their life to learning about this at an academic level, at a research level and et cetera. So sometimes that's frustrating because I want people to know that we're not trying to fix something, we're trying to educate. And education is not something you're going to get in a little square. It's a little, you know what I mean? Once hundred percent, yes. Probably the most frustrating thing. Yeah, I'm sure you can relate. Yes,

Dr. Nicole (43:59): Absolutely. Absolutely. 100% yes. You're not going to learn everything about getting ready from your birth, as you said on the little square. It's just not going to happen. So on the flip side, what is the most rewarding part of your work?

Lara (44:17): I just wanna cry. I think the most rewarding part is just hearing people who have literally felt their life change just in learning how to move a little differently. And some of it is they become pain free. Some of it is that little sparks go off and it makes him realize like, oh actually these are things that I am in control of. It's very empowering when whether you're in pain or you don't have or might have low energy, it can feel very defeating. So I think that what's so amazing for me on a daily basis is just to give people hope and confidence and empowerment that we can move well, we can do all the things we wanna do. And for many years, and if we learn about the body again, it is a complex system, but it doesn't have to be complicated at all.

Dr. Nicole (45:19): Mm-hmm. Love that. Love that. So then what is your favorite piece of advice that you would like to give to expect that moms in particular?

Lara (45:26): I will give the advice that I, fortunately just, I don't think anybody gave it to me, but I think I was wired. And that is when mom is happy, everybody's happy, take care. I even had it on my whiteboard and it was just like, take care of you. I have seen as, again, my original population were moms and it was astounding how at least 50% of 'em had guilt over doing things for themselves. And I think it's a conditioning, I think it's cultural, I think it might be changing, but it's still very, very, very wired there It is. That if you're at home, even if you're not at home, it's even worse. If you're at, you're working and trying to fulfill this ideal of being this mom and all of that is forsaking you cannot forsake you because it all starts with you. If you are not taking care of you the ship is not going to sail smoothly.

(46:25): It's already going to go through channels of turbulence that is just a guarantee. So you better strap in and take care of yourself first. Unapologetically, it's, to me, it's gotta be one of these non-negotiables. Do the things. And that could be in whatever form, whether it's meditation or movement or taking a class that makes you feel alive and adult and human, you have to do that and your kids will benefit you. You will be a better parent when you are more content with yourself and you will then model that for your children that you're not putting yourself last. Yes. Because that doesn't, nobody want. No, nobody benefits from that. Truly at

Dr. Nicole (47:12): At all at all. So where can people find you in the resources and things that you have?

Lara (47:17): Well you can find my website, which again is LYT, L y t, Lara's yoga technique lytyoga.com that has everything on there that has our trainings, that has inform about me and my teachers. Either teacher directory, so say you live in Sweden or something you could type in. And we have over 800 teachers all around the world in every continent except Antarctica. We have an online platform the LYT Daily, and you can access it from lytyoga.com. And then my podcast is on there redefining yoga. And finally, if you wanna on social media you can find me at Lara dot Heimann Lara dot Heimann, and make sure you write me a direct message to you are listening. And just I'd love to hear from you. That's where I'm really the most interactive with messaging. So I really try and get back to everyone.

Dr. Nicole (48:10): Oh, awesome. Love it. And you have lots of videos and short clips of helpful movement things and all that good, great kind of stuff. So definitely everybody check it out. Well, thank you so much for agreeing to come onto the podcast. This has been a great conversation and a great reminder for myself. I'm, I still feel like I'm in the beginning stages of yoga, but I definitely appreciate how the connection to the body is important and I want to stay happy, healthy, and moving throughout my years as well. So many of the things you said resonated for sure.

Lara (48:46): Well good, Nicole, we'll get you on the platform. And yeah, again, there's lots of choices there. Recognizing not everybody has an hour, we have 15 minute classes all the way up to an hour. We have mobility, we have stretching, we have high intensity training, we have everything and we have a lot of filters for that. Yeah, so

Dr. Nicole (49:06): Awesome. And of course pregnancy stuff too, guys.

Lara (49:08): Yes, yes, yes. Go Mamas. Go mamas. I'm pulling from mamas the most as a mama myself.

Dr. Nicole (49:13): Yeah, absolutely. All right, thanks so much.

Lara (49:16): Thank you so much, Nicole. It was a pleasure.

Dr. Nicole (49:24): Wasn't that a great episode? I so appreciate and always love talking about yoga and I appreciate Lara's time on the podcast. Now, after every episode when I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's Notes and here are my Dr. Nicole's Notes for my conversation with Lara. Number one, I really appreciate that she's very serious about understanding the body and her work. I say that because on social media there are more and more people who are stepping into the social media space both on Instagram definitely a lot on TikTok. TikTok is like a whole nother beast. I post videos there, but it's like it is just different over there and not everyone is really deserving of your attention to hear what they have to say. I guess what I'm saying is that just be mindful of where you place your trust and what people are saying.

(50:24): So make sure that people are serious and qualified with what they do. And qualified doesn't necessarily mean like a bunch of degrees or certifications necessarily, but you just wanna be sure that the person talking about what they're talking about knows what they're talking about. And Lara is committed and serious about what she's talking about. So I appreciate that. All right. Number two is they kind of go together. One, I appreciate the sentiment of embracing and connecting with your body that's so important. Not just during pregnancy but really throughout life. But I think it's really important during pregnancy because although pregnancy can feel difficult, this is the time that is going to be short in your life. Having this baby inside of you, this is the time that you too will be the most connected then in your lifetime together of having this life. And it's a special bond that only you and your baby can share.

(51:28): So connect with your body, enjoy the experience, take some time to take pictures. Doesn't have to be anything complicated. Can just be cell phone picks and snaps. Or if you wanna do a fancy maternity shoot, you can do that as well. But just embrace and connect with your body and also know that your body's going to change after you have a baby. That's definitely going to change you. And that doesn't mean bad, it just means change. Your body's going to be different. So embrace and connect with your body. And in the spirit of change, I just wanna emphasize again about the snap bag piece. It's going to take some time for you adj, to adjust to your new body postpartum. So give yourself some grace with that as well. And then the final thing I wanna say is that I appreciate her sentiment of you can't do Cliff's Notes to learn things.

(52:21): If you want to really get into something, you wanna do something in a structured way that's the most efficient use of your time. And Cliffs Notes to me includes, and I hope I'm not dating myself with Cliffs Notes, I hope y'all even know what Cliffs Notes are. It used to be these summaries of things or complex topics to try to short circuit the learning. But that's what I see people sometimes doing with social media, trying to string together a series of one minute, two minute videos about things and watch that and think that they're educated on something. And that just doesn't work. It doesn't work. You have to put in some effort. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to put in a lot of time, but you need to put in some effort to make sure you are learning things in a way that isn't short circuiting things, that's really being intentional and mindful and helping you get through something in the best way possible.

(53:19): Of course, what I do inside of the Birth Preparation Course, and I would love for you to take that approach as well. Well if you don't take the Birth Preparation Course, then definitely take some sort of childbirth education in an organized structured fashion cuz that's how you're going to get the most out of it. So you can check out the course to drnicolerankins.com/enroll. And don't forget that we are collecting gifts for folks to give away some spots in the Birth Preparation Course. I'd love to collect enough for at least five, the more the better. So just head to drnicolerankins.com/gift in order to do that. All right, so there you have it. Be sure to share this podcast with the friend. Sharing is caring, it helps me reach and serve more people. So if you love this podcast, help your friends love it too by sharing.

(54:02): And be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening to me right now. And if you would be so kind as to leave a review an Apple podcast, I would appreciate it. I read those reviews, I love what to hear, what you say about the show. And I do shout outs from those reviews from time to time as well. And don't forget to follow me on Instagram. I give lots of information there. We can continue the conversation from the podcast on the gram. I'm on Instagram at Dr. Nicole Rankins. So that's it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.