Ep 30: The Wonderful Benefits of Pre & Postnatal Yoga with Jeanna Lurie

Although pregnancy discomforts are common, they don’t have to be normal. There are things you can do to feel better and yoga is a great way to alleviate those discomforts!

My guest on this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast is going to help you feel great and comfortable during the nine most important months of your life!

Jeanna Lurie is a pre and postnatal yoga instructor. She started as a doula and a childbirth educator and now holds multiple certifications and trainings in pre and postnatal yoga. She’s also the co-founder of Lotus Blossom Pre & Postnatal Yoga, a training and mentoring program for new yoga teachers.

When she became a mom, she developed a passion for helping and supporting new mothers lead a happy and healthy pregnancy life.

In this conversation, we touched on the wonderful benefits that yoga does for pregnant moms. Jeanna talks about the importance of being certified and educated as a prenatal yoga instructor. We also discuss how you need to make sure the people who are helping you during pregnancy are professionally trained in what they’re doing.

If you’re an expectant mom or a new mom, you’ll surely love this episode!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • Benefits of yoga during pregnancy
  • What’s the right way to give birth
  • What should you look for in a prenatal yoga teacher and in a prenatal yoga class
  • How frequently should women aim to do yoga during pregnancy
  • How can first-timers get started with yoga
  • The difference between common and normal
  • How to combat fear and discomfort in pregnancy
  • The difference between prenatal and postnatal yoga
  • When should you start doing yoga after childbirth
  • Jeanna’s thoughts on online prenatal/postnatal programs
  • The most rewarding and frustrating part of Jeanna’s work
  • How Jeanna’s personal experience as a mom influenced her work as a yoga teacher
  • Favorite piece of advice for expectant moms

Demonstration of Cat/Cow Yoga Poses

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Speaker 1: In this episode of the podcast, I'm talking to a prenatal yoga instructor. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified Ob Gyn physician, certified integrative health coach and creator of The Birth Preparation Course, and online childbirth education class that will leave you feeling knowledgeable, prepared, competent, and empowered going into your birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and it's not as substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.

Speaker 1: Hello. Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast, episode number 30. I am so glad you are here today. Today we have an awesome guest. Her name is Jeanna Lurie and she is a prenatal yoga teacher. Jeanna found her passion for supporting new mothers when she became a mom herself for the first time in 2001 and then again in 2008 and 2010. Her career actually started off as a Doula and a childbirth educator and then she added Prenatal Yoga into the mix in 2004. Jeanna holds multiple certifications in pre and post natal yoga and she also served as the program manager at Blossom, which is a nonprofit resource center for new and expected families in Palo Alto, California. She did that for 11 years and these experiences have you given her unique insight into training new pre and postnatal teachers and in 2016 she cofounded Lotus Blossom Prenatal Yoga teachers training with her colleague, Hilary Eastham.

: And with this training expectant moms and new moms just love Jeanna's classes for her attention to optimal alignment, attention to greater body awareness and comfort, and the frank discussions that she has about giving birth and parenting. Now Jeanna talks about a ton in this episode. We're going to talk about the benefits of yoga in pregnancy, what women should look for in a prenatal yoga teacher and class, how often women should do prenatal yoga, what it's like to start yoga during pregnancy when you haven't done it before, and then postnatal yoga and then so much more. Jeanna is super, super passionate about her work, so much so that she made a video for you guys of a really common and useful yoga pose is called cat cow or pelvic rocking. It really helps a lot in pregnancy, so she made this video for you guys. You can see it in the show notes at www.ncrcoaching.com/episode30, again, that's www.ncrcoaching.com/episode30 and that link will be in the show notes.

Speaker 1: So again, wonderful, wonderful episode. Cannot wait for you guys to listen to it, but before we get into the episode, let me remind you that one week from today on Tuesday, July 30th I am doing a live online class on how to make your birth plan. I will be there to teach you how to approach the process of making your birth plan, the questions that you need to ask, tips to get your doctor and nurses to pay attention to your birth plan and what to include. This is a really awesome training. Women love it, and since I'm doing it live, I'll be able to answer your questions right on the spot. And if you can't make it live, then register anyway and I'll send you the replay video, but I will encourage you to make it live because I do have something special that I am sharing that you can only get if you're there live. So go to www.ncrcoaching.com/register to sign up. I only do this training live about once a month or so. So go ahead and sign up now so you don't miss it. There are also a limited number of spots for this live online class, so sign up today. That's www.ncrcoaching.com/register.

: Nicole: Okay, so without further ado, let's get into today's episode with Jeanna, the Prenatal Yoga instructor. Thank you so much, Jeanna, for agreeing to be on the podcast. I am so excited to have you here because I recently got into yoga within the last year or so, so I'm really excited to have a yoga instructor on.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Yay. I'm excited to be on. I'm excited about Prenatal Yoga and I love your show.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Thank you. Thank you so much. But why don't you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and your work and your family.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: All right. So I've been teaching prenatal yoga now for about 15 years.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Wow. That's a long time.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So I think my interest in birth started when I was pregnant the first time. So my oldest is 18 she's going to be graduating in two weeks, which is a little crazy.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Oh Wow. Congratulations.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Yes. I'm proud of myself that I kept this child alive for 18 years, but in any case, yes. So when I got pregnant with her, I had just finished up college and I actually have a degree in radio and TV in which I focused on how media effects people. I was working with the National Organization for Women in San Francisco and we had a media literacy program where we went into high schools and talked about images in the media. And so when I got pregnant I was like, wow, you know, everything I know about giving birth is from the movies and it's not like that at all!

: Nicole: Not at all.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And then the first thing that got me fired up, and you know, I had a couple of friends who gave birth before me. And so I learned from them and started just really exploring stuff. And before I even gave birth, I had an interest in becoming a doula and a birth educator. And so I went ahead and did that shortly after she was born. And I had done yoga throughout her pregnancy. And I love the fact that with yoga I got to move my body and not have to sit still. I have a childhood of ballet. So I'm definitely a person who likes to move and very body aware. And as I started parenting this child, I got one of those kids who cries all the time and was very precocious. And I found that using the philosophy of yoga and the breath work and the mind body connection really helped me to be a better parent to her. And so that kind of how I got started, I came in first as a doula and birth educator, then got trained as a yoga teacher and then as I parented her, I think that experience really pushed me to focus more on the yoga and just, I mean I just felt like I'm a completely different person than I was when I first became a parent. And some of that's maturity, you know, and experience. And a lot of it really is my yoga practice.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. I feel like for me personally, yoga has helped. I mean it's great exercise, but it also really helps me calm my mind. And not have the chatter and the noise. I can relate to that sort of how it, it helps, it's more than just the physical piece. So you have how many children?

Speaker 3: Jeanna: I have three. My son is my middle child and then the little one is a girl and so they will be 9 and 11 in July.

: Nicole: Okay, awesome. My girls are 9 11 now, so cool. Very good. Why don't we talk about what are some of the benefits of yoga during pregnancy?

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So there are tons and tons of benefits and you know, I have to say that I have experienced them myself personally. I see them in my students and now of course there's a lot of research coming out. It is backing up a lot of what I experienced. There's such a wide range. I think one of the most common reasons people come to prenatal yoga is because you know, their back hurts or they have sciatica or they've got, you know, aches in their ribs or you know, all the common complaints that women have with pregnancy. And so they definitely leave feeling better than when they came in. Of course, like with anything, there's no guarantee. But I definitely think that most women benefit from just feeling more comfortable in their pregnant body. Community I think is huge. So many people, especially here in Silicon Valley where I live, so many people are here without their families.

: Nicole: Right, right.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: They're having a baby and they don't know other people who are having a baby. So they come to prenatal yoga. We always start class with a check-in and they get to know each other and friendships are formed. So there's a lot of support that happens. There's prenatal education, there's you know, chat about what are your options in maternity care. There's breaking down the myths of, you know, what we see in the movies and how that's not really what birth is like. And I think one of the biggest benefits I'm seeing a lot of you know lately and it's just really something I feel passionate about, is a reduction in fear. It's pretty common. Even if you have, I'm sure you felt this as a doctor, you have all this knowledge, but when it's you, and I think a little bit of fear is good, it kinda helps, you know, inform our decision making.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: But I've noticed that a lot of moms will come to my classes with fear that is disabling. They've heard crazy stories about what labor's going to be like or maybe they've heard you know how crazy parenting is going to be and it's overwhelming. I think that that is a huge benefit is between the conversation and the mindfulness practice and the breath work. It really helps them to kind of get in touch with the reality of the experience and how they can actually work through it and have some tools to be empowered in that and the fear really goes down.

: Nicole: Well that's awesome. It sounds like you were able to also really draw experiences as a doula and a childbirth educator, so you're able to bring a little bit of that into your class also.

: Jeanna: Absolutely. I totally weave that in. That's something that I've been known for for years and you know, it shows up in different ways. Like sometimes it's during the check-in. At the beginning of class, people will have questions or you know, sometimes if it's a big issue I'll say, okay, let's table this and we'll come back to it at the end of class when we're know coming back down to the floor and wrapping up with our last few stretches and you know, other times people come in, they don't have questions, they're feeling good. We go through our practice and it's more of a quieter practice. So it depends on who comes and what they're asking for and no, I think that's one reason as a birth educator that I found myself going more towards prenatal yoga is that when you come into yoga, you come in a little bit more open. You know, there's not a set agenda. And I found that when I was teaching birth classes, sometimes people would come in with this really set agenda and if you taught something that was different than what they were used to, they would just shut everything out.

Speaker 3: Nicole: Got it.

: Jeanna: I find that most of the students I work with now, because they don't know we're going to talk about when they come in and they get to ask questions and they get to commiserate and they get to compare notes and they get to walk away with whatever they want to walk away with. And I always tell them that too. I said, if this works for you, great. If it doesn't, reject this bit and maybe something else will resonate with you. I think that's something, you know I've really learned in working with birthing women for so long is that he knows there's not really one right way to give birth.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I say that all the time. There is no one right way to give birth.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And I mean if I had to answer that question, what's the right way to give birth, it would be however you feel empowered, you know? Because I think that maybe not having information or not feeling like you're in control of your own body. Maybe that's the wrong way to give birth, but you know, in terms of get an epidural, don't get an epidural, home or hospital or birth center or midwife or Ob or... None of that matters as long as you're having the experience where you feel like a human and you're honored.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Exactly. For sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. So I know one of the things you're really fired up about is making sure that women have access to prenatal yoga teachers and classes, especially a teacher that is trained in what she does. So what should women look for in a prenatal yoga teacher and then also in a prenatal yoga class?

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Yes. Okay. This is kind of an interesting issue because currently the yoga industry is unregulated. So what that means is that any person off the street could say, hey, I'm a yoga teacher and there is no government agency that, you know, is checking your credentials or telling you that you can teach or not teach. And you know, there are some industry standards and most people are aware of that. We have an organization called the Yoga Alliance that kind of set some standards for what is typical training. I kinda think their standards are too low and that's kind of based on me coming in sort of in a way that I don't recommend my trainees to come in. I started as a doula and birth educator. I took a 40 hour prenatal training and there I was, I was a yoga teacher. It was not very long in and I just thought this is just not enough training.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So I went in and took a 200 hour just kind of standard general yoga training and I felt a little bit more comfortable, but it still didn't feel like enough. So I took more and more and more trainings and I've got I think four or five pre/postnatal trainings under my belt and I've now done enough hours that I'm considered a 500 hour level teacher. What the Yoga Alliance calls ERYT, or experienced registered yoga teacher, which means that I've taught, I don't even remember what the standard is now. I've taught so many thousands of hours that I'm like way above anyway, so I don't even remember what the exact number is anymore. But all of that said, you know, I think it's really important that a teacher not only has that training, but they're also curious for information. They're engaged in the birth community. If they have questions about something they have Ob's or midwives or physical therapists or chiropractors that they can ask those questions. That they know their own scope of practice.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: We're not medical practitioners. I always tell that to my students, you know, so my goal is not for them to get their information or their medical advice from me, but rather be aware of certain issues so they can go and ask questions about it. You know? And I always tell them, well here's what I know, here's what research says, here's what my training says, here's what's my experience says. This is not medical advice. This is just educational experience. You can go and ask someone. My worry is that I have known of people in the Yoga community where they are a 200 hour teacher and they get pregnant, they have a baby and now they're a prenatal yoga teacher. Having the experience of giving birth is not enough. That's one person's experience. So that certainly does not constitute the kind of training involved to be able to facilitate a good class.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And I think sometimes people will go to a class and they'll get a teacher who can lead poses. But, yoga is not really just exercise, especially with the prenatal body. There are nuances that you have to be aware of. If you've got a mom who doesn't really have any discomforts or anything major, that might be fine. But if you get a mom who comes in with something like pubic symphysis pain, that's my little pet peeve of pregnancy discomforts because it affects a lot of women and it's not so easy to move around with. So anyway, that's one I've been kind of looking at myself, reading research and so forth. But if you don't have training around those issues, you can really hurt somebody. And so that's why I feel really, really strongly about that and you know, I do train prenatal yoga teachers and that's something that we are very clear about in our training.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Our training exceeds the minimum requirements that the yoga alliance dictates and it includes a mentorship component and what we tell our students is, hey, this is really truly the minimum if you want to be teaching prenatal yoga. If you're thinking you want to do this as a career, we highly recommend that you continue to sit in on classes of more experienced teachers. We think you should continue to mentor with us or other experienced teachers. You need to keep learning. Some people take our training because they want to use it along with other work, like maybe they're a doula and they want to incorporate a little bit of yoga into their practice and that's fine, but if you're going to lead a group class with regularity, we really think that what we offer is just kind of a launchpad.

: Nicole: Gotcha. Okay. Do you think when women look for a prenatal yoga class and teacher, they should ask specifically if that teacher has had additional training specifically for prenatal yoga beyond what the normal or 200 hour training is?

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So I think that the minimum should be 200 hour training and at least an 85 hour prenatal training on top of that. Even more than that, it's kind of the attitude of the teacher. If she is somebody who is always looking to know more and is really committed to, you know the women that she leads or is this just kind of something she does on the side cause it's cute? You know, and I've known a lot of teachers, they are excited about it. Maybe they just had their own baby, they get fired up about it. They teach maybe a year and then that's not their thing. And I kind of feel like if they're doing that, it's a little bit of a disservice to the students they're working with juxtapose, we all need to start somewhere. So juxtapose that against a new teacher who is really committed to it and is saying to her students, you know when they say, Oh, I have this question, and that inexperienced teacher says, you know, I don't know the answer to that.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And I still say this. I don't know the answer to that, but I know who knows. Let me get back to you or I'm not really sure. Let's work on it together. How does this feel in your body? How does that feel in your body? It's really more about that. If you have a teacher who has basic training and she's really showing a commitment to learn more and to help you and to work with you, then to me, that's really what makes the difference between a good teacher.

: Jeanna: You could have somebody who's been teaching forever, but if they're not engaged in the birth community, they're not engaged in new research, they're not really changing what they've done in the last 10 years, then I would rather work with a new teacher who is doing that.

: Nicole: That makes a lot of sense. You really want to connect with someone who's really committed to helping you doing your pregnancy in the best way possible.

: Jeanna: Absolutely. I know I have to say like here I am in Silicon Valley, like we've got yoga teachers all over the place. If a mom is listening to this and she's in New York or she's in la or she's in a big urban area, there's going to be a lot of opportunities to really do a little homework and find somebody that truly is a good teacher who's really thinking critically about what they're offering in the class. If you know you're in a more rural area, you may not have access two options. There might not be any prenatal yoga at all and so I think that gets a little bit tricky because I do think there's such an advantage of practicing with an experienced teacher and you know if you're in an urban area, you have that choice, which I think sometimes is unfortunate because I know like here in Silicon Valley, women are really, really busy with work and the cost of living is so high.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: People are really in that hustle all the time. They think, oh, I'll just, you know, watch a video or I'll just take an online class. You really don't get the same out of it as when you're working with somebody who can meet you where you are and give you the guidance that is individual to you. But you know, if you're in a place where that's not available, you know, I do think that moving your body is better than not moving, but you know, perhaps that's an opportunity to get in touch with us and have us come trained. Some people, my teaching partner and I are working on that for this year, is really taking our teacher training outside of this area so we can really bring what we offer to more communities.

: Nicole: Gotcha. Awesome.

: Jeanna: Yeah, and you know, we're also available, like if there was somebody in a rural area who doesn't have access to this, I would love to do a class with them via Skype. You know, where it is individualized. Even though we're not in the same room,thatI would be better than just say practicing along with a video.

: Nicole: That would be very helpful. That would be very helpful. For sure.

: Jeanna: There are options.

Speaker 3: Nicole: How frequently should women aim to do yoga during their pregnancy? Like once a week, couple times a week. What's a nice optimal frequency?

: Jeanna: Yes, I get asked that a lot. And you know, I think optimally two or three times a week in a class is if you can do it, if you can do it more great. But you know even once a week is fantastic and what I tell my students is on the days that you can't get to class, just take five or 10 minutes, do a few cat cows, do a downward facing dog, do a pose you really love and maybe do one that maybe you don't like so much, but just take a few minutes of your time and just doing cat cow every day is really going to make a huge difference.

: Nicole: So just even a little bit every day, it helps. And then make it to a class as much as you can.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Yeah. Yeah. And I find that a lot of moms, I had this experience quite a lot with my students where they're like, well, you know, I'd love to do it at home, but I have no idea what to do when I get there. I forget. And so that's why I always tell them, okay, just focus on cat pal and a dog pose because those are very easy. Gosh, you know, cat cow. Sometimes we looked through a pregnancy book, they call it pelvic rocking. There is so much going on. I don't ever teach a class without that. There's just so much going on in that simple movement. It's, you know, using gravity to take the weight of the baby away from the lower back and give that a little relief. It's using some gentle movement to loosen up the back, take care of any stiffness that's happening there.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: It helps to coordinate the breath. So you always want to exhale as the tailbone tucks under and the abs draw, you know the baby into mom's spine on cat with the back rounded. And then you always want to inhale when you go the opposite way into cow. And that breath coordination is really essential for core stability. So that's a really simple low impact way that women can affect their abdominals, their lower back and their pelvic floor.

: Nicole: That's awesome. Easy to do and doesn't take a minute.

: Jeanna: Exactly. And I'll tell moms, you know what, when you get out of bed in the morning, take a couple minutes, do your cat cows before you go to bed, do your cat cows and then you know, come to class when you can.

: Nicole: Okay. So if a woman hasn't done yoga before, I know my answer to this, but what is your answer to this about getting started during pregnancy? How does she get started? Is it okay?

: Jeanna: It's absolutely okay. So many women come to yoga for the first time when they're pregnant. I had tried yoga here and there a couple of times before I had my oldest, but it was prenatal yoga that gave me that regular practice. And I've been practicing ever since. So I think sometimes people have heard about yoga, whether they're pregnant or not. They think, oh, I want to try that. It's kind of intimidating and especially, you know, walking into say a yoga studio or an unfamiliar place. I will say that, you know, where I teach when they come into my class, I'm a very warm person and I work really hard to make people feel at ease. And I think most yoga teachers come from that sort of energy place. You know, they really do want to make their students feel comfortable.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So I would say just Google Prenatal Yoga, see what's in your area, go out, try a couple of classes. If you're feeling a little bit uncomfortable, give the studio or that teacher a call and make a connection before you walk in so you feel a little more comfortable. But in terms of, you know, starting when you pregnant, that's a great time to start yoga. It's very gentle. It's not easy.

: Jeanna: You know, sometimes people think that prenatal yoga is just like watered down yoga that's super easy. We do movements in my class that are physically challenging but in a very gentle low impact way. So, for instance, we might hold the pose for some time and use the breath to get through muscles working really hard. But we're not doing anything that's fast paced or moving too quickly or hard to understand. It's a really, really nice form of yoga for someone who's never done it before.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And then I also have women in my class that have been practicing for years, but they want the benefit of being around other pregnant moms or just the focus on preparing for labor. It's very much a mixed level class. And you know, I feel like I'm really able to kind of address everybody's needs. And sometimes even if you are a very physical person, maybe you are an athlete or maybe you have practiced yoga for years, you know, you're pregnant and your body is saying, hey, slow down. Or just hey, things are just different. It's not as easy as oh, a beginner, you know, needs something level one and an experienced person needs something at a higher level. It's not that black and white with prenatal.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So just come in and go for it.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Yeah. I always tell moms, you know, if something doesn't feel right in your body, you are always welcome to come down to child's pose. Or if you want to step out of class and get some fresh air, that's an option. And of course I'm there for guidance. So you know, maybe in a regular yoga class, you feel weird yelling out like, hey, I need help over here, but not prenatal yoga because you know, we do have the community building at the beginning of class. People are really comfortable and I'm always willing to go over and give somebody a modification. So when people come in and they say, Hey, I've never done yoga before, I tell them, you know, listen to your body, do what feels right. If something doesn't feel right or you're not sure, just ask me. I'll help you modify it so that it feels right in your body.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Awesome. So along those similar lines about the modifications, maybe this is kind of similar, it sounds like as a yoga instructor you can help women deal with their own personal discomforts of pregnancy.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Yes. I think that is one reason why doctors will often refer people to prenatal yoga because it really does make people feel better in their body when they're pregnant. You know, reducing back discomfort. It's an interesting thing because like the Yoga Alliance has a clause where you can't, I don't even remember how it's worded now. You can't offer your services as therapeutic. It's considered out of the scope. But with Prenatal Yoga, I think it's a little bit different because most of the time, obviously there's exceptions, but most of the time the discomforts of pregnancy, they're not injury, they're not pathology, they're just extra weight and you're not holding your body in a way that is keeping the pressure in a place where your body can handle it.

: Nicole: You got it. Yeah.

: Jeanna: And I always joke with my students because so many of them will come in and say, oh, well this hurts, but my doctor said it's normal, and I always tell them, okay, there's a difference between common and normal. Normal means there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to accept it. Common means a lot of people get it. I say what you have is common and maybe we'll address this and nothing will work. That's certainly a possibility, but chances are you just need to move your body and you need to be more mindful about how you move through your day when you're not in yoga class.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I think that's a great way to look at it. And I've probably been guilty of the same thing of saying like this is normal, but it really does need to be approached. Like this is the discomfort it's not a pathology. It's common, but here are some things you can do to try to help alleviate it.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, I just find that so many of the moms, like it's an overwhelmingly high percentage. I should probably do a survey and come up with a number. It's a vast majority of people who come through my class will tell you that they feel physically better. So occasionally I get someone who does it and nine times out of ten it's that pesky pubic symphysis that's the issue. But you know, most of the time we're able to address it. And even if she walks out and she says, Gosh, like just still just really hurts, she still feels better in the sense of there's emotional support for whatever that discomfort is.

: Jeanna: There's comradery, there's other women that have experienced it, so you know, she's not feeling alone. So even if physically she hasn't feel better, there's an emotional level of feeling better.

: Nicole: Which counts. For sure. That's definitely important. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: It totally counts. So I just feel like there's just so much we can do in Yoga to address those things in no. I also really want to say that after teaching for as long as I have, and this is so important for all the moms listening today, I would say a small percentage of the discomforts in pregnancy are directly caused by pregnancy. I think the majority of those discomforts are actually caused my sitting too much. Most of us have jobs, especially here in Silicon Valley, you know, my students are sitting at, you know, theyre computer programmers and working for tech companies and they're sitting at a computer for eight plus hours in a day. So we talk about ways of bringing movement into that work day. So I really feel like that low back ache is it because mom is pregnant, it's because she's been sitting in a way where her body's out of alignment.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: She's not moving very much to, you know, kind of keep those joints working properly. And then she gets, and that's kind of the straw that breaks the camel's back. Like she can't ignore the discomfort anymore. And it's really interesting. I love my husband and you know, he won't mind me saying this, I do all the time, but like he works in Silicon Valley and his back is a mess as a result. And a lot of his discomforts are parallel with my pregnant moms.

: Nicole: Gotcha. That makes a lot of sense.

: Jeanna: I never want my moms to feel judged. Like there is a reality that their job requires certain things of them. So we really try and talk about ways of troubleshooting it realistically, you know, I don't think they can just go quit their job and you know, go be a hunter gatherer. That's not realistic. But we talk about can you bring a ball to work and sit on a ball instead of a chair? Maybe you'll move around, you'll circle your hips, you'll bounce a little bit on it. Can you, you know, instead of sitting and having a meeting with your coworker, can you go for a little while while you chat?

: Nicole: Right.

: Jeanna: Can you take a phone call while you're walking? Can you walk around your office? Can you sit a little bit, stand a little bit, go to the ball a little bit? Can you go to the bathroom, the furthest one away from your desk so you walk a little bit extra?

: Nicole: And all of these things are things that help you outside of pregnancy.

: Jeanna: Absolutely. I think that's something else that's really nice about prenatal yoga is, yeah, I think for a lot of women it's a time in your life because now you have this new life inside of you and you're thinking not only what can I do more healthy for me, but for my family, for my baby. So I know for myself, like my good eating habits started when I became a mom. I didn't care about that before then. People are more conscientious about it and these are things, you know, they learn things in prenatal yoga, just healthy lifestyle stuff that lasts way beyond. And I think even, you know, when we talk specifically about pelvic floor and core issues, I always tell them, I said, you know, the squatting we're doing, I hope it helps you in your birth, but it's not just about that. It's really about you having control of your bladder when you're 80. You know, we can do things now and prevent incontinence later in life or prolapses or things of this nature. A lot of that is related to lifestyle, birth apart. I'm not going to deny that, but I think sometimes people focus only on that and I think even the research on pelvic floor integrity looks at just the mode of birth.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: They don't ask those moms their lifestyle habits outside of that. It kind of exists in this bubble. I'm not sure how they could do research on that. Like you know, like in what I see is that women really can get in touch with their body and have an effect on how their body functions in pregnancy and postpartum and way beyond that.

: Nicole: Awesome. Now speaking of postpartum, what about Postnatal Yoga? How is that different from prenatal yoga or is it different?

: Jeanna: Yes and no. I offer a mom baby class, which obviously you bring your baby, so you do it after you have your baby.

: Nicole: Oh, that's nice.

: Jeanna: Yeah. The exception to that is when moms come with their toddler and they're pregnant the second time, which does happen and then there's cross over the other way too. Sometimes moms want to come to yoga after they've had their baby but they want to have a practice that's uninterrupted and so they'll leave baby at home with dad or grandma and comes to prenatal class even though they're postpartum. In that case they generally will do the prenatal sequence that I've set out and if they come with regularity I'll kind of watch their progress and maybe throw in little nuances here that are specifically postpartum that I went and give to the prenatal moms but they're very subtle, subtle things. You know for the most part, like if I had a whole group of moms and everybody was postpartum like in the mom baby class, we are going to be doing more that focuses on core stability but it's not going to be completely different than what we did in the prenatal class. You know, just like what I was talking about with the cat cow and the breath coordination, the issue is that we're all individuals, so if you were to work one on one with the teacher, you might get something completely different than if you were in a group class with the same teacher.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And that's because, you know, when I'm teaching a group, I'm going to do stuff that's going to be good for everybody, no matter what the state of their pelvic floor or what the state of their abdominal muscles are going to be. Whereas if I'm working one on one, then we can get very specific about what that mom needs.

: Nicole: Got It. That makes a lot of sense. How soon can women start yoga after birth?

: Jeanna: The rule of thumb generally is six weeks postpartum. Kind of like with anything else. I think that's sort of the rule of thumb, you know, for any sort of exercise. What I tell moms is if you find yourself needing support, being around other pregnant moms, especially for those moms who don't have family in the area, you can come to class before then, but chances are you're going to spend most of the class chatting with the other moms, nursing your baby, maybe a little bit of the meditation and a very light, gentle stretch.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: You're not going to be doing any of the more vigorous movements that we might do if you were six months postpartum as opposed to, you know, four weeks. Usually moms don't come that early. I think it just takes some time to get used to their baby and figure out what the heck's going on and get a new routine. Usually, especially with the second or third time on, I've had moms come as early as 10 days postpartum. And they're like, you know what? I know that I have take the other kids to school. I have to, you know, do these other things. And it's really nice to sit in community, you know, with everybody else. From time to time that again, when I have that mom coming in, I'm going to be very, very mindful that she is not overdoing it and really she's there more for the community and the meditation than anything.

: Nicole: Yeah. Okay. I get that. What about online programs? There are lots of folks who don't necessarily, I feel like they have the time to go to a class or when is it near them? What are your thoughts on online prenatal, postnatal yoga programs?

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So my thought is that some movement is better than nothing, so if you truly cannot get to a class, maybe there's one not available in your area or you truly have a job that is so demanding that you can't make it to a class. Then doing something with an online class is better than not doing anything. For those moms like that live in this area that just thinks they don't have time for it, I really, really want them to reconsider that. Having a baby, as you know, is not a convenient thing. You can't really, get your kid to go along with your needs. You really do have a need to take care of yourself to take care of your baby and the benefits you get from working with an experienced instructor far, far outweigh what you would get in working with a video or something online.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: That personalization, is really, really critical. So it is very possible that a mom, let's say, has, you know the common backache of pregnancy and she does something with an online video and it's not helping and she might think, oh, I tried yoga, it didn't help. Well, what she really needs is an instructor to say, hey, you know what, your hands are too close to your feet, or hey, you're not tucking your pelvis enough. Those little simple nuances that somebody wouldn't understand if there wasn't somebody there telling them.

: Jeanna: And I'll even say, you know, as an experienced Yogi, I can't tell you how many years I was telling people, line your hands up with your shoulders. And I went to class one day and my teacher said, line your hands up with your shoulders. And I'm like, I tell people that all the time. What do you mean they're not lined up?

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Then she goes, you can move them out a smidge. You know, it's just those little things. You don't always have that awareness without somebody else telling you even. You know, you intellectually know, you might not understand that your body hasn't gotten the memo, you know? So I think working with the teacher really is the way to go. But then again, if it truly isn't available to you online is better than not doing anything. But if you can get in touch with a teacher who isn't in your area and set up an appointment to do it. Skype, I think that, I actually have taught a woman in my area, but I was doing a pelvic floor yoga with a small group of ladies semi-private. And one night, one of the moms there was like a pouring rainstorm and she was across town. She just couldn't get here.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So we patched her in via Skype. And it worked great, I was still able to say, hey, how are you doing over there? And she's like in front of the camera. And I'm like, okay, yeah, yeah, move your hand over or whatever. So it can work. And I think that obviously in person is better, but if that's not an option, you probably could get a one-on-one or even, you know, if you have a friend or to get them together and kind of share the costs.

: Nicole: Oh, that's an idea. Get a couple of friends together and do a class. And then about how long is a typical class?

: Jeanna: Most of my prenatal classes are either an hour and 15 minutes or an hour and a half. Our check in takes anywhere from 15 minutes to a half an hour depending on how much time we have and how big the classes. You know, sometimes my Sunday class can get pretty big and so we will use up that full half hour for check in. But I try to have a full 55 to 60 minutes of meditation and actual yoga practice whenever I can. So yeah.

: Nicole: About an hour to an hour and a half.

: Jeanna: And you know, when I started teaching Yoga, there was one style that I got trained in in which classes were two or even two and a half hours. And a full half of the class was discussion, but usually it wasn't just to check in it. The teacher would bring in a scene and that's kind of a nice format too for moms who can take the time to do that.

: Nicole: Right. But that's a long time.

: Jeanna: It's a really long time and I think that at this point in time, very few women in our area are able to commit. There was even, I saw a little market research study done that showed that, and this wasn't about prenatal yoga, it was just exercise, yoga boutique, you know, exercise programs in general. That shorter classes were more popular. And I think that it's just that people feel like they don't have the time to come in, you know, they can give up an hour to go to a yoga class, but to give up two hours, even though the practice might be much better or much more in depth, it's just not realistic.

: Nicole: And in our society, our attention spans are not as long. So yeah, two hours probably is a lot. Just to kind of wrap up a few questions about your work. What is the most rewarding part of your work and working with women because you focus exclusively on prenatal yoga, is that right?

: Jeanna: Yeah, I mean I am certified to teach other classes and I do sometimes, I've been working on and off to get a functional flow class off the ground. So very similar in energy spirit to what I do prenatally just not prenatally, you know, but focus on alignment and you know something. I think that's really important for office workers, just how to bring that movement into their body and so forth. So I have done those classes. Currently, right now I'm only teaching pre and postnatal. I would say that that is and will be my specialty forever.

: Nicole: What's the most rewarding part of that?

: Jeanna: I think the most rewarding part of that is just connecting with moms. I kind of feel like my purpose in life, if I was to put it into just one word, is connection. You know, connection between me and my children, connection between me and my students. Facilitating connection between other people. So seeing, you know, women just really connect with each other and connecting with them is super rewarding. I can have like kind of a meh day and walk in to teach yoga and suddenly like I'm so focused on those moms and we're chatting.

Speaker 3: Nicole: Okay.

: Jeanna: It's just such a warm environment and I feel like they get so much out of that connection.

: Nicole: I'm sure they do. That's just super rewarding. On the flip side, what's the most frustrating part of your work?

: Jeanna: The most frustrating, you know, there's nothing that's overwhelmingly frustrating. There's a lot of little things that are frustrating like pregnant moms. I love you ladies. You're notoriously late. I wish that they would come in 10 minutes early, set up their mats, time to go to the bathroom and that we can all start right on time. And that's probably people trickle in that first 10-15 minutes. But you know, I think another thing that drives me nuts, and this is really not about teaching itself, it's the business stuff. In modern times that you've got to post on social media. Yes. Write blogs, you have to do it all. And that's a little overwhelming. Sometimes I just feel like, can I just teach?

Speaker 3: Nicole: Right.

: Jeanna: That's the reality of, I guess, modern life, modern business. How has your, and you talked about this a little bit, but is there anything you want to add about how your personal experiences as a mom, how has that influenced your work as a yoga teacher?

: Jeanna: Yeah, hugely. There is a big gap between my first and my second, and that was by choice. The first one, like I said, she's still a firecracker. I love her, she has turned into the most amazing young adult. I really, she's amazing, but she gave me a run for my money from the day she came out and it was just really hard and I definitely had postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety. I struggled a lot those first few years. You know, I always want to make moms feel like they're supported, they're not alone. Being a mom can be very joyful, but it can be very isolating or very challenging and I like to be very realistic about that experience and it really comes from my own personal experience.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: I just had a mom come in a few classes back and she's been every class I've taught since. But you know, as we did the check in, I came around to her and she was like, my body is okay but I feel really lonely. And I just totally addressed that. I'm like, well guess what? You're in a room of other moms. I've been there. I know what that loneliness feels like. We talked about it a little bit and she left saying it made her feel a lot better. I really feel like my own personal experiences, you know, I mean there's a huge range for moms, so I never want to project my experience on everyone. But you know, I do have an idea of how things can go and how birth doesn't always turn out the way you want it to turn out or turn out or breastfeeding doesn't turn out.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And I really draw on those experiences to be more compassionate and be just more open and it just helps me to kind of listen and hold space for people.

: Nicole: That's awesome. That's really amazing. Let's end with what is your favorite piece of advice to give to expect moms.

: Jeanna: Yeah, so I am pretty well known for a mantra. You can do anything for one minute. So many moms come in and they're like, oh yeah, my sister had 36 hours of labor, or my friend was in labor for a full day or two days or some just crazy number that is so overwhelming. And I go, okay, well what if I told you that labor's actually a minute? They were like what? Well, you know when you're in active labor, your average contraction is about a minute. I go, can you do something uncomfortable for a minute? And they're like, oh yeah.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: And you know, we might hold lawyer pose or you know, a high squat or something like that that's really uncomfortable for a full minute. And I help them to learn to breathe through that and to find a way of focusing the mind. And I've had so many moms come back and say, I kept hearing your voice during labor. You can do it for one minute, just do it for one minute. And I think just breaking that down, you know, takes a little bit of the overwhelm out of it. I think that that's probably one of my biggest pieces of advice.

: Nicole: I liked that a lot.

: Jeanna: That and then just also reminding them that they're autonomous beings, you know, and that they have ownership over their body and ultimately whatever is done in their pregnancy, their birth, their postpartum parenting choices, they're the ones that are in control. And sometimes I hear language that makes me feel like they're getting the message that they're not in control.

: Nicole: Oh, like allow?

: Jeanna: Yes. Oh Wow. Oh my gosh. I'm like, whoa, this is your body, you get to do whatever. So a lot of times topics will come up and I'll say, okay, well here's what the research says. Or here's something you might want to ask your doctor. But in the end I remind them, you know, if this doesn't feel comfortable to you, you don't have to do it. Even if it is in your best interest, or your baby's, you get to be the one to decide.

: Nicole: So, and here's the thing, women want to do things that are in their baby's best interests and that are in their best interests. They all do. Yeah. I don't know why we ever think that women don't want to do that.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: I'll be honest, like I don't practice very much as a doula anymore, but when I was, it used to drive me nuts when you know the hospital personnel would say things like, oh well we're just looking out for your baby. Like I wanted to scream at them. Do you think she's not? Like there is nobody who cares about the wellbeing of this baby more than this woman.

: Nicole: We do definitely have some like allow, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine and something that I realized that I didn't understand how indoctrinated I was in the culture as well. Like this control over what happens in women's bodies and we should not have that control. Women should have the control over what happens in their bodies.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so I think sometimes moms need to be reminded of that. And, even when I teach and we make a big deal about this, when we're training other teachers. You know? And I should just pause here and give a shout out to my teaching partner, Hillary Isa, because we do our training together and she's amazing. But we make a big point when we're training our trainees. You can't just adjust somebody. You can't assume that because they walked into your class, they want you to put your hands on them. So when you go, even if it's something really light, like I never do have the adjustments. I do very light. But even if you're just touching their shoulder, if this is someone you don't know, say, hey, is it okay if I give you this little adjustment? Are you comfortable? And close to 100% of the time I get an okay. More than getting that okay, is I'm sending them the message if they have a right to refuse their body. And then of course, you know, once you get to know people and they've been coming to your class for a long time, you'll have to ask every time. But you know, I want them to know that they have the right to say no, I'm not really comfortable with that.

: Nicole: Yeah. And that's really important, really important. So where can women find you if they're interested in learning more about you?

Speaker 3: Jeanna: So me specifically, I have my own website. It's www.jeannalurie.com. And then my partner Hillary and I for our training, we're www.lotusblossomprenatalyoga.com and now we're also offering classes for moms in our community under that name. So we started off just as a teacher training and we've expanded.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay, well I will link to all of that in the show notes.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: I will tell your listeners if you have questions about yoga, you can tell I'm passionate about it. I love talking about it. You are always welcome to email me your questions or you know, just say hi or if you're interested in being trained as an instructor or bringing a training to your area, love to connect with you all.

Speaker 1: Nicole: That is amazing. I really appreciate you putting out the offer. It's clear that you are passionate about it. You've got me kind of fired up about maybe doing an in person class. I've done yoga mostly like online cause I'm an introvert. So going out to a class has always been like, I don't know, but maybe I need to try and in person yoga class.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: Check it out and remember that there are so many different schools of yoga. So if you try something and you don't like it, try something else. And if you have questions about that, I am happy to answer them. I'm not big on the hot yoga even though I actually teach at a hot yoga studio. But prenatal's never heated.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Oh yeah, that's, you can't, that would be probably that safe. But I have heard a lot about hot yoga. I have some friends who have said that they've tried hot yoga, something people seem like they either love it or hate it.

Speaker 3: Jeanna: I think that's true and you know, I love the community at the studio where I teach. It's wonderful and there's just a lot of great people who come through the doors just for, you know, regular hot yoga. But sometimes my students get kind of scared when they come in the first time they're like, is prenatal hot? I'm like, no, no, no, no. Keep it warm. Maybe you know, low seventies but no, if you're hot you let me know and I'll flip on the air.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah, yeah. All right. Well thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it. Lots of great information.

Speaker 3: Jeanna:Yeah, thank you so much for having me. This was fantastic.

: Nicole: All right, take care. Talk to you later. Bye Bye.

Speaker 1: Nicole: All right. Was that an amazing episode? I told you that Jeanna is super passionate about what she does. I know you can hear it in her voice and she gets some outstanding information. And like I said, she has me thinking about trying it in person yoga class. I do it online cause I'm an introvert, but I need to try that in person class. All right, so after every episode I do something called Nicole's notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the episode. So these are Nicole's notes from this episode with Jeanna.

: Number one, she talked about how yoga is more than just exercise and this is something that I have definitely noticed for myself. The breathwork and the movement just helps you to have a more peaceful, calm and centered to life. She talked about how it helped her with being a better mom. So yoga is more than just exercise. You're going to get more benefits out of it.

: Number two, I liked how she talked about the difference between common and normal and that although pregnancy discomforts are often common, they do not necessarily have to be normal. I think as Ob Gyn we tend to have this attitude of you're gonna have aches and pains and pregnancy and you're just kind of having to deal with it. And I think that's because of our training. We don't get a lot of training on techniques and things that women can do to help ease those sorts of common discomforts. So I think this is a great example of how there are things that you can do to feel better. Yoga is a great way to do that. And again, she has that quick video of cat cow pose, pelvic rocking that you can do just a couple of times a day and it'll be very helpful for you. So don't forget to check out that video.

: All right, number three, fear is common in pregnancy. She sees that a lot. I see that a lot. And the best way to combat fear is to educate yourself with some sort of childbirth education, whether that's books or an in person class or online class or my online class, The Birth Preparation C,ourse do take some time to educate and prepare yourself so you don't need to be here, pregnancy and birth.

: And then the last thing, one thing you want to be sure of is that the people who you are allowing to help you during your pregnancy, you want to make sure that they are trained in what they're doing. Jeanna talked a lot about being really certified and educated as a prenatal yoga instructor and how really it doesn't take a lot necessarily for someone to say they are prenatal yoga teacher. That's in contrast to say as a physician or midwife, there are lots of regulations in place to make sure that we are qualified to do what we do, but you don't necessarily have those regulations in place for somebody like a prenatal yoga teacher or a Doula for example, or a massage therapist for instance. You need to be sure that when you are working with someone during pregnancy, whether it's a Doula, Yoga teacher, that you have done your research to make sure that they are qualified and trained to do what they say they are doing because there aren't like certifications necessarily or standards in place outside of the medical professional for people who are working in pregnancy.

: All right, so that's it for this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts and I would love it if you would leave an honest review in iTunes. It helps other women find my show and I give a shout out on future episodes from people who leave me those reviews in iTunes.

: Also, don't forget about that live online class on how to make your birth plan. You do want to miss this, it's great information that I know you're going to find useful. I only do it about once a month or so, but even if you can't show up live, register for it and I'll send you the replay video. That's www.ncrcoaching.com/register, and that link will be in the show notes. Now next week on the podcast I am talking about GBS, which is group Beta strep in pregnancy. I'll tell you what it is, why it matters in pregnancy, how he's treated, all that good, great stuff. So come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.

Speaker 2: Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan, as well as my comprehensive online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course with over eight hours of content and a private course community. The Birth Preparation Course will leave you knowledgeable, prepared, confident, and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.