The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Fit Pregnancy has always been a huge advocate of prenatal yoga. It keeps you flexible, in shape, and in touch with your body. You're going through such tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual changes when you're pregnant and yoga keeps you strong and grounded. After you deliver, it helps you get your body back and though I doubt there are any scientific studies to support this–it keeps you from going stark raving mad with the demands of parenting. There's post-partum yoga and mother-baby yoga. Eventually, when your baby's old enough that you can take a class without him/her, you can tap into any of the wonderful yoga traditions that have changed lives for centuries. OK, maybe it won't change your life but at least it'll help you find your abdominal muscles again and give you enough of that "peaceful easy feeling" to maintain your sense of humor during a grocery store tantrum (uh, yep, that's in your future).
Last weekend, I attended the Power to the Peaceful music/yoga/Care festival in San Francisco. Michael Franti (of Michael Franti and Spearhead), world-class musician and yoga practitioner, developed this festival as an annual tradition to celebrate global unity. It has been held on the weekend of September 11 for eleven years and since the tragedy in 2001, has been an opportunity to celebrate bringing people from many cultures together. Michael Franti is a celebrity ambassador for Care and is very active in helping them achieve their humanitarian goals. He's teamed up with Seane Corn, international yoga teacher and activist and a great lineup of musicians (including Alanis Morissette) to put on one heck of a party.
I talked with Seane Corn about her foundation, Off the Mat Into the World (OTM). Seane uses her gifts to share yoga with people all over the world with a special focus on at-risk women and youth. OTM is committed to supporting cultures and communities where basic human needs are at risk. Part of their commitment involves inviting people to take part in an annual Seva Challenge. They pick different organizations to support each year. This year they're asking participants to raise significant funds in support of a few organizations working to eradicate financial and health crises in Africa, and creating sustainable solutions for communities in crisis.
One of the projects they're supporting is one I know will be near and dear to your hearts. Shanti Uganda is building a birth center in Uganda and providing emergency birth kits for women who can't get to a safe birthing facility. The kits include everything needed for a safe out-of-hospital birth from sterile gloves, to a waterproof sheet. The midwives in Uganda who use these kits are continuously adapting what goes into them. Donors in North America purchase the kits for $15, which are then brought to Uganda by volunteers.
I get emails from women all over the world wondering how they can reach out to other women and help them have what American women get to take for granted–a safe birth. Here are some ways:
• Do yoga and spread mindful practices and peaceful solutions through your new family and communities.
• Log on to Seane Corne's foundation, OTM. Consider taking her Seva Challenge or support another yoga practitioner in meeting their challenge. You might be busy with challenges of your own this year.
• Vote, call your senators, congressmen and civic leaders and tell them you want them to take measures to eradicate climate change (which affects poor people directly–remember Katrina, the tsunami?), hunger and women's and girls' rights.
• Write down a list of your own gifts and talents and get creative. There are a million ways to help other women, locally and globally.
Every act of kindness is a drop in the pond. The circles that drop go out in ever-widening waves. You never know who you're going to touch. Any act of service you provide is guaranteed to touch you and your family.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.