When I put together my pregnancy bibliography earlier this year, I wrote about a couple of prenatal fitness things I hadn’t tried. Now that I have, I thought I’d do a fuller review.
Prenatal Yoga with Shiva Rea I heart this dvd! I’ve found myself neglecting all the other fitness things I was doing to have more time for it. There are three workouts of about 20 minutes each, followed by a four-minute guided relaxation, so I can do one, two, or all three sessions, depending on how much time I have. There is a model for each trimester, each wearing a different jewel-toned outfit, demonstrating adaptations of the poses for each, though they are still explained verbally as well. The moves seem to hit everything that gets achy or needs extra help during pregnancy – lower and upper back, leg stretches, side stretches, squats and Kegels. To borrow the words of the friend from whom I’m borrowing the dvd, after doing the workout, I go from feeling like I just can’t live in my body anymore to feeling comfortable in it again. The beautiful music and visuals help in making the whole thing feel like something special I’m doing for myself rather than the dull but necessary time that exercise can so easily be.
Maternal Fitness by Julie Tupler, by comparison, covers most of the same bases, with a lot more explanation, but telling you to do a 1-2 hour workout every other day – difficult with a first pregnancy and pretty much impossible with a second. The big difference is the Tupler Technique, Julie Tupler’s special abdominal exercises, the same in both Maternal Fitness and Lose Your Mummy Tummy. These I find really valuable and do just those, and the prenatal yoga. Maternal Fitness comes as either a book or video/dvd. I borrowed the book and video from a friend. They both have a lot of useful information on preparation for birth and selecting a health care professional, though this is available many other places as well. I disagreed with her philosophy on belly breathing – she seems to want a lot of active pushing in and out of the breath, which doesn’t sync well with my Alexander training, but this is easily skipped and the idea of paying attention to breath might be more valuable for someone less musically trained than I.
The video that I saw was the first of two, the first explaining her 15-minute basic daily routine and basic health things and the second about the full hour-plus workout to be done every other day or so. While the information was good, I was frustrated that the exercises in the video were all intercut with lengthy information. I understand the need for explanation, but on a day-to-day basis, I don’t want the 45 minutes of explanation to be talked through the 15 minutes of workout. Perhaps the dvd version would have just a workout segment, and would certainly make it easier to skip, but I found the video version frustrating to work with in this regard. Between the book and the video, then, I’d go with the book.
The book includes both the long and short workouts, and charts to photocopy with pictures and brief explanations of the exercises. It is deeper than the yoga video in that it goes in depth into why she’s having you do what she is, and exactly what bad exercises will do for your body. That’s useful information to have, and makes it easy to modify your own favorite workout for pregnancy. The abdominal work is unique and useful, and the rest of the information in the book is good to read through. The workouts looked to my midwives and me to be good workouts – they just looked to me like less fun than the yoga and perhaps too time-consuming. As that’s entirely a matter of taste, you, gentle reader, might want to look at both.