Why I’m still doing hot yoga at 36 weeks

sweatpink beyond yoga

Because it feels good. 

I could end the post right there. That pretty much sums up why we do anything, right?

Yoga during pregnancy has been a curious journey. First trimester, I did literally nothing at all except curl up on my couch, retch in child’s pose, and nibble on potato chips.

napping with tigger

Second trimester, I tried easing back in: I started going to regular vinyasa classes or prenatal classes instead of the faster-paced, heated classes that were my pre-pregnancy go-to. It felt okay. Despite a few weird experiences, I was convinced that yoga would make me better at labor, so even though most of the classes I went to weren’t thrilling, I kept going. I accepted that the post-yoga bliss was maybe one of the sacrifices you make for the life growing inside you.

sweatpink yoga
Okay, this class actually had some bliss attached – but that’s because I did it with Christie. 🙂

Then, a few weeks ago, I took Liz’s class in Portland, and it felt amazing. She’s an amazing instructor, with creative, fun transitions, and a flow style that makes you feel like you’re dancing.

liz alyse jamie yoga pearl

In her class, I also reconnected to something that I loved and that made me feel so good. Even with my modifications, it felt so liberating to move and to sweat, and after class, that rush of yoga bliss came back. I can only assume that Moonshine got to experience that rush of endorphins, too—and experiencing the joy of post-sweaty bliss feels like the best gift I can give her.

Then I accidentally went to a hot power yoga class back in Austin—a happy accident in which I  misread the schedule—and again, it was gamechanging. Liberation is the best word I can come up with to describe how it felt to both use my body in ways that it loves, and at the same time to escape the heavy, off-kilter way that it often feels these days.

It was liberating to not be treated like a fragile, precious creature. It was liberating to trust my body to know when to modify and when I could push myself further. In all the hot yoga classes I’ve taken, instructors pretty much leave me alone—which I love—and let me do my own thing. They never ask me to explain my modifications or how I’m feeling mid-class, and being left alone that way gives me license to escape into my body and out of my head.

It’s a very different experience than many of the prenatal classes I’ve taken,* where it felt like it was my job in class to manage the instructors’ anxiety about my body, any modifications I made, or any poses I opted out of. For me, that’s a huge obstacle to getting into the yoga, and an endorphin-block with a 100% success rate.

For now, it feels so good to be pregnant but also still be me. And surprisingly, I haven’t gotten any comments or criticisms when I show up for class or talk about my practice. The pregnancy police has been concerned with other behaviors, like bridge pose at 20 weeks, but my hot yoga habit has somehow escaped their radar.

And, of course, there are a few other benefits: 

  • People routinely put my props away for me. I’m not sure why, but something about the giant belly sweating next to them inspires them to help me out. #notcomplaining
  • While instructors tend to leave me alone during class, they’re super complimentary and kind after class.
  • I get to skip the abs. #enoughsaid
  • I never have to justify or explain my modifications. There are some I make for reasons not related to my pregnancy, but I get carte blanche to just do whatever the hell I want, without being “corrected” out of those adjustments. Now that’s liberating.

* Granted, most of the prenatal yoga I’ve done has been while traveling, so I was new to the class and the instructors. I so appreciate their concern – it just doesn’t rock my world to have to explain, in front of the rest of the class, not only my pregnancy modifications, but also the ones I make because of an unrelated disability. 

 

Staying holiday healthy

I’ve been doing a ton of traveling lately. In less than three weeks, I bounced around between 5 different cities on the west coast without a single stop at home.

There was the wedding in Monterey:

nara's wedding seagull officiant

 carmel beach triangle pose

A work meeting in San Francisco:

Obviously, this is not my actual meeting...
Obviously, this is not my actual meeting…

Thanksgiving in Tahoe:

swan pose tahoe jamie alyse tigger dancer pose tahoe

A visit in Sacramento:

ted alyse dogs tree pose granite bay

And studio prep in Portland.

liz alyse jamie flex and flow

Not too shabby an itinerary, eh? Luckily, I did the long hauls via plane; I’ve found that more than two hours in the car puts my back and body into a cranky, stiff, whiny funk, so I’ve opted out of as much driving as possible. Even so, all the air travel and the changes in elevation and the new environments take their toll, especially since with each city, this baby bump just. gets. bigger.

(Also, my face keeps getting puffier. As do my cankles. The zippers on my boots are at half mast, and I had to order a new pair of sneakers, 2 sizes larger than my go-to Converse).

What’s a girl to do when her cankles outgrow her calves?

Well, pack some snacks, naturally.

2015-11-18 19.28.57

All the snacks. I am the crazy snack lady on the plane who does nothing but respond to emails and eat snacks.

Outfit + lunchskins: coordinated. #suchanerd
Outfit + lunchskins: coordinated. #suchanerd

Luckily, I’ve yet to get sick or suffer any real repercussions from all this travel and airport time. I attribute it to (a) all the snacks, especially the vitamin C-packed mandarins I’ve been inhaling, (b) obsessively washing my hands, (c) avoiding plane bathrooms as much as (pregnantly) humanly possible, and (d) staying really well hydrated. I’m kind of wrapped up and in love with SOS’s recovery drink right now. Even though it’s intended for exercise or hangover recovery, I’ve been using it as prevention and recovery for my generally compromised immune system. It’s also a nice way to hydrate that is not water (boring!), coconut water (gross!), or Gatorade (those chemicals can’t be good for Moonshine!). The mango flavor is bomb.com and since it’s a powder, you can take on an airplane or anywhere else you go. 

travel essentials SOS rehydrate Hemp heart bar

I keep the handy little packs in my purse along with my bars and my prenatal vitamins and my nut butter packets and …. all the other things.

SOS rehydrate

There’s so much packed into my purse already it’s hard to imagine just how much I’ll be lugging around when she’s actually here and has her own independent needs. I guess I’m just practicing the mom thing already.

Let’s turn this baby around

We’re just wrapping up our first week of our annual Holiday Sweat Challenge, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support of my online community right now. It’s been a rough couple weeks, activity-wise, thanks to some travel, a nagging cold that just wouldn’t quit, and the fatigue.

amarillo warrior 3 with truck

Oh, the fatigue. After our annual ladies’ trip to Amarillo to celebrate my grandma’s birthday, I spent literally an entire day in bed. I couldn’t keep my eyes open or convince my body to do much more than laboriously turn over to my other side mid-nap.

I was so grateful to have my cuddle buddy and my snoogle back–from now on, anywhere I go, that silly looking, cumbersome pillow goes too—and the flexibility to decide to work the evening shift that night. Daytime working just.wasn’t.happening.

tigger snoogle
Tigger loves my snoogle, too.

tigger snoogle overhead

Taking time to rest and getting my energy back felt extra important, because I found out last week that Moonshine is hanging out contentedly in a breech position. And while it’s too early to seriously worry about that, I’d really like her to get to turning sooner rather than later, so I’m doubling up on any exercises and positions that will help encourage her to rotate head down.

2015-11-13 14.24.49

So far, my regimen includes pelvic rocks, hip circles, crawling, and getting back in the pool. It also means avoiding the “channel changing” position, which, oh dear god, I am already missing like crazy. It’s bad enough not being able to sleep on my stomach; now I can’t even recline to read or watch Scandal.

Alyse-15
The reclining days are over for me.

But if making like Cleopatra and lounging on my side is what it takes to avoid major abdominal surgery, goddammit, then I’m in.*

Anyway, back to swimming and getting moving again. Apparently the kicking and hip movements involved in freestyle (no more backstroke for me, until that baby turns!) help encourage her to float that head down. And apparently the threat of surgery is what it took to get me motivated enough to face the prospect of washing my hair daily, because I’m slapping on those goggles and shamelessly rocking a (bumpalicious?) bikini.

prana bikini
That man swimming laps totally caught me taking a sneaky photo of the pool. #awkward.

Thank you, prAna, for my bikini that stays put during lap swims and is gracious enough to work with my new figure. You saved me from paying for a frumpy maternity suit that probably wouldn’t even keep the girls covered.

I can’t help but feeling like one of those fragile older ladies at the Y who do gentle senior water aerobics. My swim usually only lasts about 30 minutes—sometimes more, sometimes less—before my back starts hurting. And when I get out of the pool, I’m that lady who goes way out of her way to use the ladder rather than hauling herself up and out. Yes, I learned that lesson the hard way, folks. #savethebeachedpregnantlady

The nice thing is, the Holiday Sweat Challenge is all about setting your own goals, so my goal is to make this baby turn.

And to do something active, even if it’s only a walk, every day. If you want to get involved (prizes!) head on over to Fit Approach and just make sure you’re registered.

* If Moonshine stays breech, I have a good chance of ending up with a C-section. While I’ll do whatever it takes to have a healthy baby, I would really, really like to avoid the surgery route if at all possible.

Packing in all the protein

I don’t usually do WIAW posts, but I’ve been experimenting with Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter and have literally been including it in everything I eat (protein explosion! whee!), so wanted to share all the versatile ways I’ve been using it. Also, it’s Thursday, so I guess this isn’t really a WIAW post. 

I’m supposed to get between 80-100 grams of protein a day to help this baby grow, and since I’ve been mostly ambivalent toward meat, I’ve been working on better ways to pack more protein into every meal.

Breakfast:

mighty nut smoothie

In the smoothie. My go-to smoothie is yogurt, spinach, frozen berries, Mighty Nut, and Hemp Pro70 protein powder. Usually with a splash of water to help my low-powered blender combine all those things into the delightful combination they are. I like using the powdered peanut butter instead of regular nut butters for pure laziness’ sake: less cleanup. It’s also lower fat and lower calories than peanut butter, if that’s something you care about. I think Tigger misses having a regular spoon to lick, though.

Oh, and topped with hemp hearts, of course!

mighty nut spoon hemp hearts smoothie

Lunch:

2015-10-11 13.05.36

I’ve been making these protein packed salads with eggs, avocado, nuts, more hemp hearts, and tons of veggies. Sometimes with a little salmon added on top if I can stomach salmon and if I haven’t had much fish that week.

2015-10-06 13.26.47

I top it all off with a peanut dressing because peanut dressing makes everything more delicious.

Oh, and the protein doesn’t hurt, either.

My peanut sauce recipe isn’t exactly a recipe; I don’t measure. But here’s what goes into it, to taste. 

Peanut Sauce non-recipe

  • Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter – usually the original, sometimes flax & chia
  • Tamari
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Minced ginger
  • red curry paste
  • Togarashi (or regular red pepper flakes – but omg, if you have togarashi, it takes your sauce to a whole new level)
  • and some warm water to help it all mix together into the right consistency

I’ll often make enough peanut sauce to have it for dinner, too. And lunch the next day. And dinner. And… you get the picture. 😉

Dinner

2015-10-19 12.44.57

Roasted veggies, avocado, peanut-sauce marinated tofu, and… wait for it… peanut sauce! Often there’s also rice underneath and/or a fried egg on top. I could eat this every day. It’s the perfect meal. My husband doesn’t agree so sometimes I have to eat other things.

Dessert

I haven’t been all that into sweets lately, but sometimes I WANT to want to eat something sweet. Like, hello, I’m pregnant, I should be eating ice cream. I should be DEMANDING ice cream.

 

So I started having double peanut butter yogurt for dessert. I mix Mighty Nut (usually chocolate, because duh), plus a tiny bit of agave, into plain yogurt, and then top with peanut butter granola. It’s the perfect not too sweet, protein-filled end of day treat.

 

Oh – and if you want an actual dessert, albeit a very healthy, low sugar, protein-packed one, check out these yummy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Here’s a sneak peek: 

 

Fit body bakery cookies plated

 

This baby will probably be born either with a deep and unshakable love for nuts and nut butters… or she’ll be allergic. Praying to any and all powers she’s not allergic. There’s just so much joy in nut butters. 🙂

 

Hopefully I’ve got you salivating for peanut butter. And hopefully you want to try some Mighty Nut of your own. (If not, never speak to me again).

 

You can win a flavor of your choice (woot!) by entering below!

 

 

Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter giveaway

This post is sponsored by Mighty Nut. All opinions and obsessions are my own. I so appreciate you supporting the brands that support the sweat pink community!

Baking healthy and busting stress

Ever since college, I’ve used baking as a way to beat stress. Finals would find me up to my ears in batter and surrounded by a throng of salivating roommates.

I’d spend hours meticulously decorating sugar cookies with my vast sprinkle collection. It was a soothing way to avoid Chaucer or Faulkner and retreat back into happy memories with my mom and brothers, decorating holiday cookies or just-because cookies.

Yes, those are dinosaur sprinkles on the left. Be jealous.
Yes, those are dinosaur sprinkles on the left. Be jealous.

 

Now that third trimester is nearly here and the fatigue has me limited to basically one active pursuit a day, I’ve turned to baking again to help keep me chilled out. And since a multi-hour operation felt a little daunting, I was extra grateful to have a cookie mix by Fit Body Bakery to test out:

Fit Body bakery conquer it cookie instructions

The concept is awesome: it’s a healthy cookie base that you can keep as-is or add to until you create the cookie of your dreams. For all you gluten-free, paleo, and/or no-refined-sugar folks, these mixes were MADE for you.

I’m not any of those things, but I love the idea of (a) a simple cookie base that I can use as a starting point for anything, and (b) a kitchen helper for those times I need to bake with certain dietary restrictions in mind. Being in the fitness industry, I am often around and eating with people with the above dietary preferences… and I wouldn’t have the first clue where to start if I had to make a sweet treat they could actually enjoy!

The mix is super easy: all you need is an egg, some kind of fat (I used butter), and water. Easy peasy.

Fit Body Bakery ingredients and mixer

Of course, I wasn’t stopping there. I knew I had to make cookies in my favorite combo: peanut butter and chocolate. To keep with the healthy theme, I used Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter with flax & chia.

I just mixed the Mighty Nut with water as indicated on the package, and added it to the mix.

These were on track to being the healthiest stress buster cookies I had ever created.

Fit Body Bakery dough in mixer

 

The dough came together really easily. I found I needed to add a tiny bit more water than is called for to get it to all stick together.

 

Fit Body Bakery cookies on sheet

 

Love this – a workout while you wait for your cookies. Because you know those are the longest ten minutes EVER.

Fit Body Bakery mix box bake time workout

The cookies came out fluffy and pretty – no collapsing or flattening at all.

 

 

Fit Body bakery cookies baking sheet overhead

Fit Body Bakery cookies out of the oven

Fit body bakery cookies plated

They have a nice, light, and melty texture that totally worked for me. Again. And again.

And if you weren’t convinced yet, here’s the kicker: my husband, an ardently anti-healthy-cookies person, liked them too.

Want to try a Fit Body Bakery mix for yourself? There’s also muffins, brownies, and pancakes, oh my! Use the code SP15 for 15% off at FitBodyBakery.com. Expires 11/30/15.

I received a mix of Fit Body Bakery Conquer It Cookies and a package of Mighty Nut to try. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support the #sweatpink community!