OmMama Recommendation by VaShondra –
Looking to add a bit of a challenge to your prenatal workout routine?
I was (or so I thought). After spending some time accepting the shock and awe that accompanied the sheer joy that a new life was growing inside of me and harnessing the feelings of nausea that had kept me very still, I felt a need to move my body again. By no measure was I an athlete prior to becoming pregnant, but I did try to stay pretty active. Since we had a gym membership and the gym was literally downstairs, I had few excuses, so I’d found fun in attending zumba, yoga, and spin classes throughout the week coupled with walks along the Katy Trail. Still, I was unsure of what to do with my now very different, pregnant body. What was safe? Were there special considerations I needed to take? Thus began my search for all things “prenatal” while I gently resumed my occasional walks.
My first fantastic find was prenatal yoga with Cheryl at the Ombalance studio! Cheryl was soothing, welcoming, and encouraging and filled with a wealth of information regarding all things prenatal. So I tapped into that wealth, inquiring about everything possible…prenatal pilates, dance, any thing that came to mind. As I learned more about pregnancy, labor, and birth, I felt a need to build some stamina and endurance and to tone my body, which I was convinced no longer had any muscle. In response to my many inquiries, Cheryl kindly recommended that I check out the Bar Method studio in Park Cities. Knowing nothing about Bar Method, I did a google search and was thrilled to learn that they had a prenatal class! The website dedicated a whole tab to moms-to-be wanting to learn more, so I knew they took prenatal instruction and safety seriously. They even required a doctor’s note for clearance to begin class!
So after several weeks of research, also known as procrastination, I left yoga and decided to venture to the Bar Method studio to take a peek and ask a few questions. I was greeted by the smiling, welcoming faces of the young ladies at the front desk who eagerly shared with me their enthusiasm for the classes, and I left armed with an information sheet for my doctor, a schedule, and a plan to return for prenatal class the following Tuesday if given medical clearance.
“Are you sure you want to try this?” questioned my doctor. Assuring her that I did, I returned to the Bar Method studio at 23 weeks of pregnancy for my first prenatal class and was greeted by another royal welcome from the staff. Our instructor for the morning was Kristianne Green, whom Cheryl had hoped I would meet. Armed with sets of two and three pound weights, our warm up began, and I immediately knew that this was something different. In yoga, we are able to incorporate great conversations. In Bar Method conversation, the instructor verbally guides you through the techniques and exercises offering hands-on guidance and correction as needed while you nod and occasionally smile in response (a new and challenging lesson in itself for this social butterfly and talker). Class is intense and requires mental focus as you work to tone and lengthen your body’s muscles like a dancer. There are no leaps or pirouettes, just isolated movements that concentrate on the muscles of the arms, hips/butt, thighs, and legs coupled with dynamic stretches of those same parts, the use of a variety of risers to elevate and protect your body, and the presence of a ballet bar for balance and assistance.
Now at 36 weeks of pregnancy, I have continued my weekly venture to Bar Method! I have graduated to the mixed level class (or big kids’ class as I call it) where instructors Melissa and Nicole remind me to use the modifications learned (and forgotten) in the prenatal class. (Note: I only take the mixed level class if I am late or there are not enough prenatal class attendees, but to do so is allowed after 5 prenatal classes and sometimes less. Honestly, I often find the prenatal class to be more challenging). Lately, I’ve been directly paired with Marci, who is usually the prenatal class instructor, and Lisa, the owner of the studio, to be sure I am aware of the prenatal modifications to use in the midst of the sea of “normal” bodies in the mixed level class, a personal and caring touch that I appreciate. And, on occasion, the staff will even call to be sure I’m coming to class.
You eventually get used to hearing “only 40 more!” (or not) and determined to endure (and not cheat) one exhale at a time, just as you might while laboring for birth. You rediscover those hidden muscles and unveil new ones (ok maybe you don’t see them, but you do feel them) that remain a part of your beautifully pregnant body. You occasionally share the details of your pregnancy journey with your fellow prenatal class attendees once you catch your breath, and you learn to welcome the glances of awe and inquiries from your fellow mixed class attendees. Best of all, you are always empowered by the encouragement and smiles of the staff and instructors as they celebrate your growing belly with each passing week. Of course, you will still want to couple Bar Method with Cheryl’s prenatal yoga classes to stretch your still toning muscles and your nicely tucked and wrapped hips for good measure, but Bar Method is a challenge worth trying, and I’m glad I did! Won’t you join me? I am even looking forward to continuing and returning to class when my postpartum body permits! Thanks for the kindrecommendation Cheryl!
For more information, please visit http://dallas-parkcities.barmethod.com. For specific information regarding moms-to-be, choose the “Workout” tab and click on “Our Students” or “Your Questions.” You can also visit or call the studio at 5560 West Lovers Lane, Dallas, TX 75209, (214) 357-4444. Prenatal classes are currently held on Tuesdays at 10:30am and Saturdays at 9:45am.