Posts Tagged ‘exercise’


Exercise Excercising During Pregnancy

Should you or shouldn’t you?  I remember when I was pregnant while my husband and I were living in Bangalore.  I came across a series of articles about the alarming rate of miscarriages suffered by women who traveled along Bannerghatta Road – a major thoroughfare with enough potholes to make even the moon jealous.  Imagine driving along this road in a dinky 3-wheel auto-rikshaw!

The articles connected the miscarriages with the severe jarring and bumping that the women were subjected to.  But I would travel down Bannerghatta Road – in both a car and in an auto-rikshaw – and, yes, I found myself bracing my womb (and the seat in front of me) during the worst bumps.  I concluded though, that the sensation really wasn’t much different than what my baby would feel during a hard 4-mile run.

Which was another issue altogether.  I continued to run my daily 4-6 miles throughout the first half of my pregnancy, albeit at a slower pace. Now, you don’t see very many pregnant runners in the U.S., so just imagine how my Bangalore neighbors reacted to my exercise habits!  I’m surprised they didn’t turn me in for fetus-abuse!

If I hadn’t read Dr. James Clapp’s Exercising Through Your Pregnancy (and consulted my doctor, of course), I probably would have succumbed to social pressures and demoted myself to the proverbial “brisk walk.”  Based on Dr. Clapp’s extensive research and first-hand experience, the book dispells many of the myths and “old wives tales” surrounding exercise and pregnancy – concluding that women with healthy preganacies who engage in moderate – and even strenuous – exercise have more energy, experience less complicated labour, recover more quickly, and deliver healthier babies. 

And, really, if pregnant women weren’t able to run – or drive down a bumpy road – the human species would have been extinct a long time ago…

The Surya Namaskar
Author: Gnaana


The Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, has been practiced for thousands of years in India. It’s a unique prayer-in-motion with alternating forward and backward bending postures that flex and stretch the spinal column and the abdomen. It’s an invigorating (and healthy) way to start your morning!

It’s also great fun for kids to do: they get to “say hello to the sun” with a compact set of 12 simple yoga positions (called asanas). We’ve put together a simple “lesson-plan” about the Surya Namaskar that you can use with your kids at home – or with your local playgroup or school if you’re inspired to do so.

1. Downloand and print our handy Surya Namaskar graphic here . There are many variations of the Surya Namaskar, but we’ve featured the classic Ashtanga Vinyasa style. We’ve also listed the mantra that is recited for each step (a salutation to the 12 names of the sun), as well as an explanation of each mantra.
2. Before you begin any of the yoga, take a few minutes to talk about the importance of the sun (to plants, animals and humans) and it’s many qualities (light, heat, how it gives us strength and energy and makes things really shiny, etc.).
3. If you are Hindu and celebrate Sankranthi/Pongal/Lohri and your kids are older, you can talk to them about the Winter Solstice and why Hindus celebrate this holiday on January 14 every year (viz. to mark the start of the sun’s northward journey).
4. Tell your kids that they’re going to learn a special way to say hello to the sun, and that you’ll be doing 12 poses – each pose greeting a different quality of the sun that you named in Step #2.
5. Show your kids the graphic you printed out and go through each of the steps together. Go slowly the first time. You can recite the mantra for each step if you want (i.e. “Om Mitraaya Namaha” for Step 1), or you can simply give them the explanation (i.e. “Here we’re saying ‘hello’ to our friend the sun, who is a friend to all in the universe.”), or both – whatever you are comfortable with.
6. Note that the Surya Namaskar should be performed at least twice – switching the leg that you put forward in Steps 4 & 9 the second time around.

That’s it! Have fun and try to do it on a regular basis.

Almost every ancient civilization has worshipped the sun – for obvious reasons, of course. In our modern times, we are indoors most of the time and buy most of our food from stores, so the importance of the sun can be marginalized. The Surya Namaskar is an excellent way to connect with nature and the lifeline of our universe!


I don’t know about you, but the hour between the end of the work day and dinnertime – 5-ish to 6-ish – seems really long lately, especially with the recent change from Daylight Savings Time.  We used to head off to a playground so the kids could release their energy.  But since that’s not an option now, we’ve turned to the ancient Indian mind-body exercise of yoga.

I started using Itsy Bitsy Yoga with my daughter soon after she was born – being a winter baby, I think it helped tremendously to stimulate and also soothe her.  Now we combine that book with Little Yoga – a cute and whimsical book for toddlers that illustrates animal yoga poses – so her older brother can join the fun.

If any of our neighbors happen to be peaking into our window, they may be wondering why we’re all gnarled up on our floor…but not to worry – they’re not tears of distress – we’re just laughing hysterically!