Prenatal Yoga with
By Dana Meltzer Zepeda
Congratulations to Angela, who gave birth to Isabel Ruby on May 3, 2008!
(Albert Ortega/PR Photos)
We’d never suggest Angela from The Office do an ounce of yoga—lest she soften that strident, scowling persona who wants to sleep with Dwight but loathes her prudish self for allowing those warm fuzzy feelings to surface. But when Dana Meltzer Zepeda sat down with Angela Martin—37-year old actress Angela Kinsey in real life—she found a woman on the verge of giving birth who says weekly yoga classes help her relax and feel in control throughout her pregnancy. Her first yoga experience was a different story, however, akin to the comically awkward interplay between Angela’s Office character and the receptionist Pam Beesley (played by Jenna Fischer).
Why was your first yoga class so stressful?
My costar Jenna Fischer said, ‘I go to a place where there’s the most awesome beginner class that would be the perfect introduction for you.’ So we go and people were getting up on their heads; my poor legs were shaking; I couldn’t touch my toes. I was sore for days. It turned out, Jenna got the nights confused. It was an advanced class!
She almost ruined yoga for me forever. I kept turning to her in that class as my leg was over my head asking, ‘Are you sure this is a beginner’s class?’ I tease her about it now but it was pretty funny. I think I’m much better suited for prenatal yoga where you stretch a little and take a nap!
How’d you find your teacher?
I went online and Googled prenatal yoga. I found Shosha Bottoms. She’s exactly who I’d pick if I were going to have my first real yoga experience. I felt gentle and nurturing and like I’d done something good for the baby. You need that kind of confidence when you’re pregnant. When I got there I thought, “Oh! My people are here.”
What is your workout now?
“I’ve been trying to go to prenatal yoga once a week. My goal was twice a week but, since the holidays, I’ve been in some insane hormonal nesting phase and I’ve decided to redo my kitchen. That’s taken up more of my time so it physically prevents me from driving to the yoga studio. In the interim, I’ve been going for 30 to 40 minute walks to the park and back. That’s something I can accomplish since I just walk out the door.”
What keeps you going back to class?
One thing I can say prenatal yoga has helped me with is my baby is on a nerve that goes down my left leg. My leg keeps going numb especially when I sit in one position for a long time. I wake up and my leg is totally asleep so the stretching in yoga has helped get the circulation going a little better.
When you’re pregnant, everything gets pretty compact. We do a few stretches with our arms. One is where one hand goes up and you put it to the small of your back. Then the other hand goes to the small of your back so your fingertips touch. Then you do it the other way. I really love anything that opens up my shoulders and chest really nicely.
It’s a really good energy being around all of these pregnant moms who are trying to be healthy in prenatal yoga class. I think only a pregnant woman talking to another pregnant woman knows what they mean when they’re talking about, ‘Hey, did you feel that weird thing in your ribcage?’ It’s like, ‘Yes. What is that?’ So it’s really comforting.”
I feel so warm and cozy and my body feels good. I think you’ve got to carve out some time for yourself where you let everything else stop and just focus on yourself.
Do you ever use what you’ve learned in yoga class at home?
I’ve noticed how I feel just in approaching the day. Sometimes I get busy and I just stop and take a second and stretch. It forces you to slow down because you can’t rush and stretch! When I go to yoga or take a walk, it sort of balances out the rest of my day. I think a happy mom makes for a happy baby. A stressed mom makes for a stressed baby.
Do you think it will help you in the delivery room?
I’ve talked with women in my prenatal yoga class that are on their second or third child and they’ve said that the breathing you do in yoga really does help in delivery. I’m also going to start taking a labor and delivery class. It’s like a Lamaze class. But I already feel like I have a foundation with my breathing because of prenatal yoga.
Do you want to go natural?
Listen, some women can do the natural thing. My sister was all set to do natural and, at the last minute, she was like, ‘Give me the drugs!’ I just want this delivery to be as healthy as possible for me and the baby. I’m still discussing that with my doctor.
Does the yoga help you connect to your baby?
I’m having a little girl. She just moves all of the time! Even though we haven’t met, so to speak, it’s really amazing how close I feel to her. The whole thing feels like a miracle. I just feel very blessed.
Do you think you’ll do yoga after the baby’s born?
When I go back to work I’ll probably only be able to do yoga on the weekends but I’m going to make a point of doing it. I think that if you get in the habit of doing [something for yourself] before you have a child, maybe you’ll have a better chance of doing that when you have a kid. My mom would go outside and garden for an hour. It’s very Zen too, you know? We all have that thing that allows us to get a little quiet time that benefits your whole family.
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