Most helpful positive review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An excellent prenatal yoga practice
on November 18, 2003
Although I wouldn't call this the perfect prenatal yoga practice, it has some distinct strengths over other prenatal yoga videos I've seen. Visibly pregnant Sue Elkind leads a class of about a dozen women of in all stages of pregnancy through a well-chosen series of yoga poses. One woman demonstrates modifications for the less flexible, but most of the women do the program without modification, even in late pregnancy. The instructor talks through each pose, giving special attention to the balance and posture changes of pregnancy and emphasizing the connections between body and mind and mother and baby-to-be. This constant commentary makes the poses easy to follow even when not watching the screen, but may distract from the meditative quality of yoga practice.
Yoga Mama is most appropriate for women with no or limited yoga experience and no exercise constraints. It may also be helpful for intermediate level women in late stages of pregnancy, for tired days, or as the easy part of a rotation of practices. Advanced yoga students, however might find this video frustratingly basic and prefer to develop a personalized yoga practice using books (try Preparing for Birth With Yoga by Janet Balaskas). Women who need greater modification might want to try the Shiva Rea Prenatal Yoga program instead. Props: sticky mat (or carpet), folded blanket, folded towel (for wrist pain), chair (for modifications)
Personal Experience: I used prenatal yoga videos several times a week in addition to prenatal classes in a yoga studio once or twice a week. Although no video can equal a live class, this one captures some of the spirit of practicing yoga in a room full of pregnant women of all shapes and sizes. For home practice, I could choose between Yoga Mama and Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga video. Although Shiva Rea's video is longer and has better production values, I plunked this video in the VCR more than twice as often. I preferred the selection of poses in Yoga Mama (though I wish each pose lasted longer) and I preferred following Yoga Mama's visibly pregnant instructor (skinny Shiva Rea demonstrates first trimester poses with no hint of a belly). In addition, I found it much more motivating to see the whole class perform without modifications in contrast to the extreme modifications in Shiva Rea's program (the third trimester woman does most of the poses seated on a chair). To my surprise, I was able to comfortably and safely perform Yoga Mama without modification up until a few days before delivery. Practicing prenatal yoga helped minimize back pain, leg cramps, and other pregnancy discomforts.