by Tara Smith

January, 2014 was the time during which I poured myself in my yoga practice again. One day at a time, what I thought might be 30 days, led me to practice daily for almost 4 months. It also led to me getting pregnant after 5 years of trying both natural and hormonal fertility treatments. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but it was after I allowed myself to return to yoga that my body agreed to what my heart and mind had been wanting for so long.

My husband and I had just finished our last round of fertility treatment the month prior, and we we decided to take a break before proceeding to the next phase of our treatment. Since I would be on a break from the treatments, I decided that what I really wanted to do at that time was a 30-day challenge. This ended up turning into 60 days and then 90 days. I then started my fourth month. After 105 days of yoga, I found out that we had conceived naturally. I was elated and nervous all at the same time. How could this be? After years of trying, when we had finally stopped treatment and I immersed myself in yoga, it happened!

I’m not the first. In fact, I think it happens quite frequently.

But in my mind, I allowed myself that precious time on my mat every day, which allowed my mind and body to relax… and then boom!!

Per my doctors orders, I took the rest of the first trimester off of teaching and taking class to let crucial development take place. However, the moment I got the doctor’s OK to get back into the hot room, that’s exactly what I did, and I can’t tell you what a difference it made in every aspect of my pregnancy and delivery.

Hot yoga has been amazing for me for all the reasons it’s amazing for everyone – pregnant or not. The heat promoting circulatory benefits, reducing, rather eliminating completely, swelling in my wrists and ankles, and literally combating any negative side effects typically associated with pregnancy, as I kept up a practice of 3-4 times per week.

I was more noticeably relaxed, by maintaining a low blood pressure and keeping stress and anxiety at bay. Overall, I feel really good.

The breathing techniques – pranayama – that I practice in the Hot 26 series gave me even that much more power and control when delivery day arrived! Indeed, my son Lenon was born naturally and healthy, and I recovered as quickly as I could imagine.

My advice to any mother-to-be is this: as long as it feels good, do it! Your body will let you know what is right or wrong for you. Many women stay away from hot yoga when they are pregnant, but I don’t know what I would have done without it. As long as you have a regular practice and have approval from your doctor, you will be better off for the dedication you give to yourself during a time in which much of your energy is given to growing someone else. It is always important to take the time for yourself on your mat.