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Preparing for Parenthood With Yoga.

Yoga for Moms-to-Be

In Search of Studio

When looking for a class, all three instructors agreed that finding a qualified teacher whom you like are the two most important criteria for choosing a class.

"I would check the teacher's reputation, if their character and energy is good, if they are kind and nice and smile, if they make you feel good after you take a class," says Gurmukh Khalsa. "Do you feel good spiritually, mentally, physically? I don't think you know if you like the environment until after you take a class."

"First of all, you want to be under the guidance of a qualified teacher: How long has he or she been teaching? Is the teacher interested in the students and does she have a nurturing quality?" says O'Connor. "You want to know that this teacher is doing the poses safely and effectively, in a nice, clean environment. You want to be in a cool, ventilated room; you want to know that there are props available -- by props I mean something to support the body, from a pillow to a block to a strap to a blanket, and chairs and mats."

"I always look for cleanliness in a studio, and comfort. If they don't have pillows or blankets, you probably won't be comfortable or feel supported," says Sat Jirvan Kaur Khalsa. "You also want to go some place you feel comfortable, where they know your name and appreciate your being there. Sometimes gyms and exercise clubs may be the last place you want to take class. They shift teachers a lot; they plug in less-qualified substitutes to teach. Privately owned studios have a greater sense of responsibility."

Sat Jirvan Kaur Khalsa also recommends checking to see if a studio or teacher has liability insurance. "I think it shows responsibility on studio and teacher's part that they take the work seriously," she says.

Calling All Pops! Calling All Pops!

Yoga isn't limited to women; expectant fathers can participate in many ways. Some yoga centers offer special labor and delivery classes for couples; others have classes for men.

"I think a man plays a very important role," says Sat Jirvan Singh Khalsa, husband of Sat Jirvan Kaur Khalsa and co-director (with her) of Kundalini Yoga East. "First of all, they have to recognize that the woman is going through changes. The hormonal changes tend to make the woman a lot more expansive and a lot less grounded. One of the things the man has to be is the grounding influence in the couple -- regardless of what role the woman had played before -- because the process of being pregnant so opens the woman. So the man has to stay focused and give support."

He also recommends that a man participate by walking and/or chanting with his partner, and by becoming more sensitive. "He can try to pick up some of the responsibility that has heretofore been on the shoulders of the wife -- if possible."

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