Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Prenatal Yoga

One of my new activities these days is attending prenatal yoga classes at the maternity clinic. We meet twice a week on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and it's been an interesting experience. I am the only foreigner in the class, which is, of course, conducted in Korean, so it is a good chance for me to practice my Korean listening skills and get familiar with body-part vocabulary. I've learned the words for ankle and thigh and to recognize the words for inhale and exhale, as well as getting lots of practice with left and right! I also have learned how to ask when someone's baby is due and to say that "The baby is moving." Still, it is definitely a challenge to communicate with the other students in the class, and it's sometimes frustrating not to be able to join in conversations about pregnancy and impending parenthood.

The class is held on the third floor of the clinic, in the postpartum care center. The center is a place for new moms to stay for a little extra time (up to two weeks) after their babies are born. The babies can stay in the nursery, and the moms can take classes on breastfeeding, infant massage, and postnatal yoga. I think it's nice that there is this option for new mothers to get some support, especially if their families are not nearby to help out during the first weeks of motherhood. I have heard that it is a pretty expensive option, though. The rooms are kept very warm, which I have heard is common practice for households with new babies, although it makes things a bit uncomfortable for our yoga class. We sweat up a storm, even though we are mostly only doing gentle stretching. All of the moms in the postpartum care center wear matching flannel flowered pajamas that are very pretty, but I can imagine that they are sweating up a storm, too. Because the postpartum center nursery adjoins the yoga room, we can often hear the babies crying, and sometimes the shade on the nursery window is up and we can look at the adorable Korean newborns.

The class always begins with us doing some stretches while we sit cross-legged on the floor, and then progresses to more difficult exercises with our legs outstretched or lying on our backs. There is a lot of giggling amongst the class as we try to bend our bodies into various poses while our enormous bellies get in the way. A few times, we have been asked to partner up, much to the mortification of whoever is partnered with me. Although most of the girls are shy about talking to me, as I am shy about talking to them, they are all friendly and smile when we inevitably meet in the bathroom downstairs after the class. At the end of each class, a nurse brings out a box full of chilled apple juice boxed drinks, which I look forward to like crazy while I sweat away in the hot classroom. I plan to continue going to yoga class until the baby comes. Who knows? Maybe I'll run into some of my classmates on the other side of the third floor, in the delivery and recovery area.


chrissy said...

Just a little longer...we can't wait!!

KIM! said...

sounds like fun... i would be giggling whether there was a belly in the way or not. :)