Walking into Cait Morth's prenatal yoga class at House of Jai was an immediately warm and welcoming experience. To be accurate, it may have been more of a waddle than a walk—these days my baby belly has taken on growth of unanticipated proportions which makes for getting around a little trickier and a bit more of a chore. But as Cait's evening class proved, it's well worth the effort.
Entering the studio space, I set up my complimentary Manduka mat and grabbed all my toys (aka props) from the well-organized prop wall. Cait was chatting with other students and quickly made her way to me where she introduced herself and inquired about how far along I was, how I was feeling and if I had any particular aches or issues I was working with (hello, pregnancy!).
Addressing everyone, Cait explained that the Tuesday and Saturday prenatal classes were more of a prenatal "workout" while the Thursday night class was more relaxing and easygoing. I imagine there were days during my pregnancy when I would have preferred more strength-building, but now in my third trimester, this chill version was the perfect choice for me, though it's nice to know the option is there!
Cait started us all in a yoga teacher, momma-to-be approved supta baddha konasana propped up on our bolster. We closed our eyes as Cait switched on some soothing music and began to lead us through a brief relaxation exercise. With our eyelids still resting mercifully, we began to move our arms with the breath, swinging them out and up above our head and then back down by our sides.
We slowly came up to sit soon after where Cait led us through a series of seated cats and cows and luxuriously necessary side stretches. As we kept the movement flowing, Cait asked us to breath into our ribs—you know, the ones that are increasingly cramped thanks to our darling growing baby.
Shifting onto hands and knees we swayed and circled and rounded and stretched our spine and hips to our own rhythm. At one point another student asked about which was better for labor, cat or cow, to which Cait expertly replied, "both!" She pointed out how being on hands and knees and doing whatever movement felt good to us at the time was the right choice. In case our wrists were achy or tired, Cait offered the option of resting our elbow on a block instead for extra support.
The class felt breezy and stress-free even when we moved onto standing poses. A sequence of warrior two, peaceful warrior, and extended side angle had us stretching and strengthening our legs without strain. Goddess pose folded into a prasarita padottanasana with whatever props we needed or wanted—momma yogi's choice.
In addition to Cait's extremely friendly and inviting demeanor, she leaves plenty of room for our own feel-good movements; throughout class, she provided options and alternatives, something most welcome to this sleuth's changing mommy body. What might work one week could feel really "off" the next, and Cait was sure to offer variations for whatever stage, mood or week of pregnancy we were in.
As class wound down to the floor once again, we took a few quiet poses including a seated ankle-to-knee and baddha konasana for some fabulous hip releasing, again taking it easy without pushing too hard. Our options for savasana came with extra prop support from Cait as she rolled up blankets, place blocks and handed out sandbags (for lovely side-lying tummy support) wherever needed or requested.
Our gentle practice ended with a soft "Om" and a bow towards our baby. I may still be continuing to grow, and maybe even waddling, but leaving Cait's class left me feeling spacious and expansive—and in very a good, easygoing way.
—Holly C. for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $30 with complimentary Manduka mat and towel provided. Class packages and membership options are available.