Curious about my recent Alkalign attendance, a few days ago I counted up the classes noted on my calendar, and discovered that I took 32 in June—when I was 7-8 months pregnant. I’ve been a devotee of barre for quite a few years now, but pregnancy has just ratcheted up my game.
As other forms of exercise—for me, running, a little cycling, and hiking – have gradually fallen away or become less enjoyable (hiking is still doable, but only if I can be on a trail where I loop back to a bathroom every 20 minutes or so), Alkalign has remained the steadfast, singular form of exercise that I can not only do, but that leaves me feeling 100x better than when I walked in the studio door.
Though I have had friends who have suffered from typical pregnancy aches (sore backs, tender hips, swollen feet, throbbing legs), I have yet to experience these symptoms. I probably should chalk up at least some of my good fortune to luck or good genetics, but I’m also convinced that Alkalign has played a significant role here as well. The focus on form has allowed me to maintain good posture even as my belly has grown, and though my abs have certainly receded, I still feel their remnants helping to hold my belly in. According to Sutter Health’s website, “One of the most important contributions to a healthy pregnancy is good posture. Proper alignment can decrease low back and neck pain and fatigue.” The Alkalign exercises, though modified at this point in my pregnancy, leave me feeling strong and light on my feet; when I leave class, I almost forget that I have a bowling ball in my belly.
A key reason why I have also continued to do Alkalign as my pregnancy has progressed is the masterful instructors who have taught me how to modify exercises so that I stay injury-free. Alkalign is the only exercise outfit where I have received such individualized attention and been schooled so carefully on form. I recently explained to my husband that the instructors don’t use the time they are teaching to get their own workout in, and he was shocked; in both of our experiences, it is rare that teachers use class time to provide focused feedback, and pregnancy is a period in my life when I have particularly benefitted from the extra help. I have never been made to feel a wuss for having to modify; in fact, I seem to be getting extra encouragement these days. It’s pretty fabulous to get shout-outs in class for doing a plank on my knees or a Cardio Align move at half the pace of the rest of the class. Where else do you get kudos for choosing the least-tough (but healthiest) move?
In addition to maintaining my physical well-being, the Alkalign community has sustained me emotionally as well. The instructors and fellow clients have become my friends, cheering me on throughout pregnancy and providing all kinds of knowledge about what is to come. With my due date quickly approaching, I have frequently walked into the studio with anxiety about any number of things—such as finding a daycare for when I return to work and anticipating lonely days at home—only to walk out of the studio feeling restored by the wisdom of the women in the community.
With my baby scheduled to arrive in one week, I aim to be at Alkalign every day (sometimes twice a day), and I’m already counting the days until I can return after he is born.