Q+A with Mom-to-be + Cofounder of Beyond Yoga

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If you’re like me, you need some serious motivation to exercise (pregnant or not!). Beyond the Bump, a luxurious collection of active maternity wear from Beyond Yoga, launched at A Pea in the Pod earlier this year and with its incredibly soft, supportive and flattering pieces makes a fitness regime instantly more enticing. I sat down with founder Michelle Wahler, to talk about the line which couldn’t have been more timely– she’s currently expecting her first!  -OliviaQA_BeyondYoga_2-608x364What was your inspiration for Beyond the Bump? My inspiration for Beyond the Bump came as I was shopping for active wear with my best friend Lauren during her first pregnancy. Her doctor told her to keep active, to continue running, try prenatal yoga etc., and she was having such a tough time finding anything athletic to wear that was designed for pregnancy. She wanted to wear Beyond Yoga and just size up, but wearing a size bigger was just making her look like she was wearing clothing that was too big for her. I then realized how underserved this demographic of women was, and started designing our first collection!

What are some of your favorite maternity essentials? The Scoop Neck Ruched Maternity Tank Top, Adjustable Belly Maternity Leggings and Long Sleeve Drape Front Maternity Cardigan

What are your tips for staying active during pregnancy? Just keep doing what you’ve been doing. I am a big fan of Pilates and go at least three times a week. Since I’ve been pregnant it has been the best thing I do for myself. Of course, I modify some of the moves, but it feels great to have one hour where I keep in motion, and maintain some normality. As the months have gone on, new people come up to me every week (who are not pregnant) and tell me I am their motivation to get through the class, that if I can do something pregnant, they feel like they should push through it. It feels really nice to have my actions inspire others.
I also feel like staying active and strong will help with labor and delivery, so my Pilates class makes me feel like I’m a little more in control of this unknown event we are building up to.
My other favorite way to stay active is walking. My doctor recommended walking two miles a day, so many nights after dinner my husband and our two dogs go on a nice long walk around the neighborhood. Its great bonding time for all of us and I know it’s good for them too.

What is your favorite Beyond the Bump item to wear and why? It’s a toss-up. The piece I’ve probably gotten the most use out of is the Long Sleeve Drape Front Maternity Cardigan. I have two (one black and one grey) and I wear one almost every day. It’s made from the softest fleece so it’s super cozy, it dresses up a lot of my outfits, and with my constantly fluctuating temperature its easy take on and off quickly versus something that goes over my head.
Every day, I wear a pair of the Adjustable Belly Maternity Leggings and a Scoop Neck Ruched Maternity Tank Top. I love the waistband on the leggings. I have worn them though my entire pregnancy and today I am eight months pregnant and these two styles have stretched to fit perfectly as my body has changed and my bump has grown.
Because we fit test all of our fabrics and designs before they go into the collection, our product development team had special “bumped” leggings created in all of our new fabrics so I could still work out in everything before we approved the fabrics. I have had a blast getting all the fun new styles and fabrics in maternity silhouettes. Because I am testing all our new fabrics, I probably have the largest selection maternity work out pants of any woman! The best was when I got to test our sexy mesh trim leggings paired with my bump.

Such great insight from this successful and fashionable expecting mom! Shop the full collection in stores or online at Destination Maternity or A Pea in the Pod Maternity

Body After Baby

I recently had the chance to meet with Elizabeth Tomkins, Lithe Fitness instructor and new mom.  I love talking to other new moms about their journey through motherhood. These opportunities allow me to share ideas, time saving tips and even new fitness routines with you.  After I gave birth, I was on a search to find a new fitness routine. I loved hearing about the Lithe Method from Elizabeth. Since I am still trying to find the balance between working, spending time with Grey and time on myself, I am always eager to hear about new ways to keep in shape. Right now I am in to yoga and taking walks with Greyson around our neighborhood, because luckily it has tons of lakes and trails to keep it interesting. I’ll even sneak in some yoga stretches at home with Grey and since it’s a game for him, he plays along. This also works as an introduction into body awareness, plus it gives me a few minutes of exercise too.

My routine has definitely changed since bringing Grey into my life, as has Elizabeth’s, and I know that it will continue to evolve. What makes the transition easier is certainly having the right work-out gear, whether you’re getting fit at the gym or jogging at home. Transitioning maternity sports bras, maternity camisoles and maternity yoga pants through to an after birth wardrobe is essential for new moms trying to keep in shape. For me and Elizabeth, since we both nursed, functional nursing apparel is important as well. Elizabeth is wearing our Motherhood Maternity nursing bra and maternity camisole in these photos. She not only looks great, but she also told me how supported and comfortable she felt. Take a peek into our conversation below to learn a little about her fitness routine as a new mom. And keep in mind that whatever and however you decide to keep your mind and body healthy as a new mom, you are doing a great thing for you and your family. Just remember not to stress yourself out about getting back a rigid routine. Working with the time and assets you have available is truly the best thing to do. After reading this, though, you may fall in love with lithe! -OliviaQA_LitheMethod_1-608x482QA_LitheMethod_2-608x690QA_LitheMethod_3-608x1015Tell us a little bit about the Lithe Method and how you got involved in this regimen. I began taking classes at Lithe Method because I was so sick of dragging myself to the gym. I missed the team component of playing sports and I wanted an effective workout that would help my flexibility, balance, stamina, coordination, core strength, and cardiovascular endurance. Lithe does it all. I loved it so much that our founder and CEO, Lauren Boggi and I talked about my training to become an instructor. I took my first class about 4 years ago and I have been teaching for 3 years.

Lithe is Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting® (CCS). CCS utilizes precise cheerleading-based movements to load muscles, produce a high cardio burn, and reduce fat zones.  It targets all three zones of the body — the core, the lower body, and the upper body — so that you achieve a complete total body workout in just one hour.  Most people burn anywhere from 500-1000 calories per class, depending on the workout.  Lithe really does burn fat and sculpt muscle, yielding strong, lean bodies that still have curves.

Our classes are both cardiovascular and sculpting, with a concentration on a strong core. We have over 40 Lithe workouts that are total body, but each one also focuses on a particular area of the body.  Some workouts produce a higher cardio burn, and some emphasize sculpting more, so you can really tailor the kind of program you want, according to your goals.  But you’ll always sweat and the classes are constantly evolving with new additions, props and routines so you won’t get bored or plateau.

Most workouts incorporate our Higher Power Band System® which increases resistance to the core and decreases the impact load on the joints.  We also work on the floor, at a barre and with 3-16 lb free weights, among other wearable props. You can see some of the props on our website, www.lithemethod.com.

As a nursing mom, what are you looking for in your postpartum activewear? I look for support, comfort and style. Actually, your Hannah clip down nursing bra is one of my favorite pieces. It allows me to seamlessly transition from breastfeeding my son at home, to teaching in the studio without an outfit change.  I can get in front of class confident that everything will, ahem, stay in place while feeling that I look good. The cut of the nursing bra is so supportive and flattering, plus it comes in bright colors and a stellar stripe. I’ve even had clients who aren’t moms come and ask me where they can get that bra!

How has your daily fitness routine changed since becoming a mom? I quickly learned (as I’m sure most moms do) once the baby came that my time was no longer my own. The biggest thing for me is to remember to have patience with myself; some days, the workout just doesn’t happen. I believe it is important to make time for yourself, but occasionally, that means taking a nap or reading or doing something else you find fulfilling. Actually, this has made me really enjoy my time in the studio more and find joy in feeling my strength return and just getting my body moving. I used do a little bit of ab work next to my son while he was in the ExerSaucer©, but now he is too big for that and he wants to climb all over me. Looks like I need a new plan…

1 Nursing Sports Bra/ 2 Maternity Sweatshirt/ 3 Maternity Tank Top/ 4 Fiji Water/ 5 Maternity Yoga Pants/ 6 Kind Bars/ 7 Mustela Skin Care

Activewear for Every Workout

Working out while expecting can be beneficial for both you and your baby and can help relieve those pregnancy symptoms!  Parents.com features a great list of safe and easy workouts for pregnancy that can help you create a pregnancy exercise routine that keeps you healthy and happy! If you plan to work out, we have some great options for every activity!

Walking: If you didn’t exercise before pregnancy, walking is a great place to start!  Parents advises, “You’ll get a cardiovascular workout without too much impact on your knees and ankles, and you can do it almost anywhere and at any time throughout the entire nine months.” Wear something comfy and casual like a great pair of lounge or maternity yoga pants and a maternity jacket.

Swimming: “Exercising in water gives you better range of motion without putting pressure on your joints.” No matter how big your bump is, you will love feeling weightless in the water!  A maternity swimsuit will give you the support you need and comfort around your belly.

Yoga: “Prenatal yoga classes keep your joints limber and help you maintain flexibility.” It’s also a great way to meet other moms-to-be!  A breezy maternity tank and a slim pair of maternity yoga pants are the perfect yoga outfit.  Don’t forget to wear a maternity sports bra that offers enough support for all the moves!

Weight Training: “Lifting weights is a great way to prepare your body for all the heavy lifting you’ll be doing once your baby is here. Plus, it helps counteract the risk of injury during pregnancy by strengthening the muscles surrounding your joints.” A lightweight maternity workout tank and cropped maternity yoga pants will accommodate for this sweat-induced workout!

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and to listen to your body! Shop all our activewear styles online at Motherhood Maternity today!

Say, Om // Meditation Techniques for Pregnancy

From the sheer excitement that comes with carrying a baby to the underlying stresses and dare we say it, slight fears, pregnancy in itself is a whirlwind. Doing what you can to stay calm, cool and collected during these precious nine months – and through labor, too – will help you to center yourself in a peaceful state of mind. From our friends over at Fit Pregnancy, here are their five meditation techniques that are simple to do, yet reap great mental, physical and emotions rewards.

Deep Belly Meditation – Place your hands on your belly, gently cradling the baby. As you breathe, observe the sensations felt beneath your hands – warmth, movement, etc. Continue to breathe slowly, in and out. If your mind wanders off or if a thought arises, breathe deeper into your belly and let it float away. Try doing this for five minutes each day, gradually adding more time each week.

Mama Mantra – Delve into your inner strength by giving yourself words to live by. Whether to get you through a difficult yoga pose or while enduring a strenuous labor or stage of pregnancy, there is power in your own words. Tell yourself what you need to hear, as only you know it best: “Push through the pain; breath deep, mama. Stay strong for baby.”

Visualization Technique: See the Wave – Through visualization (meditation combined with mental imagery), our strong bodies can actually decrease the intensity of pain – an invaluable tool during labor. The plan: “View each contraction as a wave in the ocean. Watch it slowly peak in intensity and then allow it to slowly come down. See yourself as a jellyfish, allowing that wave to wash through you.”

The “Blossoming Lotus” – A sacred flower representing all that is pure and deeply spiritual in many cultures; use the lotus flower as a visualization tool during labor: “Visualize your cervix as a blossoming lotus flower. Upon every contraction, visualize and chant, “’Open, open, open.’”

Relax the “Third Eye” – During labor or stressful times in your pregnancy, do your best to relax your “third eye”, the space between your eyebrows. Lying directly behind it is the light-sensitive pineal gland, which produces serotonin, the hormone that affects your wake-sleep patterns and energy levels. Doing your best to “control” this offers the chance for maximum relaxation.

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