Blog Series: Yoga in the Second Trimester
 
Prenatal
 

As I'm writing this, I'm 16 weeks pregnant which means that I have entered the second trimester. Already, I notice a huge difference in mood and energy level. 

In the first trimester I was very emotional and sensitive, I could start to cry anytime for any reason, such as by seeing my favorite childhood dish on the menu. I had bad nausea (morning, afternoon, night), I had to eat every two hours to not vomit, and I could take an afternoon nap after a night of 12 hours sleep. I barely recognized myself. Check out my post on yoga in the first trimester here

As I entered the second trimester, I noticed a steady increase in energy (I know this is common) and started to feel a bit more like myself again. Sure, I still struggle with some worry about the baby and once in a while I get overwhelmed by all the decisions facing pregnant moms and new parents, but for the most part - I'm doing a lot better.

For those of you who are also experiencing some renewed energy in the second trimester, you may enjoy returning to a flow practice. I recommend incorporating modified Sun Salutations to practice a steady breath and to build some heat in the body. If it starts to be uncomfortable to lower down all the way on your belly for Cobra pose, you could try:

1. Finding Child's pose for 3 breaths
2. Moving from Plank (exhale) to Cow pose (inhale, send the chest forward and lift the gaze) to Downward dog (exhale)
3. Moving through Upward Facing dog, if it feels comfortable
See a video example here

In addition to Sun Salutations, you may want to try some basic shoulder and hip stretches. I invite you to check out the videos below for some inspiration. The videos are sped up at least x4. Move slowly and to the pace of your breath. 

 
 

Pregnancy is an excellent time to tune in to your body. If anything feels uncomfortable back off. Listen and respect your body signals. This will be such a valuable skill both in labor and motherhood. 

Karin KarlssonComment
How I found yoga

I began practicing yoga as a result of an ankle injury in 2008. I had been a longtime runner and orienteer (what is orienteering?), making my way up and down the Swedish mountains with a map and compass. I liked the effect running had on my mind. Running was my moving meditation, by listening to the sound of my breath and the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, I felt strong, calm and centered. I remember how I often returned from a run, bursting with new ideas and projects, and sometimes with a solution to a problem. With time I learnt that many questions could be answered, simply by looking inside.

Through orienteering I faced many fears, I crossed ice-cold swamps and practiced at night in pitch-dark forests. I learnt that I was strong. Knowing how to remain calm and focused, was key to find the way back home. Then, due to some hasty moves on a longboard in 2008, I fell and injured my ankle. This lead to surgery and a whole summer in a cast. Suddenly, I felt like a prisoner in my own body.

For recovery, I was recommended light exercise, such as yoga or pilates. I attended a yoga class with my mom at the local gym. At first, I found the practice too slow. In some poses, I almost felt like napping on my mat. Yet, it felt good to move and stretch my body.

As I began to practice more regularly, I soon felt the benefits yoga had on my body and mind. I learnt how to breathe more deeply and to stay focused in tough situations. I soon noticed a new sense of balance in my body, while I was building both strength and flexibility.

Yoga changed my life. After the injury, I have a new appreciation for movement. A new understanding of breath. Simply put, my connection to the practice has developed far beyond where four wheels and a board could ever take me.

Looking back, I’m grateful for finding yoga already in high school, since it has allowed me to grow my practice from an early age. It has been a long journey, from almost sleeping on my mat in the beginning, to challenging myself through a rigorous practice, to finally learning how to adapt my practice daily to cultivate balance and harmony in body and mind.

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 Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

Karin Karlsson Comment
Power protein chocolate balls

I'm so excited to share this recipe with you all. These little power balls meet all my top criteria for the perfect snack:

- They have no junk, only real ingredients that are easy to find at most supermarkets.
- They are delicious but satisfying thanks to good amounts of protein and some healthy fats.
- They remind me of childhood treats. I was inspired to make a healthier version of a super popular treat in Sweden "Chokladbollar" (English: chocolate balls). However, those are usually made with oats, lots of sugar, chocolate and butter and if you get the store bought ones, they are most likely full of with additives and preservatives.

These are completely vegan, dairy-free and are naturally sweetened with dates and a little maple syrup.  They can also be made gluten free by choosing GF oats (oats are naturally GF but most oats are packed in facilities with gluten foods).  

 
Pick-one
 
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Power protein chocolate balls (makes around 15)

1 cup (100 g) rolled oats
1/4 (50 g) cup protein powder (I use hemp, this brand)
1/2 cup (38 g) desiccated coconut (+ extra for rolling)
20 pitted dates
2 tbsp raw cacao powder (I use this brand)
1 tbsp almond butter or coconut oil
4-6 tbsp filtered water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp fine salt

Add the oats to a food processor and mix until it resembles a coarse flour. Now add the dates (make sure there are no pits), protein powder, desiccated coconut, almond butter (or coconut oil), maple syrup and salt. Mix until crumbly. Slowly add the 4 tablespoons of water while mixing. Depending on the dryness of your dates, you may need to add more water until the dough is sticky but not wet. To test whether it's ready, pick up some dough with your fingers and try to shape into a ball. It should come together easily. Roll each ball in desiccated coconut and store in the refrigerator or freezer. 

 
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