Review: Sara Holliday’s Prenatal Yoga Series
Before I was pregnant, I sent this prenatal DVD off to Jessica, a regular contributor for pregnancy content. Today she shares her review of Sara Holliday’s Prenatal Yoga DVD series, which she did when she was about 17 weeks along. We’ve also reviewed a Sara Holliday Stroller workout DVD. —Erin
It’s only been about a year since I decided to start going to the free yoga class offered once a week at my work, but it only took me one class to really fall in love with yoga. I leave every class feeling so refreshed and strong and confident and good about life in general.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. Or at least a pause. I’m about 17 weeks into my pregnancy and just in the last couple weeks of class, I’ve started to notice that I can’t quite do everything I used to do. I’ve experienced some breathlessness, so it’s really hard for me to keep my breathing rhythm timed with the movements like I used to. I also know that there are poses that I should either start to modify or eliminate as my body really starts to change, but I don’t have the training or experience to know exactly what is good for the baby and what isn’t.
So last week, I found myself searching the internet for prenatal yoga classes in my area. I actually found one just a few blocks from my house on the same night I am used to doing yoga at work, but it’s $15 a class. While I was hemming and hawing over whether to pay the big bucks for a class geared toward “my condition” or to stick with my free class and just try to modify the poses on my own as my body changes, FBG Jenn brought over a prenatal DVD for me to review. Perfect timing!
Sara Holliday’s Prenatal Yoga DVD has three separate segments—one appropriate for each trimester of pregnancy. Each is about 45 minutes long, which is enough time to sync your mind and body and get those muscles stretched and strengthened, but not so much time that I felt exhausted at the end. Sara is the only person in the DVD, and she taped each segment when she was in the same trimester of her own pregnancy. I’ve seen other prenatal DVDs where there are three women in the video—one in each trimester of pregnancy—and the women who are farther along just demonstrate modified version of all of the exercises. I liked that this DVD had a completely different set of poses and flow for each trimester.
I did the first trimester segment a couple days ago, even though I’m a few weeks into my second trimester. I found it to be very similar to what I was used to doing in class. This was both a good and a bad thing—I was glad that the workout was still fairly intense, but I found myself asking what made it “prenatal.” The first trimester segment had pretty low production quality, and I found the waving curtain, candles, fog and music (which sounded like a dripping faucet to me) to be a little distracting at first. Also, Sara did not mirror the movements she was suggesting her viewers follow. For example, when she said to raise your right arm, she also raised her right arm, which made me think I was supposed to raise my left arm. It doesn’t really matter which side you go with, but it’s a bit confusing at first, and this is a little pet peeve of mine for exercise instructors. Although, I admit that by the end of the workout, I wasn’t noticing those things as much and did feel like I got some nice yoga in.
I was much more excited about the second trimester segment. The production quality seemed to improve between segments, and Sara led the workout from a grassy knoll in front of a mountain lake. There was no music, but you could hear birds in the background (actual birds that were in the nature around her). Since I love nature, and especially the mountains, this backdrop for the video really worked for me. I also appreciated how Sara helped me focus on my connection with my baby through my breathing at the beginning and the end of the segment—this was something I felt was missing from the first trimester workout. While the second trimester workout was maybe a little less intense than the first, I definitely still felt the burn in my legs at a few points in the workout, and I also felt like I was getting really good stretches in places that seem to be especially tight during pregnancy, like my back. Overall, I really enjoyed the second trimester segment.
I haven’t tried the third trimester segment, but I did watch it on fast-forward to get a feel for it. It takes place in a different outdoor setting, and does a lot more of the workout from a seated position. The intro says that the poses and breathing used in the third trimester segment will help prepare you for labor and birth, so that sounded like a good thing. Just from my quick glance, I think I’d enjoy it once I’m big enough that the second trimester workout becomes challenging.
Other than the production quality, which didn’t really matter once I got into my breathing and yoga mindset, there were a couple of things I felt were missing. First, I would have liked a little more information on what poses or moves should not be done as the pregnancy progresses and more information on why the poses and movements that were used are good for pregnant women. Second, I would have liked more suggestions of how to modify poses for those of us not quite as flexible as a yoga instructor. I think that is what I missed most about being in a real class with a live instructor—on-the-spot help with modifying poses that I can’t quite get fully into.
Overall, I thought the DVD presented a good yoga workout that would be appropriate for a beginner or an intermediate yogi. (Although, it might take a couple times through the video for a true beginner to really get the hang of things.) I liked the balance of physical and mental focus, and I felt good when I finished the workout. The pace of movement and breathing fit my pregnancy breathlessness nicely. And the focus on connecting with the baby was also good.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottom Line: This DVD provides three yoga workouts for expecting moms as their pregnancies progress. It’s appropriate for mamas brand new to yoga and those who have been doing it a while but want to focus on connecting with their baby and modifying their normal poses and flows to better accommodate their changing bodies.
Have you taken prenatal yoga classes? Rocked any good DVDs? Tell us all about ‘em! —Jessica