prenatal yoga

Jill Birt, RN, on Yoga, Pregnancy, & the Seasons

We are so thankful to have the presence of Jill Birt, RN, here at Soul Strong Yoga. If you’ve taken a flow class from Jill, you know her supportive presence and keen eye for anatomy. Or maybe you’ve experienced her Yoga and Essential Oils workshops, learning from her very well-read scientific brain and vast life experience.  If you’ve taken her prenatal classes, you know the beautiful balance of Jill’s nursing background (she is a registered nurse!) and yoga practice.

Now, whether or not a baby is in the future for you, check out the interview with Jill below! As winter is upon us, I asked Jill all about self-care practices for the changing of the seasons. Jill shared her thoughts on being well during this time of year, for both expecting yogis and otherwise.

First, I was curious what Jill’s personal pull is towards seasonal self-care. I also wanted to know WHY it’s so hard to stay well and live out the yoga practice off of the mat this time of year? Here are some of her thoughts.

Jill: As a Registered Nurse and a yogi it seems natural that I am drawn to Ayurveda, the science of life. Ayurveda is one of the oldest and continuous holistic systems of medicine, acknowledging the unity of mind, body and spirit for true wellness. Personally, one of my favorite aspects of Ayurveda is in the way the science acknowledges the elements and influences of our natural and energetic world in our lives. In the study of Ayurveda this time of year is known as Vata season.  It is governed by the natural elements of air and ether which translate to movement. This is easy to understand as the qualities of this time of year are cool, dry, windy, shifting, often unpredictable. In order to stay balanced during this time of year, it is helpful to cultivate the opposite, warmth, moisture, stable routines, slowing down, nurturing self-care.  When we don’t honor the season with these practices, the energy of Vata can become excessive resulting in feeling of unsettledness, insomnia and anxious feelings.

The holiday season here in our culture is a very busy time of the year and for women who are pregnant during this time it may feel very difficult to honor these natural instincts  as they may not align with the traditions of the season. For some, this can potentially be a very stressful time. A pregnant woman may feel pulled between what her intuition knows to be best and what you maybe could compare to the “peer pressure” of the holidays.

In relation to pregnancy, Jill added:

Pregnancy has the potential to be a very rejuvenating time in a woman’s life, it is a time when women naturally lean in to health and wellness, choose rest, and care for themselves with a bit more attentiveness. A woman’s body often guides her in her needs as typically women are more sensitive to foods that don’t address the body’s needs  and cravings for foods that carry nutrients the body is in need of. Naturally women are called to slow down by the demands of pregnancy and therefore they begin to cultivate more of what is known in Ayurveda as a sattvic (balanced) lifestyle.

In pregnancy, there is a natural Vata essence, as it is a time when a lot of movement is occuring within the body, as shifts and changes occur both in her body and the growing baby. When considering this Vata presence both within and all around an expecting mama during this time of year, it is of high importance for her to take special care of herself with routines that help to balance the Vata energy.  The practices of yoga and meditation are so supportive to an expecting mother. They offer her an opportunity to slow down, connect and become aware of the needs of her body, mind, and spirit. They support her in nurturing her needs, while encouraging inner strength and confidence in herself and the guidance of her intuition. In comparison to other birth preparation practices, it is the most comprehensive, combining both physical, mental and breathing preparations.

So, there you have it! Pregnant or not, this is a time to slow down and reign in the Vata energy in the air. It’s a time to reevaluate self-care. For more information about Jill, check out and

For more about prenatal yoga and seasonal self care, check out the following sources:

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