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Pregnancy is a time when your body goes through a lot of changes. That is why yoga is the perfect activity for expectant mothers. Stretching and strengthening your body will help prepare it for childbirth while learning to calm your mind will help keep you sane during pregnancy and labor. Read on to learn more about how yoga can help get you through your pregnancy.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

First and arguably most importantly, yoga teaches you how to focus on and control your breath. By learning how to breathe and relax, women can have a more comfortable labor process. These techniques can also be utilized during pregnancy when pain, anxiety, or discomfort becomes overwhelming.

Practicing yoga can help relieve many of the aches and pains related to pregnancy including lower back pain, headaches, and carpal tunnel symptoms. It is also proven to reduce stress, decrease nausea, and improve sleep quality. Prenatal yoga helps strengthen and lengthen muscles women use for childbirth (like hips, pelvic floor, and abdominals) to make labor easier.

What Happens in a Prenatal Yoga Class?

Breathing is an important part of prenatal yoga classes. You will learn to breathe deeply to control shortness of breath and to help combat labor pains. As you breathe, you will also be prompted to check in with your body's sensations, which is especially important for a healthy pregnancy.

The more active part of prenatal yoga involves gentle stretching and yoga poses. You will stretch different body parts and hold poses designed to strengthen your body. Each position will develop your flexibility and strength without hurting you or baby.

Why Should I Attend A Prenatal Yoga Class?

Taking time to focus on yourself and your growing baby is an important part of pregnancy. Doing prenatal yoga will allow you to take time out of your hectic life to focus on how your body feels and on feeling baby inside you. You will become more aware of baby and can think deeply about him or her, leading to feelings of bonding even before birth.

Prenatal yoga classes are also a fun way to meet other moms-to-be. You can meet new friends with the same healthy mindset you have and form a support group of sorts. Sharing pregnancy experiences and anxieties with like-minded ladies will help you feel supported in ways other family or friends might not be able to provide.

'Jenny Holt, Freelance Writer'

I heard strength training for women will get you super bulky? Wrong!....

Fitness marketing companies often caters exclusive to women and with inaccurate information and the wrong approach. I mean how many of them are truly selling the truth? In nearly all women fitness magazines, you will find a new kind of workout that would promise you stunning results and that you are going to tone your muscles and get a perfect body. However, is it really so? You usually come across super diet pills or machines that claim they target belly fat and will get you skinny in no time.

All of this makes me uneasy because come on, what pieces of crap they usually are! So, here we are to set all the correct information and give you an insight into what is right and what is wrong with the way women train. You need to be educated about the details to know how to train yourself the correct way even if you are looking for a beginner workout.

Let us bust a few myths now...


Remember when you were a kid and claimed that your dog ate your homework, when really you just didn't get around to writing your book report? Of course, your teacher knew you were fibbing. While most of us are past blaming the dog instead of taking responsibility for our actions, this doesn't mean that we're beyond using excuses—whether we realize it or not.

As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I've heard almost every reason under the sun for why people "can't" be active, let alone do something specific like lifting weights for the recommended 20 to 30 minutes twice a week. However, outside of an actual health condition and a doctor's note saying that strength training isn't recommended, lifting weights is so beneficial to the majority of people that all excuses are busted pretty quickly.

Read more: 7 Strength Training Excuses: Busted!

My friend Christine had been trying to lose those last 10 pounds for months, but to no avail. Despite my regular invitations for her to come to the gym with me, she always declined. One Saturday afternoon, she finally agreed to try it out, but on one condition: no weights.

''Why not?'' I asked, a bit confused. ''I love the way my arms look. Lifting weights is the best thing I've ever done for my body.''

It had initially taken me a while to get into lifting weights, but within a few weeks of regular strength training, I had watched my arms become more firm and toned than they had ever been. Thanks to strength training, I was so proud of my body, and I couldn't understand why someone wouldn't want to give it a shot.

Christine shook her head. ''I don't want to use weights. My arms are big enough already, and I don't want to look like a man.''

I was quick to tell Christine that her fear was unfounded. Weight training, even just twice a week for 20 minutes at a time, is an important part of a well-rounded fitness regime for both men and women. While some of the benefits of strength training are obvious (improved muscle tone and strength), working out with weights also helps in more subtle ways, such as fighting the aging process by maintaining lean muscle tissue. And women who regularly exercise with free weights and machines have higher self-esteem and an improved immune system, meaning they get sick less often. Weight training also reduces blood pressure, fights arthritis, strengthens bones, and helps the body process sugar more efficiently, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.

Read more: Why Women Don't Lift Weights--But Should

Current economic conditions mean that money is tight; however, can the same be said for your rear end? Don't let your sagging stock portfolio be an excuse for skipping workouts this year, especially those targeting your bum. Learn how to tighten your assets with a moderate investment of time—and no gym membership fees!

Anatomy of the Glutes

Arguably the strongest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus is one of the most conspicuous parts of the muscular system, connected as it is with the power of keeping your trunk in an upright position. The gluteus maximus allows your leg to extend behind you and permits outward rotation of the femur (thigh bone). It is the primary gluteal muscle involved in cycling, jumping rope, squatting, climbing stairs and running. It is also the largest of the three gluteal muscles that make up our buttocks—the other two being the gluteus medius (located at the superior and outer portion of the buttocks) and gluteus minimus (located underneath the gluteus maximus), named so for their size.

Factors that Affect Size and Shape

Whether you want it to be larger, smaller or rounder, the overall shape of your butt depends on three primarily factors:

The size of our gluteus maximus muscle. Remember that muscle mass is lean and doesn't take up a lot of space. Strengthening your glutes can improve muscle tone and result in a tighter, firmer appearance.

Read more: Build Yourself a Better Butt

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