MacKenzie Miller knows a thing or two about how yoga can support a healthy pregnancy. The new mom, who first fell in love with yoga post-college, when she was started working at a 9 to 5 that conveniently paid for her gym membership and incentivized employees to work out, has been returning to the mat consistently for 12 years. She kept up her practice while pregnant with her baby, Adler, making modifications to suit her personal journey, and credits it for a deeper connection with herself and her little one. Naturally, she also became an expert at finding the best Alo for growing bellies and postpartum, which she's sharing with us, along with some insights and advice, below.
What was it like practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy?
I practiced intentionally throughout my pregnancy so that my body felt good. This meant a lot of modification. Deep poses, long stretches and backbends were no longer a part of my practice. Long holds made my joints achey, so I shortened my stance in standing poses and didn't stretch my hips deeply. The best part of my yoga practice during pregnancy was meditation—I felt like I could meditate all day. It was a time to be quiet and connect with the being growing in my belly. I felt so powerful every time I ended my meditations, which were often focused on mantras like “We are strong,” “We are healthy” and “We are loved.” Even though asana didn’t feel the best in my body, I remained incredibly active throughout my pregnancy. I went to a kettlebell class twice a week up until I gave birth, and when I was six months pregnant, I went to Iceland and hiked a glacier.
How has your yoga practice changed since you’ve had Adler?
Adler is still quite dependent on me since he’s breastfeeding, so it’s rare that I get a whole hour to myself. This means if I want a long practice or want to take a class at a studio, I have to get childcare, which isn’t a big deal but it certainly makes me appreciate that dedicated time on the mat. Instead of one hour on my mat at home, it's more like four 15-minute segments throughout my day.
What advice would you give to pregnant women who want to incorporate yoga into their routine? New mothers?
Listen to your body. Whether you’re pregnant or postpartum, every woman experiences pregnancy differently. You will know what is best for you. Find a teacher who understands the changes that happen during pregnancy so that they can help keep you safe and feeling good. Once you’ve had your baby, the exhaustion is real. Take the first 8-12 weeks postpartum really slowly. Meditation and restorative are the best practices to nourish and rejuvenate your body after what you’ve been through physically, mentally and emotionally. I personally loved a restorative chest opener to counter all the sitting, rocking and breastfeeding I was doing with a newborn.
Any general pointers you have for pregnant yogis shopping at Alo?
MacKenzie's top Alo picks for pregnancy & postpartum
The Harmony Tank is made out of the softest and stretchiest material that grows with your growing belly.
The Bind Fitted Bra Tank is perfect as your breasts increase in size. It has full coverage and applies no pressure on the shoulders because of the wide and soft straps.
All the High-Waist Airbrush and Airlift Leggings! I lived in these high-waist leggings and still do postpartum. At the beginning of my pregnancy I wanted nothing on my stomach, so I folded the waistband over. Then, in my second and third trimester, they were great because the waistband didn't cut into my sides.
The waistband on the Aura Short is so forgiving and amazingly comfortable as your belly expands.
The High-Waist Moto Legging was my go-to when I wanted to dress up. I would throw a flowy top on and some cute shoes, and I was ready to go!
The Journey Sweatpants are the perfect sweats for waddling around the house. They're also the best for once the little one has arrived. You can put your phone in one pocket and the soother in the other.