Capoeira is good for the pregnant mama!
That mama doing the high kick in the picture is me! A year ago this time I was 7 months pregnant with our sweet Jubilee. Check out the one-leg balancing action going on, and in third trimester at that! I did more capoeira during this last pregnancy than I did in my whole life. Capoeira happens everyday in our house, but before Jubilee was on her way, I didn't always join in. With this pregnancy though, I was also dancing everyday, and so doing capoeira with James and the boys was another lovely way to share movement with my family. 

And of course, capoeira is naturally amazing for the mama-to-be! The fluid, circular movements support good blood circulation for mother and baby. When we're pregnant, our blood volume increases by 50% in the body. The labor of just existing inside our pregnant bodies is a lot more work on our heart, lungs, and other vital organs. Not to mention all the ways in which we are expanding and growing and stretching! Our bodies are constantly laboring, making more and more space for the baby and preparing us for birth. Staying connected to all we're feeling and being present with all the changes takes time, practice, and creativity.

One of the beautiful ways capoeira aids us in tuning more deeply into ourselves and our babies is through awareness of the breath. Developing the strength, coordination, and fluidity to perform each movement, and also to apply those movements in the roda, or game, really engages deep, core breathing. That same full belly breathing is essential for maximizing the power of our contractions when we are in labor. Shallow breaths tighten and hold, which is the opposite of getting the baby out! Practicing capoeira increases our capacity to breath deeply while moving. We create the most space for baby to come out when we intentionally use the breath to ride the waves of the contractions, each one bringing us closer to meeting our precious little human.

Capoeira is also just a really fun and intimate way to spend time together as a family. There's something in capoeira for all ages, and as the family prepares to welcome a new baby, finding physical and creative activities that are still very accessible for mommy is really important. Capoeira is awesome for lifting mommy's energy if she's feeling kind of blah or her spirits are low, for tiring out older siblings before nap times and bedtimes, for helping the birth team bond at prenatal visits, and for getting in some good practice encouraging and affirming the mama as she is moving through whatever it is she's moving through.

And while capoeira is a martial art, it is also a dance and a game, and can still be a very gentle and playful release for a pregnant mama. The movements naturally engage the whole body in a holistic workout that can be effective in every trimester, and also in postpartum once we've been cleared to resume exercising. 

If you are pregnant, or you are connected to someone who is pregnant or newly postpartum, consider exploring the magic that is capoeira. When we are moving our bodies, we are learning how to listen to our bodies. And it is through the cultivation of that deep listening that we are able to tune in so well to our babies and all we need to do to get them born. 

Join us for these upcoming Family Capoeira events!

Saturday March 17th @ 3PM, a pay-what-you-can class for the community as part of Hands on Drums' anniversary festivities, Location: 600 Rhode Island Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002 (this is a bonus class for our monthly workshop families!)

Saturday March 31st @ 12PM, our monthly Family Capoeira workshop at Hands on Drums, registration and details here! 

/// Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not meant to replace the guidance of your midwife, doctor, or healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise practice if you are pregnant or newly postpartum.  ///