We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Pvolve is right for just about everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, a fitness newbie, a bodybuilder, or somewhere in between, there’s surely at least one aspect of the method that can help open your hips, tone your thighs, or show you something you didn’t know about your body. But what about expecting mothers-to-be? Exercises for pregnant women are often a hot-button topic for two reasons: most of us don’t know if working out with a baby bump is safe, and if it can be, we’re unsure what exactly to do to keep moving in a healthy way during those nine months. And when those nine months are up, how can you safely work that post pregnancy belly? Dr. Amy Hoover, DPT, Chief Physical Therapist and member of the Clinical Advisory Board is here to answer your questions about exercises during and after pregnancy. Is Pvolve safe during pregnancy? Because the Pvolve Method is a low-impact, functional, and mindful exercise program, it’s safe for pregnancy and postpartum as long as you do not have any restrictions from your physician. One of the biggest myths that I hear is that pregnant women should not work their abdominals or core. This is the opposite of the truth! Women need to maintain their abdominal strength to support their changing body and posture. Pvolve focuses on postural alignment, strength training, flexibility, toning and circulation—all things that are crucial focuses for expecting mothers. Much of the Pvolve equipment focuses on hip and core strength and balance, both of which are excellent options for prenatal workout. Specifically, the P.ball can help with balancing the pelvis when done with correct core activation. Resistance bands are great for building strength, and gliders can help with balance. The excitement and anticipation during pregnancy is a wonderful time in an expectant mother’s life. With it comes many emotions and significant physical changes that may make it difficult to know what your body needs. Rest assured, exercising throughout pregnancy has many physical benefits, and can aid in labor, delivery and postnatal recovery. And even more so, giving yourself ample time to move throughout the day is necessary to destress. Exercise has even been known to help treat postpartum depression. Exercise during the first trimester The first trimester often brings excessive fatigue due to the hormonal changes happening within your body, as well as the hard work your body is doing to grow your baby. You might not feel as energized as usual to exercise, but even 30 minutes of low-impact exercise can help improve blood flow and overall mood. It can also help prepare your body for the rest of your pregnancy by building or maintaining strong hips and abdominals, improving posture and facilitating proper movement patterns. Because of our mindful approach, you’ll be able to adapt to your changing bodies needs and continue to build strength and stability. In particular, this is a great time to begin to focus on posture with the P.band and 2 lb. hand weights so that you’ll be prepared to carry your newborn around with ease when the time comes. Exercise during the second trimester The second trimester brings significant changes to your body, including widening of the pelvis and ribcage and of course increased weight in the abdomen as the uterus stretches with your growing baby. These changes (because they happen relatively quickly) can be hard for your muscular system to keep up with. This is the time when common issues can pop up, including lower back, pelvic, rib and sciatic pain. The best way to improve or prevent these issues is by maintaining good strength, flexibility and range of motion in the hips and working on functional core strengthening. Using resistance such as the ankle bands and P.ball will help you keep the muscles in the glutes and hips strong to meet your growing body and even working with the P.3 Trainer will help keep the abdominals strong while still providing room for the baby to grow. Exercise during the third trimester The third trimester is the home stretch, and with it comes more physical demand on your body as your baby continues to grow and change. Mobility gets more difficult as our brain wants to make us move how we did before pregnancy, but your body is not physically the same. Mindful exercise can help us map out more effective and efficient movement patterns to reinforce more comfortable movement, posture and positions. Post-Natal Workouts The first three months after delivery is becoming more commonly known as the fourth trimester. During this period, your body is recovering from childbirth, adjusting to changing hormones and adapting to the dramatic physical changes that occurred literally overnight. Postpartum check ups are usually scheduled around 6 weeks after your baby is born, but guidelines are changing and sometimes your physician will see you sooner. You can start doing Pvolve as soon as you are cleared postpartum for exercise by your physician. If you have been doing Pvolve during pregnancy then you should have no problem going right back to it since it’s low impact. However, you may want to modify for the first week or two until you feel stronger. You can ease back into post-pregnancy exercises with the Post-Natal series with Cecily or try a workout in our Pre/Post-Natal collection is a great place to start. Carving out some time for self care will allow you to be more present in the special moments that come with motherhood.
We can work all day long to tone the arms with the P.band and glide our way to leaner legs with Gliders, but according to Dr. Amy Hoover, DPT, Chief Physical Therapist and member of the Clinical Advisory Board there’s a whole other area most of us forget about: the pelvic floor. This set of muscles helps support the pelvic organs, and more importantly, can help give your body the balance it requires for life’s daily movements. Most would probably be surprised to learn that the pelvic floor also includes the core—a major focal point of the Pvolve workout. “All the core muscles (back, abs, pelvic floor) need to work in balance in order to really give you the stability and strength that your body needs. The core is not just your abs!” Dr. Amy explains. Below, Dr. Amy dives deeper into everything you need to know about the pelvic floor and how the Pvolve Method can work in tandem with other best practices for pelvic floor activation. What is the pelvic floor, and why is it important for women to pay attention to? The pelvic floor is a bowl or sling-shaped group of skeletal muscle at the bottom of the pelvis. It plays an important role in supporting the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus and rectum in women. It also helps support the functions of these organs, specifically bowel, bladder and sexual function. So it is pretty important! Keeping it strong can help maintain these functions and prevent things like pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. How and why is the pelvic floor relevant to the Pvolve method? The method involves core activation which includes the pelvic floor. Since your pelvic floor is involved in stabilizing your core, it is also important for maintaining good posture and form during your Pvolve workouts. How can I make sure I’m properly activating these areas? When you hear the trainers cue for the core, include your pelvic floor. Draw your lower abs in and contract your pelvic floor, and then go into your p.sit. This will help maintain good pelvic and lumbar alignment during class and help to take the stress off of your lower back so that you can perform the moves more effectively. What about kegel exercises? A kegel is simply a pelvic floor contraction. If you are doing true isolated kegels, you should not be using your gluteals, abdominals or other hip or thigh muscles. You are tightening the muscles between the sit bones that run from pubic bone to tailbone. As stated above, you need to kegel WITH your abdominal activation and keep your breath moving for ALL core and abdominal work. Work on kegels alone, but include the kegel with your abdominal work. As always, Dr. Amy suggests starting slow and paying close attention to the tiny details in every Pvolve movement. "Pvolve offers many opportunities to engage your pelvic floor," she says. "Listen when trainers cue for the core, and do this together with kegels!"
Along with “Can I drink wine?” one of the most common questions people going through the egg stimulation process in preparation for an egg freezing, egg donation, or IVF procedure is what they can do if they would like to continue to work out. And the answer is often tricky—with special concerns for avoiding exercises that include twisting and certain movements that can up the chances of exercise-induced ovarian torsion, they’ve had few options, and certainly no dedicated workout plan. But the Pvolve Method is here to change that. We’ve partnered with the experts at Spring Fertility to create Moving During Fertility Treatment a first-of-its-kind slow and steady workout program designed for people going through egg stimulation and retrieval who have been cleared for exercise. The program avoids the jumping, twisting, and excessive pelvis movements that doctors advise against during this period. We also provide restorative techniques as well as Q&As with doctors in the field for that extra bit of support that can make all the difference in helping your state of mind. It’s all created for those who crave movement and self-care as they go through the process of hormone injections and egg retrieval—and it’s here for you whenever you need it.* Want to learn more about the ovarian stimulation process? Dr. Kolbe Hancock, MD, fertility specialist at Spring Fertility, who has completed a Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, as well as Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical Center and Dr. Shannon Devore, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and a member of Pvolve’s Clinical Advisory Board paired up to answer the most asked questions about ovarian stimulation and the fertility process. *As with any fitness program, consult your doctor before starting. What is ovarian stimulation? Each month your ovaries offer up a group of eggs for a chance at ovulation. In a regular menstrual cycle, your body allows just one out of this group to grow, and eventually ovulate mid cycle. Ovarian stimulation is the process by which we stimulate the month’s entire cohort of follicles (which contain eggs) to grow and develop. We use the same hormones, FSH and LH, released by your brain, but in higher quantities. In a normal menstrual cycle, the increasing estrogen released by the developing follicle turns off this hormone. During ovarian stimulation we override that negative feedback by continuing to give FSH/LH. The result is many follicles (and thus eggs) grow and develop rather than just one. This multi-follicular recruitment allows us to optimize the cycle because it takes numerous eggs to make an embryo. What are the phases of ovarian stimulation? The whole stimulation process typically takes 10-14 days and can be divided into a few phases. Early Follicular Phase The early follicular phase is the first 4-5 days of stimulation. The follicles and ovaries are typically still small and most women do not have significant symptoms or feel very different. Late Follicular Phase The late follicular phase is the latter half of the stimulation up until the last shot—the trigger injection. During this phase the ovaries and follicles are growing and may become quite uncomfortable. Bloating and fatigue are the most common complaints, however there is a huge range of symptoms including but not limited to headaches, sore breasts, abdominal discomfort, and mood changes. Luteal Phase The luteal phase consists of the time between the egg retrieval and your period. The follicles have transformed into corpus lutea which secrete progesterone. Women may experience bloating, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, breast swelling/tenderness as well as constipation. A very small percentage of women may develop symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome such as rapid weight gain, difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain, significant nausea/vomiting, and decreased urination. You should alert your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms. Who typically goes through the process of ovarian stimulation? Women who are preserving their fertility for the future by freezing eggs and/or embryos as well as women with infertility who are making embryos for immediate implantation. Some women who choose to donate eggs may also undergo this process. What are the general Dos and Don'ts you tell your patients during this period (outside of movement)? Generally we recommend against heavy drinking during the egg freezing or IVF process, not because it impacts the egg quality or the success of the cycle, but because your body’s homeostasis and fluid balance is disrupted by ovarian stimulation and will be further impacted with significant alcohol consumption. That being said, if you have a special event a glass or two of wine, particularly early in the cycle, is absolutely acceptable. We do recommend self-care with stress-reducing activities such as safe movement, meditation, mindfulness and acupuncture. Anything that boosts your overall wellbeing will help you feel your best during the treatment. What kind of movement do you suggest during each phase? The type of movements we suggest correlate with the three phases of ovarian stimulation. The goal is always to keep the pelvis neutral position and free from large or sudden movements, twisting, and inversions to reduce the risk of ovarian torsion. During the early follicular phase, the movements are a bit bigger and heart rate is up, as the ovaries grow and you enter the ovarian stimulation phase the movements are pared back and great care is taken to reduce the risk of torsion. As your period comes on about 10 days after retrieval, your ovaries are nearly back to their original size, and regular exercise can be started again. Is there anything you can do to prep for ovarian stimulation? This is always a difficult question because for better or worse there is not a tremendous amount you can do to positively or negatively impact this process in terms of the number of eggs, or quality of the eggs or embryos. A great deal of it is out of your control. That being said, you will feel your best if you eat a well-balanced diet full of healthy fats, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Stress-reducing activities such as movement, meditation, and acupuncture will be beneficial to your physical and mental health before and during this process. Studies show certain supplements may improve egg quality so ask your physician if they are appropriate for you. How long after you finish the process can you jump back into your normal routine? Most women feel ready to get back to their regular routine by the time their first period after the retrieval arrives (typically around 10-12 days after the egg retrieval). Exceptions are women who had or were at risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, they may take more time to feel back to baseline and should consult with their doctor about when to resume certain activities. Be kind to yourself, everyone recovers at different paces and your period is sometimes not the magical end date of symptoms. Learn more and sign up today.
Meet Tami, mom of two small children, fitness enthusiast, and writer—and the founder of the popular blog Fit Healthy Momma,. As a certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, pre & post-natal fitness expert, and nutritionist, Tami takes her workouts seriously, and praises Pvolve for doing an amazing job at bringing something new to the oversaturated fitness worlds. She calls the Pvolve Method a great option “if you want to challenge yourself in new ways and watch your body slim and tone over time.” 1. PLAN ACCORDINGLY I’m really intentional with my time. I know what needs to get done each day and I make my plans accordingly. I don’t approach my days with a lax attitude, I’m pretty routined and tend to run a tight ship so that I don’t feel like a bag in the wind blowing from one thing to the next without direction. Of course, there are days when even the best-laid plans get way off track, but in general, having a schedule and routine for myself and my kiddos is what helps me keep all my plates in the air. For me, fitting in workouts requires me to be very intentional about making the time in my schedule and committing to it. Since I tend to work out mainly in the a.m., I sometimes need to sacrifice staying up later at night so that I can make sure I am able to get enough sleep before my a.m. alarm. 2. MOVE THROUGHOUT THE DAY My day starts early, intentionally waking up earlier than the rest of my house so that I can have some quiet “me” time before the day gets going. I like to take the first few minutes of my day to meditate and visualize. Next, I typically get into some form of movement. A lot of my time is spent at my computer, so I am very intentional about scheduling walk and stretch breaks throughout the day. I usually take a mid-morning walk a couple of hours into my day followed by lunch. I wrap up my work for the day and head to pick my kids up from school. We usually spend some time playing and reflecting on the day before getting dinner started. Somewhere between dinner and bedtime, I try to get in a little bit of extra movement to help with digestion and to help reach my step goal for the day. Some days that looks like an after-dinner walk with my dog, other days it might just be vacuuming the house. 3. GIVE YOUR BODY THE WORKOUT IT NEEDS TODAY When it comes to my workouts, I like to mix it up a lot and really listen to my body and what it needs each day/week. Some weeks I feel like pushing hard in the gym with weights, and others I want to take things slower and more laid back. One of my favorite things to do is schedule a Movement Therapy class with Pvolve at least once per week. With all the activities that I do on a daily basis, my body always needs some dedicated recovery and stretching to feel its best. I’m particularly fond of the Back Strengthening Series as well as the Pelvic Floor Strengthening program, something I wish I had paid more attention to in my earlier postpartum days. 4. BUILD HEALTHY HABITS OVER TIME When I first began focusing on my health and wellness, my motivation came from a desire to be the healthiest version of myself for my kids. These days that’s certainly still true, however, my healthy lifestyle choices have now become habits. At this point, I don’t need a lot of motivation, it’s just a part of my day. This happened over the span of years and many days/weeks/months of showing up and going through the motions despite not wanting to and feeling 0 motivation. 5. TURN RUTS INTO AN OPPORTUNITY When I’m in a rut I try to take inventory of why I am feeling that way and get to the root cause of the issue. Fitness rut? Maybe I need to switch up my routine. Healthy eating rut? Perhaps it’s a good time to evaluate my eating habits and implement some changes that will have me feeling more excited and energetic. Creativity rut? Usually taking a step back from what I’m working on, giving it some space, and placing my focus on something else that’s productive will help inspire me. For example, if I’m struggling with what to write in a blog post, I’ll get up and away from the computer for a while, maybe go for a walk or go outside and sit in the sunshine for a while and meditate. When I come back to it, I usually have a freshly invigorated perspective that I can pour onto the paper. Quick-Fire Q&A: Favorite piece of equipment: P.ballFavorite instructor: Antonietta Favorite class format: Strength & Sculpt Favorite time of day to workout: Morning! Who do you recommend it to? Anyone with a desire to learn and grow in their body while getting stronger, leaner, and more flexible. How do you describe Pvolve? Functional movement at its best. Something you’re over? Crazy intense workouts that leave you completely gassed. I’ve realized these just aren’t as effective as I once thought, nor are they sustainable. A current obsession? Greek yogurt mixed with a sugar-free Jello cup and topped with frozen berries and a little whipped cream—healthy and so satisfying!
With 100s of workouts, a wide variety of series tailored to your goals, and our Live Virtual Studio, picking a Pvolve workout could be an overwhelming experience. But we've got you. With an improved home page, an easy-navigate library, and smart filters, we've made finding your next class a breeze. Home Our home page is designed to help you track your progress and pick your next workout. We've got specially-curated collections for our newest members and are always updating the page with seasonal favorites, trainer picks, our newest series and more. You can find your personal Favorites that you want to come back to time and time again at the bottom of the page too. Pvolve Classes & Series The workouts in our Classes library are here to be worked into your fitness routine as you wish. Our Series are designed to be completed in sequential order as each class builds on the last to help you meet a specific goal, like toning your core with 8-Day Core, or learning all there is to know about your new Signature Bundle while building total body strength with Signature Strength & Sculpt. Pvolve Class Categories: Defined Get Started: New to Pvolve? Head here for our introductory classes. Strength & Sculpt: Our signature class that blends low-impact sculpting exercises with resistance-based training and equipment for full body results. Progressive Weight Training: A mix of weight training and dynamic, functional movement to build strength. Cardio Burn: A high-intensity class that gets your heart pumping while strengthening and toning. Mat Definition: Get deep core activation and a focused burn on the mat with this Pilates-inspired class with a killer Pvolve twist. Recover & Stretch: Restorative movement to calm the body and mind. Movement Therapy: Created with help from our Clinical Advisory Board, these classes are tailored to meet your needs based on your unique physiology, age, and goals (think Pre- and Post-Natal classes and Pelvic Floor work). Meditation: Take some time out of your day to reconnect with yourself and build a stronger mind-body connection. Looking for a blend of Strength & Sculpt and Cardio Burn? Check out the Sculpt & Burn collection for classes that blend our signature strength programming with cardio bursts. Interested in mobility work to improve your range of motion and reduce tightness in the body? Try Sculpt & Mobility! Filters & Class Breakdowns: Our filters are here to help you find exactly what you're looking for. From our Phase & Function sync-with-your-cycle workouts to and Pre- and Post-Natal-friendly workouts. The Pacing filter is available to help you find what kind of burn you’re looking for: Slow & Steady, Fast-Paced, or maybe a little bit of both (hello, Ebbs & Flows). And when you expand the class details you’ll see a Class Breakdown for every session—this is where we tell you how much of each class is spent warming up, standing, seated, on the mat, and cooling down. Want to know what’s included in your workout ahead of time without fast-forwarding through the video? We’ve got you. Want to do know if there are planks? Check out the Class Description for a heads up on that as well. Does Pvolve offer beginner and advanced class level classes? We’ve moved away from these traditional levels. Here’s the thinking: What’s challenging for one member may not be challenging for another. For some, a slow and steady move that allows for a stronger mind-to-muscle connection is their biggest challenge. For others, working multiple muscles at the same time at a more rapid pace requires more effort. That’s why we provide modifications and ways to level-up or -down to help you make the most of each workout. And that’s also why, as our loyal members can tell you, the more you do the Method, the harder you can make any class. Any workout can be advanced, it all depends on your form, range of motion, and resistance. You may notice the Beginner label hanging around for new members. Since there is a learning curve to the Pvolve library, we’ve curated the Get Started category to include all the classes helpful for anyone looking to get started and learn our moves. And we’ll continue to label those classes as Beginner so it’s totally clear where anyone can get started. What is the Live Virtual Studio? You can feel the energy of our boutique studio class from the comfort of your own home in our Live Virtual Studio. With optional 2-way video you can get real time feedback and corrections from our trainers and get to know the Pvolve community as you move to the beat of the music. Not a member yet? Start your free trial for access to our library of on-demand classes and start working out with us today.
It’s still about functional fitness—and a whole lot more When Pvolve first launched in 2017, it quickly gained a reputation for being the workout for high-profile models that was especially sculpting the glutes, thanks in part to our first piece of equipment, the innovative p.ball. Built by entrepreneur Rachel Katzman and trainer Stephen Pasterino as the antidote to burpee-laden high-impact HIIT workouts, our method started with a lot of talk about elongating the body while lifting the butt without the boot camp-style “no pain, no gain” attitude. The Pvolve of today can still give you a great rear view and all-over definition you won't believe and it's still a favorite with high-profile models and celebs (see: Jennifer Aniston's latest "obsession"). But it looks quite different than it did five years ago. While our foundation remains the same, our focus has shifted. We pair functional fitness with resistance equipment to sculpt in a way that's efficient and effective, yet gentle on the body. Pvolve now has more class types, a stronger emphasis on wellness, and even more sculpting, shaping, and strengthening benefits. Here's why—and how—it's changed. Redefining functional The catalyst for the changes to Pvolve’s approach was Rachel’s own personal wellness journey. As her needs and priorities shifted over the years, she began asking for more. “I started Pvolve because I knew by moving this way I looked good, and I felt good. But in my early 20s, I wasn’t yet thinking about what the things that were making me feel good— balance, stability, mobility, flexibility—would mean throughout my life.” Then when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2020, she had another ah-ha moment that deepened her appreciation for what a workout that fuels the body could truly mean. In turn, she explains, “My vision of what we can offer expanded.” The heart is still unquestionably functional fitness that moves you through all planes of motion. “When Pvolve started, it was based on sculpting your body with movement that works on strength, stability, and mobility all in one,” says Pvolve VP of Talent and Training Antonietta Vicario. “And it’s brilliant, and it works. It’s smart fitness, and that won’t change.” However, as Rachel challenged the team to put even more emphasis on how movement could make you feel, diversified our training staff, and grew our Clinical Advisory Board, an idea began to take shape: that for a workout to be truly functional, it needs to function for you and where you are today. So we took on the mission of offering practical solutions that sculpt (of course) but do it in a way that truly works for the individual. "What does a woman need? It is not a one-size-fits-all answer," explains Antonietta. “It can change day to day. And what a woman needs at 45 is different from when she was 25. That's what the science tells us. So we've expanded our programming to be able to use smart fitness to meet members’ goals.” Embracing workout variety All these revelations spurred the team to expand our workout library. Pvolve started with our signature Strength & Sculpt classes, which feature low-impact functional exercises and incorporate light hand weights and a variety of other equipment. Since then, we’ve added everything from Cardio Burn to Pilates-based mat classes to sessions that incorporate heavy weights called Progressive Weight Training—all with the Pvolve twist of functional movement. The variety allows every member to create their ideal workout mix. We still believe everyone can benefit from our signature Strength & Sculpt class (and it’s usually where we suggest you start), but depending on your goals, your week may incorporate other class types. For example, anyone looking to up metabolism may want to try more Cardio Burn and Progressive Weight Training classes. Or someone looking to get back into a routine may want to focus on our slower Flow State series before starting with the rest of our content. And we also offer restorative and meditation classes for a totally holistic approach. Lead Trainer & Director of Programming Maeve McEwen explains that diversity can also help you avoid plateaus. “The body adapts to movement, so you want to give people new challenges. We want to help them keep moving and growing,” she explains. As Rachel puts it: “You know it’s not good for your gut to eat the same food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. You need variety. And when it comes to exercise, it’s the same.” We’ve also gone a step more with a category called Movement Therapy, created with guidance from members of our Clinical Advisory Board to help you work through sensitive areas like aching shoulders and ankles. We’ve also added Women’s Wellness content to help keep you moving with everything from syncing with your menstrual-cycle to pre- and post-natal workouts. “We’re serving women in ways no other fitness brand ever has,” insists Rachel. If all this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. We have series tailored to specific goals and needs to get you started. And we offer 1:1 consultations to every member to find you craft a more personalized plan. (You can schedule one here.) Your one and only workout—or not Because the original vision for Pvolve was to replace go-harder-more-more-more classes with one unique workout that could get you all the results you want, this led to some talk in the beginning about Pvolve being designed to be your only workout for best results. That’s not our philosophy today. Yes, Pvolve has been crafted with enough variety to be your sole fitness approach if you choose, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix it into your current routine. If you love doing yoga, want to keep up your HIIT habit, or have no intention of ever giving up your barre classes, no problem. In those cases, we encourage you to think of Pvolve as an amazing complement to your current go-tos. Antonietta insists, “Whatever you do that inspires you to move your body, that’s great. I would never tell somebody to give up something that they love doing if it was working for them!” And, in fact, Pvolve may even help you up your game in sports or other fitness classes. Explains Maeve, “If you’ve been spinning or running on a treadmill, you may be overusing certain muscles and underusing others. When you start exploring rotations and training in all planes of motion with Pvolve, you can open up a whole new level of possibilities for your body and improve performance.” Rachel’s take: “At the end of the day, there’s always room for a workout that strengthens and sculpts your body and makes you feel better than when you started.” Oh, and it’ll still give you the booty of your dream while doing it. Not a member yet? Start your free trial for access to our library of on-demand classes and start working out with us today.
Fuming after a fight with your sister or frustrated about being stuck in gridlock traffic? Guided meditation and other mindfulness practices can be a comforting handhold for when life gets stressful, hectic, or plain unpleasant. The exercises help you slow down, relax, and focus being present to help ease an overwhelmed or anxious mind—and you can do them whenever, wherever. Find out how mindfulness can benefit you and learn how to incorporate mindful meditation into your life. 15-Minute Guided Meditation What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is the practice of tuning into your senses and how you feel in the moment without labeling or judging those emotions and feelings. Simply put, it’s about being fully present. You may have already experienced moments of mindfulness—perhaps when out to dinner with friends, when you took the time to intentionally slow down and savor each bite of pasta, appreciating the buttered aroma and perfectly al dente texture. Or you may have felt it on a walk where you were able to let go of stress about an upcoming work deadline and instead focus on the now: the refreshing breeze against your skin, the soft squish of your sneakers against the pavement. Once you learn how to practice mindfulness, you’ll realize that the opportunities to put it into action are everywhere. And here’s why you’ll want to: The mind and body benefits of mindfulness include reduced anxiety, improved memory, sharpened attention, improved immunity, and even boosted cardiovascular health. If you’re new to mindfulness, meditations like the ones included this seven-part series (available to all our members) are a good place to start, and they pair perfectly with the rest of your Pvolve practice. Just like our functional movement-based Method strengthens the muscles used in everyday activities so that you can move more freely, research shows that mindfulness practices actually change the structure of the brain to help you feel less stressed and think more clearly. The Basics of Meditation One great way to practice mindfulness is with meditation. But calming your mind can be difficult at first. “Most of us spend our time keeping the mind busy, entertained, or distracted,” says mindfulness expert Jessica Li Phillips. “Meditation techniques help you become more curious about what your mind is actually doing as you settle down and get a little calmer and quieter.” There are multiple different ways to meditate. Find one that works for you with Pvolve’s seven-part Meditation & Mindfulness series or follow these steps to get started. Set a timer for how long you want to meditate. It could be two minutes or 20—any amount is beneficial. If you’re new to meditation, start with just a few minutes. Find a calm, quiet place. You could sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor or even lie down—whatever feels most comfortable to you. Close your eyes or lower your gaze to the ground in front of you and focus on your breath, following it as you inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders, don’t let that stop you. Instead, acknowledge the thought, then return your attention to your breath. “Meditation isn’t about completely quieting the mind or getting rid of thoughts, but instead of becoming aware of what our minds are actually doing,” says Phillips. Continue until your timer goes off. Then, gently open your eyes. That’s it—you meditated! How do you feel? What thoughts and emotions surfaced during your meditation, and were you able to help return your focus to your breathing? Don’t stress if this practice was difficult or if you couldn’t stop the loud chatter in your mind. Like with anything, meditation takes practice. And starting with guided sessions can be make the process easier! Body Scan Meditation in Mindfulness Practices You have days where you feel like the act of living itself just causes tension in the body, but, well, it’s kind of true. Your excitement, stress, or concentration could cause tightness between your brows, in your upper shoulders, or along your lower back, for example. Body scan meditation is a foundational meditative practice that allows you to identify any physical tension throughout your body. “It can be a wonderful tool for guiding your awareness to your body, noticing where tension is being held and softening it without trying to fix it,” says Phillips. “It invites you to have a gentler, kinder, moment-to-moment relationship with your body.” To try a body scan meditation, follow these steps: Lie on your back with eyes closed, legs extended, and arms at your sides. As you breathe in and out, bring your focus to each part of your body, starting from your toes and moving up toward your head. As you zero in on each body part, pay attention to the sensations—pain, warmth, tension, relaxation, etc. If you notice an unpleasant sensation, you can breathe into it. Imagine your breath helping to loosen and release that tightness. Keep in mind that you’re not trying to change or solve for these sensations but rather bring awareness to them. And when combined with the Pvolve Method, body scan meditation can help further sharpen your mind-body connection. Taking the time to regularly scan from head to toe can help you become more in tune with your body, allowing you to I.D. aches or injuries before they become problematic. What to Do When Your Mind Wanders During Meditation You’re mid-meditation when you find yourself thinking about what to cook for dinner or worrying about a medical bill. Totally normal (your mind doesn’t have an “off” switch, after all!). A wandering mind isn’t a sign that you’ve ruined your mindfulness session. “Don’t think of this as a hindrance to your meditation,” says Phillips, explaining that you can get yourself back on track with a method called mental noting. “When you notice that you have drifted into dreaming, thinking, or worrying, simply note, ‘ah, thinking’ and then guide your awareness back to the meditation with care and intention,” she says. The key is to label the distraction or disruptive thought without analyzing or judging it (or, ahem, yourself), and then—poof!—let it go. This will help prevent you from ruminating on the thought for too long. You can also use this same method if the sound of a honking car interrupts your meditation (you may think something like “hearing” or “loud”) or you’re distracted by the scratchy tag of your tee-shirt (think “feeling” or “itch”). Meditation Benefits Whether you opt for mindfulness meditation, body scan meditation, or another form of meditation, it’s a win for your body and mind. The benefits of meditation include: Better stress management Increased self-awareness Reduced negative emotions Lowered resting heart rate and blood pressure Improved quality of sleep An added advantage: Meditation could help you get more out of your Pvolve sessions. By nurturing your mind and body through meditation, you may find that you feel more present during your Pv olve workouts too. The result: A stronger, calmer, more focused you that’s ready to take on whatever the day throws your way. Not a member yet? Start your free trial for access to our library of on-demand classes and start working out with us today.
According to endometriosis.org, 1 in 10 women suffer from this disease during their reproductive years. That’s approximately 176 million people worldwide dealing with pain and, presumably, looking for a bit of relief in their everyday lives. Dr. Tewari, Pvolve’s Doctor of Gynecology and member of the Clinical Advisory Board, takes a holistic approach to gynecology that goes far beyond looking at a chart to understand what our bodies need. Here, she’s offering insight into the difficulties of endometriosis and all that it brings. Below, she explains more about endometriosis and how integrating Pvolve into your everyday wellness routine may help manage symptoms. What is endometriosis? Medically speaking, it’s the endometrium (the lining inside the uterus that sheds when you have a period) growing outside of the uterus. This out-of-place tissue will grow—in response to hormonal changes just as it does inside the uterus—after you menstruate, resulting in pain and discomfort. It also results in local inflammation, which leads to further discomfort. How does someone know they have endometriosis? Typically, painful periods are the most prominent symptom. Mild cramping and pain with periods are common. However, if you’re having to reach for medication during every period, then it’s worth getting checked out. Women with infertility issues, chronic pelvic pain, or irregular menstrual cycles are at increased risk for having endometriosis. If you’re having painful periods, especially when young, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have endometriosis. About 6-10% of the general population have endometriosis. However, among women dealing with infertility and chronic pelvic pain, the incidence for endometriosis is much higher—about 50% of these women have endometriosis. So, how can someone differentiate between painful periods and endometriosis? Painful periods will usually respond to treatment with pain meds like ibuprofen or Motrin. However, endometriosis pain often will require more pain meds and hormonal treatment. It’s not always easy to tell them apart. Typically, younger women suffer from endometriosis. It’s not usually picked up until late teens or 20s, or sometimes, 30s. When you start your period in early teens, your system is still regulating. It takes a few years for the hormonal system to become established, when the communication between the ovaries and the brain is normal in function, and this is reflected in a regular monthly period. How is endometriosis diagnosed? There aren’t any definitive tests available for endometriosis, but a clinical diagnosis can be made based on history. A definitive diagnosis can be done, however, through surgery. The surgery is called laparoscopy. A gynecologist looks inside your belly into the pelvis and takes a biopsy of tissue that looks like it could be endometriosis. But since surgery has its own risks, the first thing to do if you suspect you have endometriosis is a treatment trial with birth control pills. Your doctor will prescribe enough hormones so that it overrides your natural hormonal cycle, and this often will improve or alleviate symptoms. At this point, you may be given the presumptive diagnosis of endometriosis. However, if you don’t respond to hormonal treatment, then surgery is recommended for evaluation and diagnosis. Why is a well-rounded lifestyle important for someone endometriosis? Exercise is so important – more now than ever – because we just don’t move our bodies enough. Making exercise a priority is an investment in YOU. This is true for everyone, but those that actually have pain and discomfort will benefit even more from it. Exercise improves circulation, delivering nutrients to the tissues and cells, and removing the toxins by improving function of the organs. Movement is needed to mobilize the lymphatic system, which is our body’s own waste removal service. Poor lymph circulation results in inflammation. Endometriosis is an inflamed state. When you exercise, endorphins are released and help reduce inflammation. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. And in terms of nutrition, you have to think of your food intake as your interaction with the environment. There are many endocrine disruptors in the environment, and these things could be messing with your natural hormonal rhythm, even for those who aren’t dealing with endometriosis. It is ideal to be on an anti-inflammatory diet and one that promotes healthy hormone metabolism. I believe that if we replete our body with the nutrients needed, then it will be able to function properly. Thus, I offer to do gut and nutritional health evaluations for the women in my practice, so that we can replete the specific nutrients their body needs. Is exercise typically prescribed for those with endometriosis? Most patients, and probably some practitioners, don’t see movement as a means of managing symptoms. I definitely always prescribe movement—it is a natural way to decrease pain, inflammation, and improve function of the body. I believe hydration and exercise aid the body in being able to detoxify and remove the toxins. Exercise is not just to help get the weight off (which it does do), but it also helps with improving energy levels, sleeping better, stressing less, and strengthening the immune system. It has a positive impact on our whole body and mind. I tell everyone that comes to me for help, that it’s not the same prescription for everyone with a similar problem. There may be some patterns and things that I’ve found work for many women, but you’re still unique and we need to figure out what will work best for you and create a program that will meet your needs. How can Pvolve help manage endometriosis symptoms? Those with endometriosis especially need to think of their routine in a holistic way, and have movement, meals, and mindset work together as one. The Pvolve Method is designed with movements that works with your body, and includes a variety of classes to choose from based on what’s happening on any given day. Ultimately, we all need to be listening to our bodies. If we’re in pain, we shouldn’t overwork ourselves. If stretching seems like the only possibility, go with that. If you have energy to burn, that’s the time for a Cardio Burn class. It’s all about following what your body is telling you, and timing that with your cycle as much as possible. The goal is to be in total sync with your own menstrual cycle. Aside from the workout choices, I’m so drawn to Pvolve’s emphasis on body awareness. It’s not just about movement. It’s about being present in the moment and honing in on the right muscles to actually feel what’s happening in your body. The method demands this sort of focus and allows you to build the neuronal pathways we all need. When you’re in-tune with your body in this way, you’ll hear it whisper things to you—things that don’t feel right, aren’t working—and then you can do something about it. Endometriosis, like so many diseases, doesn’t just happen overnight. There is something happening beforehand that led to this. Now, you can choose to be present, work with your body, listen to those whispers, and work your way back to optimal health. MEET DR. TEWARI Dr. Suman Tewari is an obstetrician-gynecologist in Ann Arbor, MI. She has over 20 years of experience in the medical field and has done additional functional medicine training. Dr. Tewari specializes in helping women with gynecologic issues and restoring optimal wellness by addressing nutritional imbalances.
While there might not be a single workout or yoga pose that can magically increase your fertility, incorporating regular exercise into your week can absolutely help get your reproductive system on track, relieve stress, and prepare your body for starting a family (one day). Whether you're “trying” or currently “avoiding” you can take care of your reproductive wellness to encourage a healthier version of you. Adding low-impact activity, like the workouts in the Pvolve Method can benefit your fertility, we even have a program designed for people going through the egg stimulation and retrieval process. 1. Working out reduces stress. While the jury is still out on whether or not stress directly impacts your reproductive system, there’s still the undeniable reality that when we are stressed, we fall into negative habits that could have an undesirable effect on our fertility (having those extra couple glasses of wine, overeating, under-eating or staying up late scrolling through your phone, for example, can all negatively impact fertility). Regular exercise is a great way to manage stress. As a bonus, group classes or working with a coach can encourage camaraderie, empowerment, and even a support system. 2. Activity can lower your BMI. Women who sit higher (or lower) on the BMI are more likely to have irregular periods. If your periods are irregular or less frequent to do being overweight, it means you aren’t ovulating on a consistent schedule. If you are higher on the Body Mass Index a simple way to get your system back on track is incorporating regular exercise throughout the week. 3. Movement adds some routine into your cycle. Exercise can be a useful tool for regulating your menstrual cycle. If you feel like you can never figure out when your period is going to pop up, you can use exercise 4-5 days a week to help regulate your menstrual cycle. Of course, you don’t want to over work out, which is why having at least a couple of days of rest is important. 4. Low impact activity can relieve period cramps. Oh yes, you read that right. While eating ice cream and binge-watching Netflix might seem like the only thing that’s going to save you when your uterus starts contracting, if you can get off the couch you will likely have better benefits. Getting in at least 30 minutes of low impact aerobic activity has actually shown to help relieve pelvic cramps. This is because working out releases beta-endorphins which act as a sort of morphine and relieves pain. One of the best parts is if you have a normal fitness routine it can prevent PMS cramps from ever showing up at all. 5. Increased blood flow to your uterus. If you have a desk job, it’s likely your seated position is cutting circulation to your pelvic area and reproductive organs. The cure is simply getting up to move on a regular basis with exercise. Working out your entire body gets the blood flowing throughout, including your reproductive system and it works to strengthen muscles surrounding your uterus. An added bonus is that when you get your whole body moving, you can actually increase your libido.
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