INSIDE OUR NETWORK: MEET NIKITA MAXWELL OF THE PRENATAL YOGA CENTER

INSIDE OUR NETWORK: MEET NIKITA MAXWELL OF THE PRENATAL YOGA CENTER

Where are you from (born/ raised)?

Mehama, Oregon. It's a tiny timber town in the Cascade mountain range (population less than 300). 

 

What do you love most about being a New Yorker?

I love the vibrant diverse communities. I love that you can invent yourself and find your own unique niche--no matter how improbable or ridiculous it may seem.

 

What inspired you to become a prenatal and postnatal yoga instructor?

I had a moment shortly after completing my yoga teacher training in 2004 when I just knew this was the direction my teaching would take. I stood there looking at a flyer advertising a prenatal yoga teacher training and thought that was what I was supposed to do. It just felt right, authentic. I always thought that if there was a need for yoga and everything it teaches us--opening up and welcoming change, emotional, physical, and mental balance, the importance of nurturing oneself, and shifting perspective--it was absolutely during pregnancy, labor and motherhood. 

 

Has becoming a recent new mom changed your perspective on pre and post natal yoga?

It hasn't so much shifted my perspective as it has deepened my appreciation of it. I've really realized what a wonderful thing it is to have a space just for you to voice your concerns, fears, aches, pains, and to spend time with other people who are experiencing the same things as you, doing a practice that is tailored to you and where there is no need to modify poses or feel that your practice is "less" than those around you.

 

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Definitely my children. They have helped me realize and streamline my priorities, to live a more honest and authentic life. They have given me a wealth of information and experiences from which to teach and relate to my students with humor, compassion, curiosity and honesty. Most importantly, they have given me joy. Joy changes your perspective on life, work, and definitely fitness. We should enjoy our bodies. Fitness doesn't have to be punishing. 

 

What other types of workouts do you enjoy?

I love running. I think yoga is the best complement to running. And, if I had time, I’d love to go back to dance classes. 

 

Your workout gear of choice?

I don't buy workout gear. I have a sister-in-law who buys way too much Lululemon, and I wear her rejects. Otherwise, I wear old t-shirts and cut off shorts. I'm kind of anti-gear. I think it's a waste of money.

 

What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday?

A short run followed by a long yoga practice while my kids climb all over me. After that, I make pancakes. If it's nice we go hang at the playground or sit in our backyard while the kids play in their sandbox.

 

Your favorite thing about being a mom in NYC?

The community. My kids have the greatest friends and I love their parents. We also love taking advantage of the zoos, the aquarium, the beaches, and the Museum of Natural History. There are so many great places and things just a subway ride or short drive away.

 

Top tip for expecting moms?

If I have a fitness tip it's just to keep moving--not too fast, you have to listen to that internal rhythm during pregnancy that is telling you, begging you to slow down. Your blood volume increases 40-60% during pregnancy and good circulation is vital for the health of you and your baby, not to mention your sanity. 

 

More importantly, though, take all the advice and anecdotes with a grain of salt. Everyone has an opinion about pregnancy, labor and motherhood, and that's all they are--opinions. Listen to what your body and mind tell you is right for you. Begin listening to yourself and acknowledging your needs during pregnancy. You'll feel better and be healthier and that confidence will carry over into labor and mothering. Epidurals, c-section, natural birth, bottle feeding, breastfeeding, slings, strollers, vaccines, co-sleeping, or cry-it-out--so many choices and none of them matter as long as you are happy, doing your best, and can give your baby the time, love, and attention he or she needs.