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FITNESS: A Pregnant Pose

Cindy Lydon directs her yoga class to lunge forward - front knee bent, back leg straight - and then act as if they're pulling an arrow back from a bow. She calls this the Artemis warrior pose - and given that Artemis is the goddess of childbirth, it's a fitting position for the group of eight pregnant women.

"You can be strong and beautiful in your pregnancy," Lydon says in a soft voice, the women moving together, baby bumps rising beneath their knit shirts.

"A lot of women feel lonely and depressed about their bodies, and I want them to know that they can feel good and happy while pregnant," explains Lydon, who teaches prenatal yoga and Mommy and Baby Yoga at the Henderson Center and at the Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center of Excellence at St. Rose Dominican Hospital San Martin Campus. "The women are always happy they came and then they leave feeling so much better."

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Lydon feels better, too. The former dancer for Siegfried and Roy miscarried her first child. She found peace in yoga, and earned her certification for prenatal yoga in 2003. She got pregnant soon afterward, and today has a 6-year-old son, Patrick.

"I got into prenatal yoga because I wanted to reach out to other moms," she says. "This is a place where moms can meet up and compare feelings and ask about doctors. It's really a place of bonding." And it represents a rising trend in prenatal fitness.

Student Rachel Clarke, 30 weeks along in her first pregnancy, stopped doing yoga when she got pregnant. Lower back pain and sleeplessness led her to discover Lydon's class, which costs $20 for 10 sessions.

"It's a great price, it doesn't get better than that," she says. "And I've learned what I can do without squashing the baby." Info: 616-4900

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