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A Pregnant Pause

Yoga expertise helped a prenatal client connect with her body and her baby.

Natiya Guin and Desi Bartlett

Client: Natiya Guin, ND

Personal Trainer: Desi Bartlett, MS

Location: Marina del Rey, California

It was during her prenatal yoga class that yoga and fitness instructor Desi Bartlett, MS, CPT, E-RYT, met Natiya Guin, then pregnant with her first child. Their post-class conversations turned into a strong friendship, and a few years later, Natiya trusted Bartlett with guiding her training through her second pregnancy.

Though Natiya lived a healthy lifestyle, Bartlett’s inspirational teachings offered her a break from her busy life and a chance to be fully attentive to her body’s (and baby’s) needs.

Pregnant With Presence

Their work together was multifaceted: It helped Natiya bond with her baby, stay grounded in her body, strengthen her muscles—especially her core—and ease recovery.

Bartlett used a program that integrated yoga and traditional fitness moves. Warmups included floor and quadruped work with modified sun salutations, while exercise sessions incorporated squats, lunges and pliés.

“Our goal was to focus on the inner unit (diaphragm, transverse abdominals, multifidi and pelvic floor) and to keep those muscles strong for carrying the pregnancy and for an easier recovery,” says Bartlett.

A mother herself, Bartlett understood the care needed during Natiya’s exercise. It was through her own experience with prenatal yoga 13 years ago that she developed a passion for the exercise form. “I couldn’t find a class that was the right fit during my pregnancy,” says Bartlett. “I applied my own knowledge and became a student again so that I could keep women safe and empowered.”

Bartlett brought this motivation to her work with Natiya, always reminding her to listen to her body’s cues and stopping when she needed to.

Distance and Distractions

Though their attentive work together made for a fairly smooth journey, there were challenges along the way: With Natiya living in San Diego and Bartlett in Marina del Rey—roughly 130 miles apart—training in person was rare.

This logistical challenge was further complicated by Natiya’s busy schedule as she juggled motherhood, professional photography work and school for naturopathic medicine.

In fact, the irony of Natiya’s name meaning “everything all of the time” didn’t escape Bartlett, underscoring the need for her client to practice presence. “[Her name] truly is who she is,” Bartlett laughs. “She wears so many hats, and each requires that she is fully present and feeling great in her body.”

Despite the geographic divide, Bartlett always found ways to connect with Natiya—either by phone or video—to help her master movement and presence during each session.

See also: From Baby Bump to Muscle Pump

Nurturing Growth

Natiya Guin and Desi Bartlett

Natiya’s dynamic work with Bartlett made for a healthy pregnancy and recovery—a testament to the power of prenatal yoga and exercise.

Now a mother of three and officially a doctor of naturopathic medicine, Natiya continues to lead a present, fulfilling life that incorporates the soothing movements of yoga. She is still close friends with Bartlett and has even worked with her on fitness projects, including photography and modeling for Bartlett’s book, Your Strong, Sexy Pregnancy: A Yoga and Fitness Plan (Human Kinetics 2019).

As for Bartlett, she continues her dedicated work in prenatal yoga and fitness. She looks back fondly at her training with Natiya, which gifted her the opportunity to provide meaningful help during a pivotal moment in her friend’s life. “She was working hard to build the dream of her life,” says Bartlett. “If I could help support that physically, emotionally and mentally, that is something that I do not take for granted.”

See also: The Fourth Trimester: Postpartum Exercise

What’s Your Story?

Do you have a client who has overcome the odds to achieve new heights in health and fitness? Send your story to [email protected], and you and your client may be featured in an upcoming issue of Fitness Journal.


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Sarah Kolvas

Sarah Kolvas is the associate editor for Fitness Journal.

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