1. Hello Ana, please introduce yourself to the BJJ Mums community
Hello! I’m Ana Caria, I am 31 years old and I work as a web & media designer in a digital/advertising company. I’m just a girl who loves BJJ, Oriental Dance, Yoga and all the kinds of Art and I am completely addicted to Travel. I think that I have that gene that some articles talks about that is responsible for a high level of curiosity and adventure thirst – wanderlust (DRD4-7R). 🙂
Now I’m a pregnant girl 🙂 who is waiting for the time to give birth to a little man (yes, it’s a boy – Rodrigo!). It’s my first child and I am already in the 37th week and I’m still discovering how my routine and my body can adapt to this new condition.
2. How long have you been practicing BJJ?
I started in martial arts when I was just 15 years old. My high school made an open martial arts day and that was the first time that I has contact with “this world”.
I started with japanese ju-jitsu which is “a bit” different from brazilian jiu-jitsu. But my instructor is the same since that time till nowadays! My instructor started teaching japanese ju-jitsu and some years later, after training with Gracie family, gradually changed for BJJ and all the students gradually changed too and started to training BJJ. I’m a João Santos student, from Gracie Lisboa Academy, in Portugal.
And I can sincerely tell you that Jiu-Jitsu changed my life! If I didn’t get into BJJ all my life will be certainly different! I started to train when I was just a teenager and martial arts helped me to shape my character and to develop my personality. Above of that I had a big plus because I was lucky to know the man of my life on the mats – which is my instructor (João Santos) and to make a lot a friends! 🙂
3. And when and how did you discover dancing for you?
When I was a teenager a saw a soap opera about arabic culture in Morocco. And arabic culture obviously involves dance! 🙂 The main character was always dancing oriental dance (commonly know as bellydance) and the sound of the music and all the movements just fascinated me! Than I decided that someday I would learn to dance like that!
A while later I found a flyer on the street that was advertising “bellydance classes” just on the street behind my home! Perfect! That was my chance to try it! And since I started dancing I was never able to stop! Oriental Dance just captivated me!
4. Do you Dance for a living or it is just a hobby?
I dance for my own pleasure! Dance helps me to deal with different moments of my life because when I dance I just put all my body and my feelings on that and it works like a therapy for me! 🙂 Oriental Dance is a dance that improve the woman confidence and self estime. I usually say that there is no woman that when dancing oriental dance doesn’t feel better with herself and more beautiful (regardless of all stereotypes of beauty) because oriental dance has that power, the power to make you love yourself as you are, the power of being the best version of yourself.
I don’t dance for a living but I don’t like to describe it as a hobby because for me Oriental Dance is much more than a hobby! It’s a big passion that I have – like BJJ too! I do some works as a dancer but it’s an extra for me. It’s not my job. It’s just a way to get something back for all the investment that I made in learning (sometimes I travel for it), training, costumes (the oriental dance costumes are really expensive! Think in a BJJ gi and now multiply for 2 or 3!) and dance accessories.
5. I (Ana Yagües) went to dance salsa in a club when I was also around the 28th-31th well of pregnancy. Now You are at the 30th pregnancy week and I saw a wonderful video of you dancing at a contest. But the most amazing thing is that you are performing oriental dance, or belly dance, which implies lot of belly and hips movement. How do you feel about dancing during the pregnancy? What did the doctor say when you first comment it to him/her?
My doctor has an open mind – Thankfully!! 🙂
When I knew that I was pregnant I talked with her and asked if I could keep training BJJ, Dance and Yoga and she told me that if my body is used to do it there is no problem to keep doing it untill I feel comfortable with that. My pregnancy was very quiet from the beginning and there was never any reason that prevented me from doing physical exercise. When the medical condition is different and you really need to stop you have to stop, but that wasn’t my case so I continued make my life as usual.
I talked with some friends that are dancers and already have kids just to know their experience while pregnant dancers and I keep dancing till today! 🙂
6. I saw some of the movements of oriental dancing, they could really induce labor, don’t they?. Or am I wrong? How long more do you think you can dance?
Some movements, like strong shimmies (a vibration with hips/ body) and abdominal contractions are not advised during pregnancy not because they will induce labor but because some abdominal efforts are not recommended while pregnancy, not only in oriental dance but in sports in general. Because it can cause some compression in the uterus and decrease the blood flow that is passed to the baby.
Apart from this all movements from Oriental Dance are very good for the mother and for the baby. All the movements are very organic and used a lot of hip, pelvis and perineum control which is very important and useful in the moment of child labor. In addition to being a great prevention for some problems that may arise in the postpartum.
And with dance and music there are still all benefits of well being for the mother and also for the baby.
7. Do you dance every day?
Unfortunately no… I have my work, BJJ, yoga and I still need to have time for my family. So I dance when I can but not everyday. Sometimes I dance when I’m cooking, when I’m cleaning my house… I usually train/ dance more regularly when I have some goal like an event or a competition.
8. Are you still training bjj? If not, when did you stop?
I was training normally till the end of 1st three months of my pregnancy than in 2nd trimester I started to be a little more carefully with the training and with the partners that I choose to sparring. Then gradually my belly start to get bigger and I started to feel a little afraid to train BJJ because BJJ doesn’t depends only on me. We always have an opponent and not always is easy to control it. So in the final part of pregnancy I stopped BJJ. I only have done some light sparring with my husband just to move a little bit. I go to the academy and I just watch the techniques and help with the classes, I do some TRX and pilates ball exercises while I’m watching the training.
9. Did you see the video about dancing when labor begins to deal with the pain and to accelerate the process?
Are you planing to try it too or are you going for a more conventional birth?
I do not know this video! You have to share that with me! 😉
But I made a pre natal course and a lot of labor exercises that helps to deal with the contractions and with the expulsive period are just equal to some movements of oriental dance. So for sure I will use a lot of them in my birth labor! If I can dance with that even better! Mummy and baby happiness for sure! 🙂
10. Something else you want to share with us?
I just want to thank BJJ Mums for inviting me to do this interview and for being a page that helps to promote the female BJJ around the world. Initiatives like these are very important because they help to develop a new perspective of Jiu-Jitsu and to share with the world that BJJ are not only a masculine world and that every women can train jiu-jitsu! Every kind of women (mums, dancers, or anything else…) can do jiu-jitsu! There is not a stereotype person that train BJJ. BJJ is for everybody!
You can share Ana Maria artist work in her YouTube channel:
and on Instagram: