pregnant woman practicing yoga stretches at home on the floor

Remember all the craze surrounding Natalie Portman in Black Swan? How she was able to transform her body and move in ways that just seemed…well, unreal? Wouldn’t you love to hear from the responsible party – specifically the rockstar known as the woman who got Natalie Portman Black Swan-ready? Meet Mary Helen Bowers, professional ballerina and the author of Ballet Beautiful, a ballet-inspired fitness program.

Bowers is such a believer in her practice, she shares with ELLE.com how she’s stayed committed to ballet all the way through her pregnancy. Read on to see how dancing her way through pregnancy has made the experience extra special and how ballet-inspired workouts could benefit your pregnancy.

mary helen bowers ballet pose

I love sharing the beauty and athleticism of ballet with others through Ballet Beautiful. Ballet is an incredible art but it can be a bit elitist which is a really big turn off to me. Breaking down that barrier, meshing ballet with fitness and ultimately making it more accessible is one of my biggest goals. I also think there are a lot of women looking for an alternative to the boot-camp style approach to training the body. Personally, I don’t respond well to being yelled at and the last thing I want is to be shut up in a dark room overworking my quads or amping up my upper body.

Working out should be empowering! It should make you look and feel strong, elegant, healthy —the best possible version of you. The workout that you choose can have a tremendous effect on your self-confidence, too. Consider the impact of great posture, something that is a big part of our program and a dancer’s calling card. Beautiful, upright posture conveys confidence and strength. Whether you are walking down the street or sitting at a conference table, you make an impression without saying a word. You can’t build that hunched over a bike.

mary helen bowers ballet pose on ground

Want to read more on Ballet for moms to be? Click here to be taken to the original story from Elle.