01 May Yoga and Pregnancy
I’m 6 months pregnant! It’s been an easy pregnancy so far and I feel very lucky. So much of the experience is out of my control. Much of the ease has less to do with my behaviors and more to do with the mystery of hormones and the interaction of baby and my bodies.
Daily yoga in pregnancy
I think that my daily yoga practice has been influential in keeping me engaged and embodied with the serious changes taking place within me. I also credit my practice as key in ensuring I’ve had no lasting issues with body pain. I feel such a big difference some mornings when I wake up with a sore spine, only to practice my postures and wind up feeling physical comfort and stability throughout the day. Even as I waddle away from my mat, with wider hips and less spring in my step.
The yoga philosophy tells us that all things in Nature are always changing. In fact, the only constant is change. This is the reason why acceptance and non-attachment are key components of practice. Releasing our grip on certainty brings us mental peace and helps us flow with the ebbing tides of being.
I’ve never had such an experience of constant change as growing a baby. Even when it was just a small bunch of rapidly dividing cells, my body and life experience were already entirely different from before.
Forget the knowledge of massive pending life changes, I was more exhausted than I’d ever been for weeks upon weeks upon weeks. And then, when those cells metamorphosized into something with more density, form, and weight, my center of gravity shifted ever so slightly every day.
Rational self and felt self
The truth is, whether I’m pregnant or not, it was never the exact same body stepping onto my mat day to day. Something was always different. Constant change. But now, it was really obvious! Maybe it wasn’t so much that my body changes were more obvious, at least not at first. Maybe it was that what was causing my body changes was obvious, which helped my mind settle away from trying to figure everything out rationally and towards a deeper present observation of my sensations and state of being.
I moved away from asking questions like: Did I sleep wrong? Did that trip on my hike yesterday jam my hip? Is it my hip or my spine? With my mind settled on the knowledge that I was pregnant and that being enough explanation, I moved towards feeling. Noticing the changes in my relationship to the floor and gravity, the new lethargy in my body, and moving in ways that felt real-time supportive rather than long-term goal oriented.
The vibrance of practice
Interestingly, the typical SI joint pain at my low back shifted in a way I’ve been easing it towards for years. My widening hips made certain standing postures more accessible to me than ever before, and other poses uncomfortable and awkward. My habits, without any intention from me, were changing, are changing.
My body has begun a journey no longer entirely my own. My best practice is to pay attention and get aligned. Go with the flow, but not in a passive way. To actively join the current, using my skills and my yoga. My practice, always purposeful, has found a new vibrance. Embracing the change is enriching my yoga.
I hope that my pregnancy and yoga story inspires you to continue or begin meeting your body and breath on a daily basis. Checking in, even a few minutes counts, with the intention of standing within yourself, as yourself, just as you are here and now. No need to be any different; choosing to be more aware of yourself and embrace yourself, as is. What an act of self-acceptance and love this can be.