My little one is almost six months old and I’m finally starting to get back to some yoga classes. Ah- I love yoga. And I have missed it much.
I taught yoga until around the sixth month of my pregnancy, when I was too tired in the evenings to continue. As my body changed, so did my yoga practice. Certain postures became impossible as my belly grew. My balance was greatly challenged as I began to stick out at odd angles. And my stamina and energy waned as my pregnancy progressed.
It became abundantly clear that the level of yoga practice I had worked so hard to achieve was going to suffer. We mothers put aside lots of things for our children. My yoga practice was no different, and I was happy to do it. My pregnancy was both a spiritual and physical journey and my priorities quickly shifted. I knew I had to be kind to my body and to allow it the rest it needed to produce a child.
My inner perfectionist struggled with letting go. But I obliged, and gave my body what it needed: nourishing food, gentle exercise, and, yes, lots of rest. Lots and lots of rest. Two older boys under the age of four, plus one on the way, make for a very tired momma.
When I gave in and quit teaching, I secretly feared I would never return to my mat. I feared my practice would not return to the level it once was. And I feared losing another small part of myself. But yoga had done so much more for me than I could have imagined. It had helped me to connect with my body in a way I never before had. It helped me to become in tune with my body. It taught me the importance of honoring my body, which translated to also honoring that of my unborn child. It taught me to respect my body and what it is capable of.
As my pregnancy progressed, I turned my focus inward, listening to the little things my body was telling me. Things I didn’t notice in previous pregnancies. As I focused inward, I also learned to trust my body with something new: birth. Trusting that my body would give birth on its own and with no intervention was a new concept for me. Being patient and letting it happen was a new concept. But you know what? My body didn’t disappoint. I went into labor, earlier than expected, and had a beautiful, uneventful and incredibly spiritual delivery of a healthy, seven pound baby boy at home, in water.
I never would have thought I would have done that. Never in a million years could I have guessed I would have a homebirth. With no pain meds. Relying on my God-created body to enter into a God-created and ordained process that women have been doing since the beginning of time.
It’s an amazing thing to trust your body. To say to it “we’re in this together, and I know you can do it.” Or at least, my inner dialogue goes something like that when I prepare for a headstand, flying through a vinyasa, or something else equally challenging (which for me, is a lot these days). And just as my body gives birth without command, I can trust it to return to the mat and remember what was otherwise forgotten in the physical realm. As I learn to trust my body, it rewards me by performing in the absence of fear, and for that, I am thankful.