Yogi lessons learned: Pregnancy and Beyond

As our bodies prepare for birth, our minds must as well. Yoga is equipped to help with the preparation of both. But what happens when our yoga practice seems to have failed us?

Hello again! It’s been a while.

Since my last post, I experienced a somewhat challenging third trimester and experienced and even more challenging birth and fourth trimester (the first 3 months after birth). I kept up with my yoga practice for the most part as my 8th month approached, but I gave in to the tiredness and gave up on my practice (at least the asana portion) toward the end. I’d like to share with you what I did “right” and what I might have done differently. But, most of all, I’d like to share with you my journey towards acceptance (in theory at least!).

Reflecting back on my last post, I reached most of my 2018 goals! I continued my yoga education–finishing my prenatal yoga teaching certification & completing a yoga adjustments workshop. I became a mommy (a precious, yet relentless job). Chris and I had a beautiful ranch wedding with our close friends and family. So many goals! So many great things accomplished and LIVED.

I am BEYOND grateful for all of these things. I, however, also had my most difficult year yet. Our whole little family has. And somewhere between the swelling, the immobility, the operations (I’ll share some other time!), the sickness, the recovery, and the mothering… I forgot to practice self-care and love. I forgot to practice yoga.

You may be fooled by the photo (which was taken in my second trimester despite looking otherwise!) and think “it looks like you kept your yoga practice up!” Well, you’d be wrong in part. Chris and I finished out our Birthing from Within class, in which we practiced breathing, meditation, and some mild prenatal yoga.  But outside of that, there was a lot of sitting. Sitting and feeling immobile, incapable, and TIRED. I stopped going to prenatal yoga classes because I had no easy way of getting there. My hands were so swollen I couldn’t even close them…so I stopped driving! But, how do you minimize swelling? You MOVE! (and drink water) So there’s a lesson!

Another lesson, try not to be so focused on your positive affirmations that you aren’t prepared for the possible outcomes that are not so positive. I had little idea what were my realistic options in the natural birth room, labor & delivery, and the operation table (YES I experienced all three!). So be informed. Do your research, and then on top of all that, keep to your positive affirmations.

Up to this point, I’ve shared some lessons I learned, but I haven’t gotten to my biggest lesson yet. Yoga and faith. Spirituality. Somehow they are all intermixed. And, all important. After everything I went through (which I will explain in a separate post), I gave up hope. I gave up on my practice. I was almost angry at yoga. I avoided it. If it were a person, I’d walk by without looking it in the eye. I couldn’t believe it had let me down when I needed it the most. Saying labor and birth did not go the way I wanted it to would be an understatement (Hint: I can say “I almost died” without a hint of added drama). So, I avoided yoga.

Yes, my practice–like all practices– has its normal phases. Our yoga practices can be cyclical because our lives are ever-changing. We have different needs and wants at different stages in our lives. One thing I learned though, is when you don’t have the time, energy, or desire for yoga, that’s when you need to practice CONSISTENCY. And, FAITH. Sure, it won’t hurt to take a small break from your practice here and there. But, yoga heals.

Make some time for some meditation, some breathing exercises, some mindfulness, and some asana if you can manage. I can’t tell you how much I needed that healing energy during my fourth trimester! On top of all that, THE PRACTICE OF LETTING GO is key. Release the negative energy, release the trauma. Do not live in the past if you cannot change it. Take what you can learn from it and try to move on. That is the magic of yoga right there!

 

 

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