Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Pregnant Yoga

I am now in the last month of my second pregnancy and thought I would take this opportunity to talk about my experience with practicing Yoga while pregnant. I practiced yoga in my first pregnancy, and in my second pregnancy and in both I gained roughly 60 pounds. By the end of these pregnancies, at times, I felt like foreigner in my own body. The general expectation is that you are not to admit these perceived short-comings of Maternal Goddessness. I am not the perfect Goddess, according the Modern New Age scripture, it seems, as I am fully admitting that I have felt funny, awkward, uncomfortable, frustrated, weird at times when I am pregnant. I also have felt wonderful, awe-struck, dewy-eyed and euphoric. There is an important part about the learning that happens when you practice asana while pregnant. You are forced to acknowledge that we are transformative beings. This opportunity does not come up too much in life. It challenges our over-dependency on the cult of body in the west. For some unknown reason, we are not really aware of our transformative nature in our regular day-to-day lives, despite all arrows pointing towards the target of truth; that nothing is permanent and nothing is fixed. We think we are static and we think we can control our state according to our own self-appointed rules. We act out of will and believe, blindly, that our will is a rule that the Universe acknowledges. It is not. So... when you practice Yoga asana while pregnant it is important to remember the following things;

You are not your body, and more than ever before, you do not own your body. As Maitriyogi said,
"Oh King, this body, which is like something you have borrowed for a short time and must return"

 Give in to the changes in your body; (don’t or...) Do asana that feels good; slow down, settle down, listen.

You are different than everyone else around you. Revel in this knowledge. Also, love yourself through your practice; know that you are strong. Let this knowledge seep from your pores as you flow through breath and movement or stillness. 

Even if you are simply lying in the quiet in savasana, enjoy the strength that pregnancy and, ultimately, raising a child delivers; it is not solely a physical tangible strength, much of this comes from a place beyond skin, bone and muscle.

Know that you will change again, but you won’t change back. Be happy and well with this knowledge.

Feel great love for yourself and the life inside you. Talk internally to this life force while you flow through breath, movement or stillness. In the end, this is YOUR journey; you and the life force within. Externalizing this journey and relying on others to guide you is something that has placed fear in the hearts of many a strong woman. You have got this.

Of course, there are other details that bare mentioning; like the do and don’t list of what to stretch and what not to stretch, of what poses are considered safe and which ones are to avoid... but, I believe these factors to be tertiary to the above. More on that here

I am sure I could say more about the experience of practicing while really very pregnant, but, sleep and rest are beckoning ;)