Due to some unexpected complications, I was told to halt my yoga practice during the third trimester of my pregnancy. I kicked and screamed like a two-year old. After a while I figured out why. Without my yoga practice I wasn’t sure exactly who I was and if I didn’t want my husband to strangle me I was going to have to make “Not Doing Yoga” my new practice. And so that’s what I did…but not always gracefully.
So you can bet that three weeks to the day after I gave birth I was putting on my most roomy yoga pants, rolling my mat out, and though bleary eyed from late night feedings, I was standing tall back at yoga class. What I was met with though was tough to take for this overachieving, goal-oriented yogi. My practice wasn’t the one I remembered–now it was wobbly, awkward and unfamiliar. Where did my former yummy practice go?
There is a surprising amount of curiosity, especially from fellow yogis, of what its like both physically and emotionally to discover your practice again after pregnancy and childbirth. I really do love the compliments for getting back to my practice so quickly but I wish I could express how odd and even uncomfortable the experience of moving in my current body feels.
I miss my abs. Not only the obvious things about it like how my pants fit but the way that I could move from one balance post to the next, anchored by my own deep stability. As I wobble like a stroller over cobblestones, I realize that first and foremost, I need to find my core again. It’s kind of the root of everything. Still wobbling along, I’m also aware of that other most popular weak spot post pregnancy: the pelvic floor. In yoga we call it Mulabanda. At the gynecologist they tell me to do my Kiegels to strengthen it. I’m aware that its just not “There” the way it once was.
I confess all of this makes me feel depressed. While I know the obvious truth is that I just had a baby, I miss my practice the way it was–smooth, strong, balanced and though not perfect, well, it just felt good.
But I’ve kept showing up. Why? Because I believe in the journey. And this my friends is probably the most important point I’d like to share: once I began showing up less self consciously, I began to tap into something just underneath the surface and I realized it was my intimate ability to celebrate my body. Even though it had lost some surface level strength, this body had accomplished an unbelievable amount. It had conceived, carried my son for 9 months, and had given birth! In reality, I can now move my body with more awareness and confidence! Maybe the yoga poses weren’t what they once were, but the things my body has accomplished allows me to move with something I might call maturity. This is no girl’s body folks; this is the flowing experience of a WOMAN. And its only when I drop the negativity that I actually feel it.