Yoga & Pregnancy

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I finally announced on social media several weeks ago that we are expecting our first baby in late November. We are over the moon excited and impatiently counting down the days while slightly terrified in the way that all first time parents are when bombarded with horror stories of  labor and delivery, screaming banshee infants, and not sleeping for the rest of our lives.

Horror stories aside, I have to admit that I have been enjoying this pregnancy as a curious observer. Just as I encourage my students to simply observe their breathing or sensations during yoga without judgement or control, I have been trying to do the same with my ever changing pregnant body. I try to greet each day as a new adventure. In my experience, adventures are not always comfortable or easy. A year ago I was diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea and for a time did not even think I would be able to get pregnant naturally. After a long winter of learning how to eat, rest, and take back control of my long term health, we were blessed in the spring when this little bean started to grow in my womb. My emotions fluctuated between constantly worrying if I am gaining too much or not enough weight on a daily basis to being overjoyed when telling the good news to our families. My body has experienced wonder as the fluttering kick of baby has now turned into full fledged karate in my ribcage. My body has also experienced pain when my shifting bones caused an imbalance in my back and I could barely walk around the block for several weeks. I feel like this past year was a rollercoaster that I was tricked to getting on and now never want to get off.

To say the past 9 months pregnancy has been easy would be false. If the picture at the beginning of this blog is what you imagine my whole pregnancy to be, I apologize for misleading you.  Pregnancy is beautiful and magical while also physically challenging and mentally exhausting. I have had my fair share of discomfort, sleepless nights, trips to the physical therapist, long waits in the hospital to get tested and retested to confirm baby’s health, and many self-conscious moments in front of the mirror. Imagine: splayed across the floor, in my husband’s oversized shirt,  hair amok, exhausted and crying for no specific reason while Luna tries to lick my face which ultimately makes me cry more. That would be another accurate picture of pregnancy.

More often, I am lucky to say I have  moments of great joy and sheer amazement when I experience the changes my body is going through to accommodate this tiny human. I have learned to lean into the innate female wisdom of my body that was dormant during my early 20s when I got absorbed in the culture of “busy” and “never enough”. Now, I am learning to honor the needs of my body. It changes moment to moment and day to day, not unlike my yoga practice. Some days I like doing many sun salutations, warrior poses and moving with strength. Some days I embrace the earthiness of moon salutations, restorative poses and moving with sweetness. Other days I do not practice at all.  For a while I still ran, ever so slowly, but those days are becoming much fewer and far between. Instead, I take Luna for long walks absorbing the sun and changing seasons. I miss some poses, like cobra and sphinx but not others like deep twists or inversions. The most important thing I have learned in this pregnancy is to listen to my body and always keep moving, even if it is gentle. I know my body is up to something greater, something more important. All those deep, complicated poses and long distance races will still be there after baby is born.

All these little adjustments have added up to a great realignment in my body, mind and spirit as it journeys through pregnancy and ultimately to motherhood. David Whyte, in his poem “Santiago”, talks of the great El Camino pilgrimage across Spain but it also speaks to some of the pilgrimages of life.

“the sense of having walked from far inside yourself

out into the revelation, to have risked yourself

for something that seemed to stand both inside you

and far beyond you, that called you back

to the only road in the end you could follow, walking

as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice

that by night became a prayer for safe arrival,”

After the pilgrimage of  pregnancy, I will embark the adventure of motherhood but perhaps I have actually already begun. I do not know when or how or where I am exactly going. I pray, in my rags of love and compassion, that I will safely meet this little person when they are ready to arrive.

My schedule is updated here. I plan on teaching my weekly classes through November 16. I will then take some time off through the winter as I learn about things such as diaper blowouts, late night feedings, and how to put on those cool but complicated baby wearing wraps. That being said, things often do not go as planned especially during the final weeks of pregnancy. Stay tuned on my FB and IG, as I have some lovely yogis standing in the wings ready to cover my classes if something changes.

*Updated 11/13: As stated above, things change. I will be taking the rest of this week off as we await this little one’s arrival. I need to respect and honor my body during this homestretch, and am so grateful I was able to teach as long as I did!

Love and light,

Kristin (& Luna & Baby)

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