After 15 years of practicing yoga and 6 of those years being a certified teacher, I was completely unprepared for what yoga and pregnancy had in store for me.
I have seen many women come through yoga classes practically up until birth, and without many complaints. They seem happy to continue their yoga practice with the minor adjustments needed for them, and I always encourage them to listen to their bodies and ask any questions if they are concerned.
What I have learned from my own experience of pregnancy and yoga is as a teacher you just never know what each individual woman is experiencing mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. Hormones and growth effect us all differently, and things that would normally seem easy become the challenge of a lifetime.
Pregnancy has stripped away the confidence I had in the body that I thought was strong and fit. The hormones that kicked in almost instantly made my pelvis soften so much in the first trimester that I could barely lay down on my back.
The core strength I had gained over my years of yoga seemed to melt away overnight, and while teaching I found myself stuck on my back unable to lift my small body up to a seated position. Not knowing I was pregnant this was a very terrifying experience!
Soon the exhaustion kicked in and the then the nausea and then the positive test result… and as life went on there was no real adjustment time to get used to these shocking changes in my body as I continued to teach and practice yoga.
I was surprised that instead of finding my usual yoga practice nurturing and helpful, I found it extremely uncomfortable. My already “gentle” philosophy became even more so.
The Second Trimester
By the time the second trimester rolled around I was sick of being sick. I spent most time in bed tired and emotional. At around week 16 the nausea suddenly lifted, and I regained some energy, which was hopeful.
Physically I had not gained any weight, but my body had changed and yoga was still not the comfort I would have liked (and expected) it to be. In fact, yoga brought up many emotional challenges such as anger and frustration at not being able to adjust to this pregnancy on any levels.
I felt constantly challenged at an already fragile time, and so the second trimester became about facing the negative emotional impacts of pregnancy and life. I felt frustrated by so many women who love being pregnant, and felt guilty at times for not being able to enjoy or appreciate my own pregnancy more.
By the time I was in my third trimester I was feeling much better about life’s challenges. I felt more hopeful and content, and my focus turned to getting organized for this new path as a wife and mother.
I gained the healthy and expected 25 pounds over these three months, and now at 37 weeks I feel awkward, uncomfortable and physically challenged by the extra weight. But I feel the healthiest and strongest I have in a very long time.
The purpose of writing this blog was to let women know that yoga and pregnancy are highly encouraged, but different for everyone!
You may take naturally and easily to your new pregnancy and adjusting body along with a daily yoga practice. Or you may not. Do not give up or let it bring you down if it is challenging. Listen to your body, and face any emotions that arise.
Do not be afraid to talk to your yoga teacher, and if you have not practiced yoga before it is recommended that you start in the second trimester. Always consult with your doctor before taking up any new exercise routine.
Stay tuned for the next blog: Yoga, Labour And The Fourth Trimester!