Pregnancy has reminded me of the power of yoga and meditation to heal your body. I have a new found appreciation for the practice as it has helped to medicate certain ailments that have occurred over the course of the last 9 months. As I enter into my 39th week, I am reminded of the strength we have within us. We are magnificent miracles of life and the power we have to create another human being is something I marvel at every day.
5 WAYS YOGA HAS TRANSFORMED MY PREGNANCY
I feel empowered to heal my body
Pregnancy can bring about a lot of growing pains and physical discomforts. Your body is adjusting and making room for another living being to grow deep within the womb. You are also producing a hormone called relaxin which helps to soften the tissues around the joints causing bendy bodies to feel rather unstable and stiff bodies to feel rather flexible. All of these changes can manifest in different ways but there are some common ailments that women tend to feel.
For example, early on in my pregnancy I felt a lot of tension around my tailbone. This was because the sacral plates were actually expanding to create room for my growing uterus. A simple action like Cat/Cow can help to ease tension and relieve pressure in this area. Towards the end of my pregnancy my lower back began to hurt from the extra weight I was carrying and I woke up one night with a terrible charlie horse in my calf. By practicing yoga everyday, I was able to stabilize my joints and stretch the muscles that were tensing due to dehydration or lack of sleep.
I was able to ease my anxiety
It’s no secret that pregnancy can be an emotional journey. With extra estrogen running through our system we are prone to mood swings and emotional waves of anxiety and depression. Meditation was a saving grace during my pregnancy, especially during those first few months when I was managing all of the changes that were taking place in my personal life. I would take 10, 15, sometimes 40 minutes to meditate and clear my mind of negative chatter. Self doubt and deprecating thoughts can tunnel you into a world of turmoil and sometimes they shout louder than the voices of love and reason. When we can calm our nerves and create space in the mind then we step into our power to transform our thoughts towards ones of empowerment and positivity. After a meditation session, I would feel engaged and energized not only in my mind but also in my body. We can carry a lot of mental stress that manifests in the body and the more we work to clear that mental stress, the more alive we feel throughout our pregnancy.
I developed a sense of community
I feel very fortunate to live in a city where yoga is abundant and there are studios everywhere you go. If you don’t live in a town that offers prenatal yoga, then I recommend joining a website such as YogaGlo.com where they have classes and forums for moms who want to practice yoga throughout their pregnancy. For me, I was able to attend a prenatal teacher training and weekly classes where I met a ton of other moms on the same path. It was a relief to know that I wasn’t alone and had someone to talk to if anything came up. Developing a strong network of women who were going through or who had been through the same journey was rather reassuring at various points during the pregnancy. We could compare notes on articles we read, things we were feeling, or products that we wanted to buy for our registries. I highly recommend seeking out a prenatal yoga class in your area or joining a forum online.
I learned all about birth!
In the yoga community a lot of people talk about having a natural birth. In the beginning, I was so overwhelmed that I told myself, “I’ll take the drugs and get the labor over with quickly”. But after some time doing research, I learned about the benefits of a drug free labor and how quickly the body can recover when we allow mother nature to do the work. Of course, modern medicine plays a very important role especially when you need a c-section or there are any complications during your labor. I have met many women who had blissful home and hospital births. I have met women who have had traumatic births. I have met women who had every intention of doing a home birth and had to get transferred to the hospital for some unexpected reason. Whatever happens, it’s important that you embrace your journey. Yoga has taught me to embrace the journey without fixating on a destination. When all we think about is pushing the baby out of us, we loose sight of the wonderful process of labor and how that act, in and of itself, can be an initiation ritual into motherhood. Every contraction, every breath, teaching you something about your resilience and perseverance through challenging moments that are sure to come during parenthood. The human body is fascinating. Our bodies are constantly working to give us what we need when we need it most, especially when giving birth.
It strengthened my relationship with my partner
I read a ton of articles about how pregnancy shifted the dynamic between two partners. For Miles and I, it made our relationship stronger. While we were fairly new to one another when we found out we were expecting we decided that it would be our priority to create a harmonious and loving environment for our baby. I know not everyone has this dynamic but if you can find the courage to communicate everything that is going on (fears, insecurities, anxiety, excitement, joy, etc) then you will be able to include one another in your own personal journeys. As men, they go through their own transformation into parenthood and because they are only witnessing us women go through the process, it is important that we communicate what is going on. When we open our hearts to love and honest communication, then we allow ourselves to be seen and understood. From a place of love, compassion and understanding then you have the potential to strengthen your bond and creating a loving home for your family.
Lastly, yoga and meditation have taught me about the importance of breath. The breath is so important during all stages of pregnancy. It brings you back to center and helps you to connect with your body. During pregnancy you are breathing for two bodies (such a miracle!). When you stay connected to your breath you stay in your center. When you are connected to your center you feel empowered to be the best version of you you can possibly be. I am so grateful for this journey and all it has taught me. I am even more grateful to have cultivated a strong yoga and meditation practice that proved to be so useful throughout the entire process.
Sending you so much love,