by Toni Nagy
Being pregnant is a lot like being the host of a colossal parasite that not only feeds off your blood but is also the cause of various voracious discomforts. Oh right, it is also magical, amazing, and the best thing that could have happened to you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some unpleasant side effects. Of course there are women who have flawless gestation and ride their unicorns to a yurt made from the golden straw of leprechauns to have painless orgasmic birth with their fairy queen midwife, but if you aren’t that lucky then yoga is a wonderful way to help you deal.
Even though you intellectually know you are preggers and can maybe even feel the baby inside you, that doesn’t mean that you automatically feel connected to it. Especially if it is your first baby, it takes time to comprehend the profundity of it all and accept that soon you are going to be a parent. For me, the baby inside me was a stranger that had acquired the adorable habit of pressing its head up against my bladder and would occasionally poke at my spleen. I wanted to touch my belly with a serene face, feel one with the universe, and be able to not only guess the gender but also picture the face in my third eye, but it all seemed so foreign. It was hard to be the earth mother that I had thought I was when I was so full of fear of the unknown.
Like most people who practice yoga, the impact of the practice is beyond physical, so I turned to my mat to regain composure of the abyss of my anxieties. Once during morning meditation I thought of the four corners of space on the compass (north, south, east, west), and how yoga mimics this model reaching the mind, body, breath, and spirit. I know what you are thinking. “Hey, you are not supposed to be thinking while you mediate,” but you are not supposed to be talking back to me while reading – so, whatever. Yoga will help you find your peace while preggers if you focus on how everything you learn during your practice can be applied to what you are experiencing.
Mind: How often have you been sitting in “chair pose” and thought to yourself “if this teacher doesn’t let us straighten our legs in one breath I am going to shove this block up her mula bunda” – but then you take five more breaths because her perky buns tell you to? This conundrum of our minds trying to convince us that we can’t – even though our bodies know that we can – is one that we face in many poses throughout practice. The capacity to keep going is a quality you already possess and explore, so now apply it to how you approach the emotional fluxes and bodily distresses of your pregnancy.
Body: We are so willing to push ourselves into an uncomfortable bind so the person next to us knows that we can, so even though you are preggers, remember how strong you really are. Of course you want to take care of yourself and be cautious of your ever-changing body, but each asana is a time to connect to the energy of your baby. I would feel like every pose was supported by the aura of this little creature doing it with me and propping me up. In a way, I felt the fiercest I have ever been. Use the time while pregnant to strengthen your body and prepare for birth – an act which takes a surprising amount of endurance.
Breath: Breathing can be hard in the second and third trimester because your organs are squished together and your lung is lodged between your throat and collarbone. But connecting to your breath is what is going to get you through labor, and lucky for you yoginis your breath is something you are hyper aware of. Even if you are having a tired yoga practice, you could spend the entire time breathing and it will make a positive impact.
Spirit: It was during my yoga practice that I began to have moments of getting to know the baby growing within me. The routine of turning my attention inwards allowed my mind and heart to remember just how unique the experience of being the home for your unborn child is. Being on my mat helped me connect to the wonder of it all as I would stare at my tummy during shoulder stand and watch the baby readjust to the new upside down position. In each pose I could feel the baby move with me, amending to my flowing body, reminding me that we were part of the same team. We were in this pregnancy together, and the attention that yoga inspired me to give to my child gave me some of my happiest moments of pregnancy.
Toni Nagy writes for the blog tonibologna.com, an amazing blog about Toni Nagy and her baby. It was not easy for Toni to get the job writing for Toni, and rumor has it she slept her way to the top. Toni has written many text messages, and has been published by Huffington Post and Salon.com.
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