Yoga

Today is the first Monday since February (when I wasn’t sick or traveling) that I won’t be teaching a yoga class.

I was lucky enough to land a teaching gig right out of yoga teacher training that was consistent and well-attended, and I will dearly miss teaching those lovely ladies. Some of them were entirely new to yoga and needed great foundation poses; others were long-term yoginis and athletes who wanted a challenge to supplement their fitness; all of them are incredibly thoughtful women who joyfully embraced my pregnancy journey and helped me along (as many of them are moms themselves). There’s something really magical about teaching yoga to the same people on a weekly basis. You not only feel what your body needs, but you can anticipate what your students will need and build a class around them. You can walk into the room, see who’s there, and adjust your class on the spot because you already know who has plantar fasciitis and tight hips and achy shoulders. You unravel your own yoga practice and take pleasure in how relaxed they feel at the end of class. I’m so thankful to yoga for what it’s given me this pregnancy. The timing of certification couldn’t be better:

  • Sunday, January 19 – graduate from yoga teacher training
  • Monday, February 3 – return from honeymoon (also, turn 30 years old)
  • Monday, February 10 – start teaching yoga
  • Tuesday, February 24 – get pregnant

Teaching was really tough on me during the first trimester; I’d already lined up between 3-5 classes per week before I knew I was pregnant, so even though there were days when I felt beyond exhausted, I knew I had to push myself to get to class because people were waiting for me there. (As a student, I totally would have bailed and collapsed on the couch.) But as time went on and my energy started returning, I started to realize how influential yoga has been to me,┬ákeeping me healthy and limber throughout the pregnancy, and it paid off:

  • I felt the first “quickening” (baby flutters) at 13 weeks, which is super-early for a first time mom, but I’m more in-tune with my body’s rhythms than I’ve ever been
  • On a road trip at 26 weeks, I sat in the car for 3-5 hours at a time, but used different postures and adjustments in the car, and at most pit stops, I would perform some quick hip openers┬áto make sure I didn’t get too stiff or achy.
  • Almost all the weight I’ve gained has been in my belly; my yoga pants still fit in the butt (just have to roll down the waist) and my longer shirts still fit in the chest and shoulders. I’ve gained 25lbs, but people who know me say that they can barely tell a difference aside from the belly. Some people have even cursed me for still having a waist. I attribute this to the great shape I was in finishing up yoga teacher training, after all those weekends of pushing my body to the extreme.

I stopped teaching this week because I’m 35 weeks along. My range of motion is becoming limited–I can still touch my feet, but it’s not nearly as pleasant as it used to be. I can coach through inversions, but don’t want to demonstrate for fear of knocking my head-down baby into transverse limbo. Plus I’m really slowing down, and while I’m sure my students occasionally appreciate a hatha-style class with lots of emphasis on holding poses, they also want their heart rates elevated, and I don’t even have the energy to sequence a class like that, let alone teach it!

But I honestly can’t say how grateful I am to yoga for its role in this pregnancy. While i haven’t technically been a student in a prenatal class (which usually overlapped with my teaching times), I’ve definitely found the breath and movement to be invaluable in preparing my body for all these changes. Now here’s hoping that all the combined breathing & movement also has been preparing my body for childbirth! (Fingers crossed.)

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