5 things I learnt as a pregnant yoga teacher

The synthesis of the first three years, work in progress

5 thingsI realised I was pregnant when I was demonstrating urdva danurasana (upward facing bow) in class. A pose I wouldn't teach someone who is pregnant. I had had two negative pregnancy tests but when I pushed up into that pose I knew. It wasn't a pain as such but an ache along the left side of my body which told me I shouldn't be in the pose, next day I took a test and it was positive.

That was three years ago, a lifetime has been lived since then, many lessons have been and continue to be learnt. However, right in this moment, this is what sticks out:

1. Trust my instinct
Everybody will give you an opinion. Everybody. And mainly I ignored them and carried on with what I felt was right. Infact, the only piece of advice I took was to ignore everybody and I only took that because several people gave it to me. Also, it's easy to say "follow your gut" but this is a practice. We are born with an instinct that tells us what we need, as anyone with a newborn will tell you. However, it gets lost along the years and we need to keep cultivating the still small voice within.

2. It's ok to slow down
We're used to doing and being able to do so much. Pregnancy and motherhood has a way of throwing a spanner into this in the most definite way. I remember speaking to a pregnant mum once after her 20 week scan who said "you know, I've just been carrying on as usual and this whole little person has grown inside me, it is real". And we do, we carry on as we always have done and our body is truly incredible in this respect. Yet, it also has the habit of getting bigger when there's a baby growing. This isn't just about a baby growing to term it's about the universe saying it's time to slow down both physically and emotionally.

3. It's ok that things are not like they were
Both when I was pregnant and those early months of motherhood and well, ok, almost every day since a part of me has grieved my previous life. Either loudly or quietly. The fact I can't practice as I could, that I can't make plans like I could, like I don't have the same work rate that I had. Every. Single Day. A part of me grieves. And then my daughter comes into the room, laughing and telling me about her day. Or she hugs her friend who she's known since before they were born. Or she waves me off from the window, unabashedly yelling "bye bye mama, mama go in car, teaching yoga". And it that moment I feel what I have lost but it is eclipsed by what I have gained.

4. It's ok to admit you're having a bad day
Because it's hard. And it's hard in a way that nobody can every explain to you in words. But is explained in the instant I see a brand new pram with a tiny baby inside and the look exchanged between the person pushing it and myself. Those are the days when you need your support network around you. For the person to take the baby

5. It's ok to ask for help
I am really bad at this. Really bad. As my husband will tell you. I tend to leave it right until the moment I'm about to explode, or beyond that point. So I'm very much working on this, all the time. This of course, being a yogini, means I practice. I ask for help, every day. Even just a small "could you pass the..." is enough to start to flex those muscles and reach out just a fraction to another person.

And that's the work: to dig in, synthesise, embody, repeat. To know that I'll mess up. Over and over again. But when I'm moving in the direction of love the mistakes matter less, they are part of the dance, part of the learning.

Posted in Pregnancy blog

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