Several people have been asking me whether I’ve been practicing asana through my pregnancy. This is kind of a sensitive issue and I have been dithering on whether or not to post about it, because I don’t think there’s any one right answer here and I think all humans, regardless of their reproductive status, should follow their hearts and do what feels right.
However, I absolutely, 100%, credit Anusara Yoga specifically and its teachings with helping me through this process with relative comfort, power, stamina and ease. My understanding of the Universal Principles of Alignment have never been more essential to understanding how to heal and soothe my body as it undergoes this process and sustains the life of not one but two little larval humans. A huge part of this is due to the fact that I had a strong yoga practice for many years in advance, so again, I’m not saying just jump right in to these particular poses and forms…but if you want to start to practice yoga for prenatal purposes, even before you seal the deal so to speak, find an Anusara yoga teacher. Here’s why:
– Practices that depend on or begin with a very hard, short front body will either be a) uncomfortable b) painful or c) impossible. You’ve all been to school, you understand the birds and the bees, so if this baby’s gonna make a break for it there’s really only one legit direction for it to go, and if you wall that off you are fighting life. In fact, I don’t endorse that kind of approach for ANY body, much less a pregnant body, but it becomes more urgent in this situation. In addition, the tendency of a pregnant woman to externally rotate her hips and flatten her lumbar spine [a.k.a. “the waddle”, you’ve all seen it] will merely be exacerbated by unnecessarily tight and tense abs and butt.
– Resting is great, believe me; I’ve become a master at the 11-hour epic sleep, and since my 3rd trimester I’ve been breaking up active poses with restoratives [see below]. Hauling ass the way you used to is not respectful of your process and the amount of energy you need to build their little body, not to mention your own health and resources. However, poses that are *only* passive allow any tissues that are becoming overstretched or excessively pliant to continue getting stringy and disengaged, and won’t actually let the tense, hard spots release [because your body, quite cleverly, knows that in order to safely release those spaces something else will have to do that supportive work]. So, active poses whenever possible. My personal experience as well as the anecdata I’ve been gathering from other pregnant students and friends seems to indicate that yes, certain parts of your body turn to wobbly goo but others go hard as rocks and so [again, as with *all* humans] to try and treat any discomfort with a one-sided approach will not remedy the imbalance. Balanced action: sequential application of the principles. Okay. Continue reading