How Yoga During Pregnancy Helps Me Stay Balanced
When I’m asked about the benefits of prenatal yoga, I of course can’t help but state the obvious: yoga keeps me strong, flexible, in my body, and it helps me relax. But as a second-time mom, I’ve realized that yoga has been responsible for me getting a balance back in my life that I had lost and didn’t know where to look for when I entered motherhood.
My daughter, Luciana, is 2. When I was pregnant with her, I practiced a lot. I had time to do that, as well as all the other things I did to take care of myself: meditate, take walks, see friends, take warm baths. I loved modifying my practice to serve my prenatal body — I felt strong and graceful in a new way, and as centered as I’ve ever felt.
After she was born, as is true with so many moms, my asana practice dropped away completely for a while, and when it came back it was because I let myself be content with shorter practices at odd times of day. That's one of the reasons I created the mommy nap series. I had to embrace imperfection, and that has been a theme of motherhood. Slowly but surely I started to make more time.
I'm now 25 weeks pregnant with our second child. I manage to get a full practice in on average two days a week. The other days it’s 20, 30, 40 minutes, but I’ve realized yoga’s been more than a steady companion; it’s actually brought me back to integrity with myself: teaching me how to take time for me that makes me a better mom, wife, artist, friend and person of this planet.
The willingness to do my yoga just for me led me back to my meditation cushion, another place I’d become a stranger to since birthing my child. At first I sat for three minutes, then five, eight, and now I sit most mornings for 30. It's a combination of meditation, prayer and sometimes writing and reading. Luciana wakes up, I say hi to her, then she and her dad cuddle in her room for 30 minutes while I take my time. It has changed the way my day begins.
In addition to the physical and energetic benefits, my yoga has given me the desire, the focus and the willingness to do more of the things that keep me in balance, like using the juicer again and blow drying my hair. My mat is often on the floor or leaning against a wall, so Luciana climbs on it a lot and does her half handstand and downward dogs. Whenever she moves her body into a new shape she says she's doing yoga. My husband jumps on it for a few minutes when he gets home from work.
Keeping my practice a regular part of my life makes it a regular part of my family's life too. It's not as clearly defined as in my first pregnancy, but very little is. It is, however, the keystone to a life in which I feel very whole. And I think I've been aiming for that the entire time.
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