Yogis and yoga teachers, how has your pregnancy or a student's changed the way you practice or teach? What have been your challenges, realizations or blessings of prenatal practice? I sat down with inversion queen Ashley Albrand to find out how she’s embraced her changing body, soul and practice over the last nine months.
ER: You’re such an amazing yogi! What has pregnancy changed about your practice?
AA: It’s been a very yin time for me. I usually enjoy lots of inversions and bandhas and pranayamas that just didn't feel appropriate during this very lunar female cycle. Certain ligaments stretching above my pubic bone also prevented me from really enjoying any asana that wasn't gentle. I have loved the deeper dimensions of my meditation practice during this mind-blowing time. The knowledge that with each breath I am feeding my unborn baby the life force is mesmerizing. A gentle practice has kept my hips open, my legs from swelling, and my overall mood uplifted and peaceful. The hormones can be quite intense during different phases of the pregnancy; the yoga is noticeably balancing and calming. Connecting to spirit has really become the truth of my existence, without this practice I know it would be more difficult to remember the feeling of connection.
What have you learned about your practice and your favorite inversions during this time? Have you still been hanging out upside down more often than not?
I’ve learned that my strength is beyond what I thought - that I could probably be pregnant for 2 years and still be able to press to handstand. Yoga gives you a deep spiritual & physical strength that is almost super human. It’s pretty crazy that even though I’m not practicing the strong poses, at 37 weeks pregnant I can still press to handstand. Even though I'm not practicing it, it’s nice to know it doesn't go away. I’m so grateful to yoga. I love my body and who I have become after 11 years of dedicating my life to it. I was incorrect to think that if I only do a gentle practice during the pregnancy that I would have to work super hard to re-gain my strength. It hasn't gone away!
What poses are feeling really good to you right now?