It’s kind of a strange time for me to start writing a yoga blog. I’m 38 weeks pregnant (that means about 2 weeks away from “the big day”) and I’ve officially been on mat leave for almost a week now. I won’ t be teaching again until mid-September (hopefully I’ll feel well enough to teach a few classes by then!), and my personal yoga practice is now more gentle and less frequent than ever. It’s been a busy time for me, preparing for the birth of our son. We’re having a home birth, so my midwives gave my hubby and I a long list of items needed to prepare for the birth. I’ve been keeping busy these last few weeks running around the city tracking down and purchasing all the items on the list to have our house ready for the big day. I’ve also been busy getting lots of stuff for the baby….. LOTS of stuff for the baby. I like to think that I’m a pretty low-maintenance individual, and I honestly had thoughts that all a baby really needs at first is diapers. Which is kinda true. But, he will also need clothes and then we needed some shelves to put those clothes in, and a change table to change diapers on, and receiving blankets, a car seat, etc…. there’s a lot stuff when you really start to think about it. Even if you’re not a frivolous person, you do need some basic things for your baby. Shocking, right? All this planning and purchasing takes a lot of time and lots of effort, and many times, a lot of research. Figuring out what kind of car seat to buy and then figuring out how to install it, the world of breast pumps, birth pools…. there’s a lot of new stuff to learn! So many new brands to choose from that I’ve never heard of before like Bugaboo and Peg Perego and Avent and Medela…… And then there are my weekly midwife appointments, my weekly chiropractic appointments to keep my pelvis in check, doula meetings and birth classes, and hey! I’m in full blown birth prep mode.
So, I haven’t been on my yoga mat very much lately to say the least. To be honest, yoga hasn’t been overly on my mind at all. But I will say that the effects of the practice have been evident, helping to keep me calm and centred during this busy period in my life. And though my asana practice (asana refers to the physical practice of yoga poses on the mat) has been gentle and maybe only as frequent as once a week at times, I still breathe. Often while I’m sitting on the subway I’ll bring my focus to my breath. I’ll take note of how I am breathing and how I feel, and then I’ll do a simple breathing exercise. I like to take counted breaths- inhale for 5 counts, exhale for 5 counts. I’ll do this for a few minutes. It calms me. It centres me. There’s a lot of stuff going on in my world right now. A lot of changes. Aside from the physical getting ready for the birth, there is a lot of emotional getting ready. I realize that I am in the midst of a hugely transformational experience. And it’s kind of exciting, and kind of scary. By taking a moment to check in and go inside and simply breathe, I am taking time to find stillness, to let go of external stresses and thoughts, and find union with my inner self. Yoga by definition means to yoke- or union. So, though my physical practice has taken a bit of a backseat during this time in my life, the philosophy of yoga is still very much a part of my life, and very much a tool for helping me cope better with all the changes that I am going through. Even though I may struggle to get on my yoga mat and then struggle to move my legs around my belly when stepping into Warrior 1 from Downward Dog, it doesn’t make me less of a yogi or yoga teacher. It makes me more of a real person. It makes me more compassionate to myself and to others. It makes me focus in on my breath and find stillness and peace, even in the face of major change and transition.