So here I am reemerging from the newborn baby bubble at 6 weeks post- pardum where, I think, you can finally semi catch your breath. Recovery from the wild ride of labour and delivery is hopefully becoming a distant nightmare or dream, depending on your experience and your body is healing, at least on the surface. Personally, I am knee deep in sleep deprivation mode where it is natural to feel like you have left your brain on most days and where 2-3 hours of snooze time feels like you drifted off for just a moment. Since my mind has been mostly occupied with feeding, poop, devising inventive ways to settle a fussy infant, and incorporating a toddler into this all – It was sadly foreign albeit natural, to turn my attention inwards.
I took my first breath with a vinyasa level 2 yoga class yesterday and besides reliving moments of childbirth again in certain poses, it was incredibly humbling on the mat for this veteran teacher and student of yoga. I have been stretching periodically since giving birth to Theodora. Mostly a few sun salutations to shake out the legs from sitting and nursing, forward folds with arms following over head to reverse my caved in chest from hovering over baby day in and day out, breathwork to get through the initial pain of breast feeding and meditating any chance I get….or is that sleeping?
Since not practicing vinyasa flow at full capacity since late fall, a vinyasa level 2 class may have been a little bit ambitious but I arrogantly thought because I had taught vinyasa flow up to my 39th week of pregnancy, that I would just fall right back into my groove. Joke was on me! I head out to one of my teacher’s classes, looking for some extra TLC and support both physically and emotionally. To my dismay, he had subbed out his class that morning and so I had to pull it together if I was to proceed. I contemplated for one second to go home but then I thought no- I pumped for this class, daddy is home taking care of the baby- this is ME time. I looked at the bright side; this instructor doesn’t know that I am a yoga instructor too!
We started with some core warm ups which was like a slap in the face or could you say a full body check! When the instructor asked us to find our “core connection” I chuckled to myself and said, do you have a map? I felt a gap to my center, despite my ability to engage my abdominals superficially.
We continued to heat the body with sun salutations and by the time we flowed into the third round, I was certain of the exact spot where I had received an epidural for birth. My lower back felt as if Mayweather Berry had just knocked me out with a cheap shot to the back. This feeling persisted throughout most of the standing sequences. Each flow felt as if I had aged 10 years. By the time we moved to the few seated postures, I was a hundred and 40 years old. Although I received the ok to go back to exercising from my doctor last week, when we all moved into a wide leg forward fold standing series, I cursed my doctor for giving me the green light to practice because surely I would not feel my bottom in this way if I was all healed!
When we moved to lie on our stomachs for salabasana poses (variations of locusts poses) my chest felt like overfull water balloons about to burst. I quickly turned over and found my backbend fix from 2 bridge poses, the second one being with a block placed underneath my sacrum, at that time, I laid there allowing my very round manna(s) to roll where they may. I could smell savasana at that moment.
A short while ago a teacher asked me, what delights me in my practice. Delight in my practice is what feels real – what felt real on this morning was however rickety, painful, and discombobulating this practice was for me, I am in awe of the information that yoga feeds me; my state, what’s important to me, and reminds me to have more understanding for other’s on their journey. I also delighted in the fact that my sense of humour was not lost and my ego, though trying to make a full appearance was shelved for the most part. I modified every pose to adapt to the way my body and mind are today. I rested in child’s pose as a reminder that in caring and rearing children, pausing is essential in order to breathe wider and build your stamina. For me my mat is a piece of heaven on earth, even through the hurt and uncertainty of when I will feel like I am back to in my practice copiously and truly.
My mat and I will meet again this week and see what is to unfold.