In my last post, I wrote about ways to explore wellness services at a discount. A few months ago, I purchased a LivingSocial voucher for $30 that gave me access to unlimited classes for 30 days at Dharma Yoga. I am now at the end of my 30 day pass, and committing to my yoga practice has allowed me to reflect on the role yoga has played in my life.
I started to practice yoga eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child. I was living in London at the time, and I found a fabulous community of women at The Life Centre who helped me feel physically and emotionally capable of transitioning to motherhood. As someone who has been active her whole life, yoga taught me to calm down, use my breath productively, and recognize how powerful feeling connected to my body– and my growing baby– could be.
I’ve continued to have an on-and-off yoga practice ever since. Over the years I have embraced the idea that yoga is about whole-being wellness rather than a workout. Once I stopped looking at how ‘inefficient’ yoga is as exercise, I started to enjoy it more. I’ve felt drawn to yoga as a component of my prenatal fitness because of the mind-breath-body connection on which it is based.
I knew that a 30-day yoga challenge would be good for me as I started the third trimester of pregnancy. As my running wound down, I needed a new component to my fitness plan. I decided that I would try to go to at least 10 classes in 30 days. This may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that each class is 90 minutes, and I have drive time each way, two hours a day three days a week is about all of the yoga my work/life balance could handle!
(I should note that Dharma Yoga does not offer prenatal yoga. While I wouldn’t recommend a pregnant woman who is new to yoga to go to Dharma, I found the teachers all very encouraging of my frequent modifications of poses and an overall welcoming atmosphere.)
There are two ideas that surfaced for me during the past month: one is that the individual, non-competitive nature of yoga, while antithetical to my dominant personality, suits me well during the introspective period of late pregnancy, and the second is that the weight and physiological changes of pregnancy force me to face the unwelcome truth that I can’t do everything I can normally do.
To the first point, I am reminded of the origins of my yoga practice: learning to breathe, learning to feel my baby’s movements within me, and learning to appreciate the blessing of being chosen to be a creative life force. Certainly these are ideas that are worth considering, appreciating, and feeling awash with awe at the significance of it all.
And the second lesson is one of humility. Being able to recognize my shortcomings and asking for help is not something that comes naturally. But community can be built only when others are allowed to take action, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of the excitement of new life?! I am trying to recognize that by asking for help I am including people in the miracle of the new life I am soon to meet, and everyone can use a little more positive, joyful interaction in life.
To the teachers at Dharma, I express my gratitude for creating a community where individuals are honored and encouraged to experience yoga in a way that is meaningful, both physically and emotionally.