Yoga for the miserable days

Under the very capacious category titled, “Things they never tell you before you get pregnant,” one of the entries has to be:

Sleep deprivation begins before the child is born, not after.

This is the result of a spicy cocktail of anxiety dreams, a big, uncomfortable belly, acid reflux, and the need to urinate every twenty-six seconds (give or take two seconds). Now to make this even more fun, try going to the hospital for a nine-hour “prepared childbirth” class, and you will ask yourself the following:

Why did no one show me lengthy videos of women in labour, oh, about seven months ago?

Why did no one explain to me the mechanics of the human pelvis, and the two corkscrew turns a child has to make to exit through it, at some point during my education?

But the sordid reality is, no one did, and now you are tired, scared, and wondering how you will deal with a baby who screams all night when just having your sleep interrupted already makes you miserable.
I’m fine, really, how was your week?

Well, the glorious thing is that I did manage to sleep for most of the night last night, and eager to get back to some modicum of sanity and productivity, started the day off with Yoga Journal’s Yoga for your Pregnancy. I didn’t have much time nor much energy, so I decided just to stick to the 30-minute “energizing workout,” which as I previously wrote, was not particularly vigorous. But I wasn’t ambitious — I just wanted to stretch everything out a bit, to feel my body move in a pleasant way, and to prepare for a longer program tomorrow.

The result? Magic. Seriously. I love the pilates and dance-based workouts I’ve been doing lately — and look forward to reviewing more — but there really is something special about yoga. And there’s something really special about yoga that you’re doing for yourself, when you don’t really care about looking good or pushing past your limits or impressing anyone with how you can balance on your pinky.

I took it so slowly today, but really focused on the deep, deep breathing, and on making each stretch and movement count. My old yoga instructor would have been talking about “intention” — without really knowing it, I did have an intention for this simple little yoga practice, and that was to centre myself again. And it worked. When I got up, I was sure that my body was wonderful, I was having the easiest pregnancy any woman had ever had, I wasn’t afraid of labour, and that wiping another human being’s poop for the next few years would be absolutely hilarious.

I’ve read it a thousand times, I’ve heard it said just as often, but I still have to learn it myself: yoga is not about “getting ninety minutes” in or setting a record. But to me, it’s not about spiritual awakenings either. It’s just about allowing myself to take an effective, cheap happy pill with no side effects.

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