Prenatal Yoga: Go with the Flow!
Published in BC Parent Summer 2002
Pregnancy is a challenging, fertile and creative time. A woman’s
body becomes a temple for the growing life within her. She is
living "yoga", completely united with the miracle of
life. In the midst of this metamorphosis, every moment is rich
with a gamut of emotions, from joy and furtive anticipation to
doubt and fear.
Prenatal Yoga provides the expectant mother with a warm and nurturing
environment where she can meet others like herself, become centered
and welcome the changes she is experiencing.
Yoga is a powerful practice. Breath and attention unite in a
flow of movement. As we begin to listen to the sound of our breath
and feel the earth beneath our feet, the usual barrage of mental
busyness dissolves. Letting go of the relentless need to be productive,
we allow ourselves to just be, experiencing life as it is. This
heightened state of awareness is like that of the baby within
the womb, constantly in motion yet fully at peace. Through the
practice of yoga, we touch this awareness. With practice, it can
begin to permeate every aspect of our lives, like sunlight filtering
into a room and illuminating the entire space.
Pregnancy is a divine yet intensely human experience, fertile
ground for both joy and pain.
To borrow from Charlotte Joko Beck's book, Nothing Special –
Living Zen, life is a hurricane. We can navigate through it like
a pilot, keeping our eyes fixed on the control panel in the cockpit,
avoiding the bumpy ride by flying towards the eye of the hurricane.
The paraglider, also in the hurricane, is without a control panel.
He experiences everything, greeting strong winds, warm rain and
the unknown with courage and self-awareness. As the paraglider,
life is a great ride; the less we resist, the more we learn and
enjoy the process. In the face of pain, we might find ourselves
freezing up in an attempt to stay in control, like the pilot glued
to his control panel. A better strategy, especially during a painful
experience like labour, is to exhale deeply and let go knowing
that it is fruitless to resist what is happening.
Prenatal yoga is a tool for learning how to let go and flow with
all the changes. Stretching, strengthening and relaxation techniques
in prenatal yoga prepare the body for birth. In practicing prenatal
yoga, we remind ourselves to take a deep breath…ahhhh. If
we are wise, we will remember to take that deep breath even in
the presence of pain, allowing ourselves to learn instead of running
away. Sometimes pain can be a legitimate warning, in which case
it is important to seek professional advice. However, some pain
is just part of giving birth to a new life, a teacher showing
us our inner strength - this is true surrender. Prenatal yoga
is a bridge to being fully present, no matter what is happening.
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