Joelle's Yoga

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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