It's game time!
I've been waiting 40 weeks for this and all my pre-yoga work has (hopefully) helped!
Things began to ramp up in the wee hours of the morning. As I said last week, I knew my body was getting ready for this baby's arrival. By sunrise, I thought it best to inform all parties involved that it's time.
With everyone at my home and ready to head to the hospital, the labour begins to slow down...contractions come to a halt.
It took a lot for me to come to terms that labour doesn't go from zero to one hundred but it has bumps and turns throughout. I suppose it is kinda like a yoga practice as well. It's not the same every time you step on the mat.
Working with some natural labour inducing options, contractions began again and we were off to the hospital.
For those of you who haven't experienced labour, it can sometimes feel like an out of body experience. I have a distinct memory of being in the delivery room shower, light very dim, soothing music being played and the smell of peppermint. All a while trying to control my breath. It was like a yoga class minus the painful contractions!
I think my doula purposely set things up this way as she knew it was bringing me comfort during one of the most challenging physical feats of my life.
Being drug free, I felt every thing. The wild roller coaster of labour and delivery was upon me. By all accounts, everyone said I did a great job but all I could do in those moments was to listen (to my body and my team) and breathe!!!
Surely enough, one last push and instant relief. I had a new baby boy laying on my chest. Just like the feeling after an intense yoga session (probably a hot one!) but times ten more! I had done it!
Now the lifetime of work was to begin!
I would be remise if I didn't recant my experience of my late prenatal days and how aspects of yoga got me through. Heck - I've been referencing my pregnancy and how it affects my practice for weeks now!
This time around, I have many more signals that baby is coming!
Pre-labour was clearly happening and I have to deal with it!
Excitement - check.
Anticipation - check.
Fatigue - check.
My husband and I opted for a doula again this time around. In our consultation, the doula reinforced the importance to relax the body during a contraction. What better way to think about relaxation other than in corpse pose or savasana.
With each cramp and prepatory contraction this week, I worked on letting my body go limp and feel like a dead weight. Trying to recall the cues given during savasana helped emphasize my "practice".
I even threw in some balanced breathing in for good measure!
All in all, my previous yoga experience helps me cope with my pending and forth coming adventure!
How many yoga asanas that can be done in a chair?
In my early days of practice, I would probably scoff at using a chair, let alone any other prop, with the mentality that it isn't challenging enough. But over time, I've come to the conclusion that yoga can be many things, to many people, at different times.
Considering my aspiration is to teach yoga to the physically inactive and possibly chronic diseased, it only makes sense that a chair would be foundational to practice. And, taking it once step further, my ultimate aspiration would be to include yoga therapy in my practice as an exercise physiologist.
Whoa! More on that in the future...
A chair provided a great foundation for my practice this week. Having to modify asanas is the name of my game right now so let me explain what I experienced this week!
I'm the first to pronounce that I love spinal twists. Now, getting on the floor is not pretty these days so I was able to do a spinal twist from a standing position.
By placing my one foot on the base of the chair at a ninety degree angle. I placed my opposite hand on the bent knee and the other hand on the hip. By adding some torque, I rotated my spine away from the bent knee and viola, there was my twist! Now granted it was the same deep stretch I get when doing a reclining spinal twist on the floor (Supta Matsyendrasana), but it fit the bill.
The other two poses that were supported this week were downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and modified pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) stretch. Both allowed for well supported pose with the chair (downward facing dog my hands were on the front base of the chair and external hip rotator I simply sat in the chair and completed the pose).
So, consider, what yoga asanas would benefit you this week in a chair?
Over the years, I've be instructed to place my hands in certain ways during practice. The most notable is Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal, sometimes called Prayer Position) or namaste position. Yet, other, less popular, so to speak, hand yoga poses exist.
During this week's practice, I was reminded of another fairly common yoga hand pose. Placing the thumb and pointer/index finger together, the hands form what is similar to an a-OKAY sign except the two finger pads are pressing together (rather than the nail and thumb pad) and the palms are facing up.
It got me thinking more about what hand yoga is all about and thus, went searching for more...
Mudras, is actual term used for hand yoga. I've heard the term many times before but never connected it to the hand positions.
"Mudra (hand gesture) is a method of citta-bhavana, or cultivating a specific state of mind. There are dozens of mudras, and each represents a certain quality, such as compassion, courage, or wisdom. It is believed that, by practicing mudra, you awaken the seeds of these states within you."
The specific mudra I stated above is called Gyana Mudra and it is believed to be the psychic gesture of knowledge.
I find when I practice this position, I feel an opening or a rush of energy (or air flow) from my straight fingers up my forearms. Weird? Maybe. But more intriguing to me than any thing else.
According to one source, Gyan Mudra stimulates the root chakra and eases tension and depression. It also allows for expansion and knowledge whereby it calms and brings spiritual openness and ease in meditation.
Interestingly, the feeling I get with this mudra may just relate to the air element. Based on Ayurveda, this mudra boosts the air element and stimulates the brain, empowering the mind, nervous system and pituitary gland. Who knows if this is the case, but a logical explanation!
With so many mudras ( and not just with the hands), I have many to explore and many to research for future posts!
More and more interesting parts of yoga keep unfolding,
I recently wrote on my personal Facebook page, "Whoa, this is getting fo'real, yo!" about my pregnancy.
Being in week 36 of pregnancy, was a real shocker. Where did the time go?
This week I was on the hunt for all things yoga and pregnancy. And I stumbled upon, essentially, a free yoga session on YouTube thanks to Saragama - Temple Wellness.
In the first video, Tonia Clark discusses the the power of yoga during pregnancy. It is a beautiful video with excellent insight. I'd recommend it to any women looking to practice yoga during the prenatal months.
The second video, Lara Dutta, provides the practical session of prenatal asanas. In this 30 minute session, I felt that my yoga practice was perfectly met for the week. The poses were very well-suited for my third trimmest self.
As a future yoga teacher, I'm starting to think I might just want to work with prenatal mommas. Yoga is such a wonderful thing to do while pregnant both for moms-to-be as well as for the babies-to-come.
It is a blessing to provide peace and relaxation to the new human being growing inside of me,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.