I’ve always worked out and turned to running and yoga for some sort of release. I love that euphoria that comes from physical exertion and I try not to be too type A about it (I’ve chilled out a lot). Loosing my core while I was pregnant was definitely a weird feeling. One of the coolest yoga moments I had was when my teacher told us to release our tummies, exhale and just be comfortable with a bit of softness in the belly- all day. That expectation to hold our tummies tight takes some conscious undoing. Carrying a baby makes it easy! There are so many different ideas of what a woman should do, physically, while pregnant and I subscribed to the belief that its OK to continue doing what you’ve always done. I wasn’t going to try anything new or get into powerlifting or cross fit. I did what I felt comfortable doing. It kind of felt nice to take a break and not put that pressure on myself.
I stopped my 45 minute daily runs at 6 months but I always walked throughout my pregnancy. Walking was the one constant. It felt really good and everywhere we traveled to, my scenery changed from the desert in New Mexico to the beaches of Maui and the crowded, humid streets of Houston, Texas. I didn’t bother with pre-natal yoga classes because I felt confident making my own modifications in my flow classes (and they’re kind of boring!). I just cooled it on the heated power classes. Whatever pose I found myself in, the line “make room for baby” was running through my mind. Downward dog was the strangest modification- my legs were super wide, feet on the wooden floor beyond the mat. I missed my backbends and twists but didn’t mind taking it easy. My bare, growing belly in class opened me up to a lot of new mamas too. I got some of the best birthing advice in those yoga classes.
Lorea is almost three months now and I’m feeling strong again. It really is amazing how your body changes form! I’m not quite ready to commit to a 90 minute class away from her but I’ve managed to squeeze in 30 minutes on the mat while she naps. Maya Yoga’s Nicki Doane has some awesome videos on the web. Hearing her voice brings me straight back to her insanely serene studio on Maui’s north shore. My first backbend was painful! I felt old and stiff. But flexibility has never come easy. I’m not back to running like I used to and I blame it on my boobs! Doubling up on sports bras doesn’t even take away the soreness. I know those will be gone someday soon, sadly.
My final belly shot the day after I gave birth. Tired eyes! Top illustration by Willa Gibbie.