Practicing Through Pregnancy

I am halfway through my second pregnancy and I feel at ease.  Practice makes progress, in ways that may not seem progressive, but rather seem regressive, especially when it comes to asana (postures), but as a practitioner, we learn so much in the ebb and flow of the practice.  We learn the art of non-resistance.

With my first pregnancy, I remember crying during and after asana classes because it was so difficult.  What were simple everyday postures, were now unstable and painful.  One in particular, Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I); I have a vivid memory of holding the posture and loosing balance, shaking, and feeling mortified I could not maintain ease.  The practice throughout was the art of letting go, non-resistance, but I fought it - I resisted.  I did not want to be unable to practice "foundation" postures with ease, I did not want to let go of the postures I was "good at".  Even following the pregnancy, postpartum, I struggled with this.  Postures that boosted my ego before the pregnancy, I could no longer do with as much fire and physical perfection.  Navasana (Boat), a longtime favorite posture of mine, had to be done with my knees bent.  Not to mention, this whole time, I did not meditate once (on my own) or create space in my daily life.  That was my biggest fault.  

I just realized I had suffered from postpartum depression for quite awhile.  The reason I did not even know, is because it wears a mask and does not manifest as what we think of as regular depression.  I had no simple pleasures and found happiness in nothing.  This instability of my mind and body bleed on for many months following giving birth, fortunately, things began to regulate as I began practicing Mysore style Ashtanga under the guidance of a well practiced and taught teacher.   This practice which started as dedication, transitioning into discipline, and slowly morphing into devotion, has been a savior.  It has bestowed upon me the tools to get out of the darkest time, and with work, has shown me happiness and ease in every scenario.  The light of joy shines.

Fast forward to the present, at 20 weeks, I am meeting my strength and endurance of that particular day and not asking it to be more, not comparing it to the past, and not wishing it was better - accepting it for what it is in its current state.  Having a solid meditation practice before the pregnancy has helped lay the strong foundation, and that is what was shook at the beginning of this pregnancy.  Before I knew I was carrying, my meditation practice took a big shift; I could not even meditate for 2 minutes without experiencing immense anxiety.  It was a real struggle, but upon finding out we were expecting another bebito, it all made sense.  I knew what to expect for asana and pranayama practice, so I had to give that same flexibility to my meditation practice.  I would set myself up for success in all forms of practice.  Knowing, in all practices, my strength and endurance would shift, I set myself up for success rather than failure.  I know I do not have the energy to do an asana practice for 2 hours, like I did before the pregnancy, so I only do 30 minutes every day.  Rather than letting anxiety prevent me from meditating, I met myself where I was, I started to meditate only for few minutes, then once that became my point of comfort, I would add another minute or two, now I am (more or less) back to the duration I was prior to pregnancy.

As I allow myself, based on the current day, to move from comfort into strength, life feels regulated.