Ali has encouraged me to get back into yoga since Sebastian was born. My last class was a little less than a week before he was born. Before doing the pre-natal class, I had done yoga for years, starting on Saipan Island, where I took classes and practiced every morning with the sun rising over the pacific ocean, crimson through the framed mango trees. I took classes in Bangkok, just down the street on Thonglor, regularly. I took classes in India, while traveling with Ali. I practiced with cards and books at home. And I looked forward to doing yoga when pregnant. Once a week in London I took a bus to my class and became friends with other pregnant women, all in varying stages. I practiced the golden thread breath and imagined it getting me through the throes of labor. I strengthened my muscles and my body. I connected with my baby. I took time to clear my mind and let the work week melt away from my body and mind. I trusted yoga would help me get through my labor.
I was wrong.
The golden thread breath did not calm me or make my labor pains any less. I did not feel like I had the stamina or strength I had gained from my weekly classes after bouncing on a ball for two days while my waters leaked from my body. I did not have the energy or clarity I had gained in yoga class while I became more exhausted with each trip to the hospital only to be sent home twice. Or nights without sleep as I labored for 30+ hours. Yoga was not with me in the room when I had to push but I couldn’t feel my lower body because of the epidural I was forced to get. The golden breath had long left me when my son was born without breath. In labor, yoga had failed me.
I didn’t realize this for months, possibly even years. Ali asked me why I didn’t want to do yoga anymore and I just thought I didn’t have the energy from lack of sleep. I made one excuse after the next until yoga day, I realized I believed that yoga had failed me and I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I didn’t.
I am not one who works out. I like to walk. I’d bike if I had one. I love being outside in nature. I attempt to garden. But I always loved yoga. And then for 3 years and 7 months, I didn’t.
Tonight I did yoga for the first time since I was pregnant with Sebastian. I just did a 30 minute pre-natal yoga DVD I purchased this summer at the resale shop, in preparation for hopefully getting pregnant in the year ahead. Each pose flowed through my body as though I could perform them in my sleep. I knew each one by name and did them with ease. Memories from my pre-natal class in London came flooding back and during relaxation pose I just started crying. In yoga teachers often say that poses can open up your body and your emotions just flood forth, laughter and tears. Although I have always connected to poses with my breath I have no recollection of bursting into tears or laughter, until tonight. I remembered my big belly where Sebastian went through each pose with me. I remembered my teacher that I never called after his birth because what could I say? My baby was born not breathing. He was in hospital for 16 days. He has cerebral palsy from his traumatic birth. It was for these same reasons I felt I could not call the friends I had made in class either. So I just closed the door on that chapter and yoga altogether.
Until tonight. And next time, it will be easier. Less emotional. Because there will be a next time. Maybe even tomorrow.
Yoga. I’m back.