Personal, Pregnancy, Toronto, Travel, Yoga

When Yoga Failed Me

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.

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6 thoughts on “When Yoga Failed Me”

  1. I admire your strength.

    Strangely yoga works better for me than my therapist ever did. It taught me to be mindful, progressive relaxation techniques and about staying in the moment so it really helped me through dark times.

    Hope you can enjoy it again x

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  2. I am glad you are getting back to it and taking care of Seb’s and the new little one’s mom. You have to find what works for you.

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