LESSONS FROM A PREGNANT YOGI
My own practice is different, my teaching has changed – and I can’t lift heavy things! These are just a few of the things I have adapted (so far) in my journey as a pregnant yoga teacher.
A Sneaky Insight into How I’ve Adapted My Yoga Practice, My Life – and My Business – During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an awesome and wild ride! Now that I’m well into my 2nd trimester (17 weeks today!) I am really enjoying every moment of this journey. It’s incredible to witness the visible shifts happening in my body, with my bump growing by the day. As a pregnant yoga teacher, I’m really proud of the changes I’ve made in my life and my business too. And these changes had to be made fast.
See, my first trimester wasn’t such an enjoyable time. I had hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which I’m lucky to have managed relatively easily this time round with medication. I mean, it wasn’t exactly a breeze – I still tore my oesophagus from throwing up so hard (vomiting blood was an experience I hope to never repeat!!), and ended up on IV fluids in hospital due to severe dehydration, but most of the time my sickness was under control which I am so grateful for!
My physical (asana) yoga practice vanished pretty quickly, because for 8 weeks I was basically either bedbound and/or severely nauseous. I quickly went from living a very active lifestyle to celebrating if I got over 3000 steps a day. It was hard seeing my physical capabilities disappear seemingly overnight (see my recent IG post for more), but I soon learned to surrender and lean into rest.
My Biggest Lessons As A Pregnant Yoga Teacher (So Far)
1.Ask for help. Whether it was relying on Mike to clean up my sick bowl multiple times a day (if that isn’t love I don’t know what is!) or growing my teaching and support team at TYT, I knew I needed all the support I could get. I acknowledged that I was no longer reliable, especially as I know women who’ve struggled with HG for their entire pregnancy. I therefore wasn’t afraid to get all the support systems I needed in place ASAP.
2. Surrender and rest. Sometime’s there’s nothing that you can physically do except surrender. I stopped fighting against my need to rest, and gave myself full permission to do less. Way less. I think I spent 70% of my first trimester in bed, and I made sure I had a ton of books by my side, good shows to watch (Men in Kilts!!) and all the beige food I could handle. Pregnancy is different for everyone, but I do know that a lot of folks struggle at least with tiredness in their first trimester.
3. Embrace the cycles – and set boundaries. For me, mornings and evenings were awful. They were when I was sickest and the most tired, and I just couldn’t focus! Therefore I got cover for all my private yoga clients who I regularly teach at these times (thank you for all the patience and understanding guys!!). I knew my energy and sickness levels were often nearly-normal in the afternoons, so I gave myself a little window at 2-4pm, just 3 times a week, to teach. My clients were also warned that I may need to cancel with just 1-2hrs notice if I was too sick to teach even in this window. My teaching schedule was tiny, but this boundary was so needed for the first trimester! Would my HG still have calmed down if I hadn’t rested as much as I had in the first trimester? I don’t know, but the downtime was absolutely required!
4. Modify your practice. I’d actually never done a pregnancy-specifc yoga teacher training, and I don’t teach pre/postnatal yoga. I’ve learned a lot through my own pregnancy about what is and is not allowed! Of course I’m avoiding the usual twists/prone/reclining poses. And – I’m also skipping inversions, arm balances and pretty much all strong poses as I try to minimise my diastasis recti. In fact, I’m not doing much asana (yoga poses) at all right now. I’m favouring meditation, breathwork and a ton of introspective work. My mind and body are thanking me for this, even if my hamstrings are sooo tight!
I’m so grateful for my wonderful partner, my friends and the wonderful TYT team for all their support thus far! Their help has allowed me to enjoy this crazy journey (HG aside) and feel excited for welcoming our baby into the world. It’s been a big reminder in non attachment and letting go. While I make plans, I’m also open for them changing and adapting as we go.