When I was pregnant with Silas, I taught up to six yoga classes a week, and had to drive nearly two hours round-trip to the studio where I taught most of these. I even taught a class the very morning my water broke! It was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. I also managed to attend only two or three Prenatal classes the entire time. I was determined, with this second pregnancy, to not put myself in a position when I had to give so much of my care and energy to others, and to make sure I got to receive the nourishment I need.
My teaching load this time around has been much, much lighter, and I taught my last class a couple of weeks ago, at 32 weeks. And while I have only made it to one Prenatal class in a studio, through the magic of the Internet, I have been able to have wonderful teachers hold space for me, keep my practice fresh and inspired, and provide me with that wisdom and nourishment that is so beneficial for me at this time.
I've been making my way back to the mat in a more committed way over the last few weeks. This pregnancy has been tricky for movement due to aggravated issues with my low back, hips and pelvis (not to mention an adorable but energy-sapping toddler to look after!) But about a month ago I got fitted for a maternity support belt that has literally changed my life. I'm still tight and achy but overall feel about 75% better. So I have been making yoga my top priority again, after months of shying away from the mat because my pelvis felt too unstable, and I am loving it.
Late last week I moved through a practice led by Stephanie Snyder on Yoga Glo, and was deeply struck by her simple but profound words. She offered, during the opening mediation, the following blessing:
Remember that you have everything that you need. You can do this. There is nothing to fear. You will be your strongest, most beautiful, most powerful, and your most graceful self when you give birth.
Her words resonated with me not because they carried a brand-new insight, but because they reminded me afresh of what I already know: that I hold within me all the resources necessary to grow, birth, and mother this baby with beauty, strength and grace. It calls to mind the affirmation with which I close my Prenatal yoga classes, and which I use myself to end my time on the mat:
I hold within me the strength and wisdom to birth in harmony with nature in the best possible way for me and my baby.
This is one of the reasons for which time on the mat is so crucial for me these days. By spending time moving and breathing mindfully, in fully inhabiting my body for those brief, dedicated moments, I remind myself of the strength, beauty and openness that I already possess. Slipping into Warrior 2 or Pigeon pose is not unlike opening the door to one's house and stepping inside: there is a recognition, a sense of belonging, in coming home.
I already have everything that I need. Just as I am, I am enough.
It is easy to forget, in the midst of the myriad small failures that make up an ordinary day as a mother, the truth about our best, shiniest selves. It is tempting to think that there are improvements to be made, ways to be better at what we do, at who we are.
But we are never not that shiny self. Sometimes the truth of who we are is obscured, the way the sun is sometimes covered with clouds, but a short flight up above the cloud line reminds us that the sun is always shining, even when it's dark and dreary below. In the same way, we need reminders--like time on the mat, or good books, or great friends--to remind us of what we know to be true.
There is no becoming, no there to get to. There is only remembering what already is.
:: The lovely flowers illustrating today's post were given to me at my blessingway this past weekend, by my doula and friend, who always reminds me of what I already know. ::