When I first became pregnant, I was a little obsessed with “keeping my practice.” I wanted to practice how I always did, because I believed that changing my practice would mean that I would lose muscle tone, and I would never get it back (or I would have to work really hard later for it.) Sun Salutations mostly made me dizzy. The increased blood volume of pregnancy means that you get winded doing the simplest things. Forget Sun Salutations, I was having a hard time getting through a forward fold.
Then there was the morning sickness where my practice became more about letting myself rest and trying not to hate myself. Or actually just being the witness of how much I hated not being able to do the things I wanted to do, how much I was afraid of being a bad pregnant woman, a bad yoga teacher, or a “lazy person.”
All of those fears stemmed from the remnants of identifying with the body and its ability to perform. When our yoga practice is grounded in what we can do with our bodies and physicality, it leads to suffering when we inevitably discover that our body is not under our control. We age. We get injured. We give birth. We get sick. We eventually die.
There’s this very capitalist narrative that we all can be immune to this if we just buy the right products, eat the right foods, take the right supplement, and buy the right fitness classes. Yet none of us, have found the secret to getting their body to do exactly what they want. And we never will.
I’ve stopped trying to make my practice about being fit, or even maintaining fitness for after the baby is born. When your yoga practice is all about getting back to where you were, it simply cannot be an exploration or who and what you are. It just becomes more striving for fleeting moments or already dead moments; more suffering.
My asana practice has to be about celebrating the body I inhabit today. By doing movements that serve my body, mind, and temperament in this moment. Maybe if you are in a transition point in your life, (and guess what we all are) you can try to invite more ease and less control. Find joy in the simple things. Allow yourself to be moved rather than moving yourself so you can learn to allow.