guest post by Missy DiDonato
Yoga has always been a source of connection for me. I feel connected to the earth when I practice in nature. I am better connected to my family, friends and strangers through the shared experience of group asana. Most of all, yoga connects me to my body and this has been never been more true or important now that I’m pregnant.
Pregnancy has brought dramatic changes to my body in a relatively short period of time. During the first trimester (1-3 months), I barely practiced yoga. My body was working over-time to grow my baby and prepare for the rest of pregnancy and I was physically exhausted. I honored this natural process and kept my practice really mellow. Some days all I did was legs up the wall!
The second trimester (3-6 months) I was able to get back to my regular practice with modifications. I kept my feet hip-distance apart for better balance and to allow space for baby to grow. I omitted any deep twists and began to use blocks under my hands in uttanasana (forward fold.) I began to get light-headed more easily, so I rarely came into a full fold and often used a block underneath my forehead in down dog which eased the sensation of blood rushing to my head.
Now into my third trimester (6-9 months), I’m using these modifications along with lying on my left side for savasana. I never thought this would be as comfortable or relaxing as traditional savasana but IT IS! The most unexpected and wonderful part has been discovering how comfortable pregnancy modifications are simply because they were designed for my new body.
I’ve discovered how much I enjoy having my little buddy with me wherever I go. She hears my voice when I teach and is soothed by my yoga playlists. More importantly, she is encircled by the peace, calm and focus from the class as a whole. I feel great in my body, but it’s no longer mine completely. This is a wonderful part of being pregnant, but it’s also taken some adjustment.
Practicing yoga a few times a week has kept me in shape physically and eased the aches and pains of stretching ligaments and muscles – but it has also sealed the bond between us. I’m not only practicing for myself, I’m practicing for her. We are two bodies contained within my own and I try to tune in to how my position feels to her. I move through asanas to strengthen and restore my body, but also to create space for her to be comfortable and to grow.
* Please consult your doctor before beginning yoga or any other exercise program. If you are pregnant and new to yoga, we recommend you attend dedicated Prenatal Yoga classes.
Missy began practicing yoga at home when she was fourteen, following along to a DVD in her living room. She has since completed two separate 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings with UCSD and Yoga One. Missy loves helping others find their own yogic path and students of all levels appreciate her warm and friendly teaching style.