My first child was born on 4/25/2017. I literally practiced hot yoga until I was having contractions and I resumed my practice 4 1/2 weeks post-partum.
As my pregnancy progressed I had to modify some postures simply because my belly was in the way and my hips were shifting. Practicing helped keep me energized and flexible and of course, sweating is so therapeutic for ridding the body of toxins. The awesome teachers at the Original Hot Yoga Center in Voorhees NJ are very knowledgable and supportive and they guided me throughout this time. The heat was never an issue and I never had to take breaks (surprisingly.) Here’s what I learned in that 9 months.
- Anyone can do yoga. This school has had yogis in wheelchairs and others with serious injuries practice and they were right in the same room with everyone else. You don’t have to be slim or flexible to practice yoga. The yoga builds strength and flexibility and can aid in weight management. There are forms of physical activity that are not safe to do while pregnant. I’m fortunate I did not have to miss a beat with my routine.
- Starting over after giving birth and the subsequent five weeks off was a priceless learning opportunity. I lost a lot of my strength and hence flexibility when I returned to the hot room. Certain postures just straight up hurt a little in the beginning. My practice is 5 1/2 years old. I’m happy that this re-establishment of my practice happened at a time when I could appreciate the gift of starting from scratch with the knowledge of the alignment and progressions of the postures and the wisdom to know I could not bounce back and to be okay with that. I was grateful for this and to be able to just sweat. I was also content with not being able to bust out cool looking postures. There was comfort in being surrounded by the yoga community that shared this phase in my life because they saw the stages my body and practice went through. I wonder if I was surrounded by strangers if I would secretly wish they knew I just had a baby and that’s why I can’t do Dandayamana Janushirasana like I used to.
- Yoga is more than physical postures. It’s a state of mind known as the present moment; The practice of not worrying about the future or ruminating on the past. Yoga is one’s ability to listen (in more ways than one.) You listen to the directions of your instructor, you listen to your body and you listen to the voice that tells you to try more when you feel you’re on the verge of a breakthrough. Yoga is a connection you make with others in and out of the room.
Thank you to Jessica, the teachers and students at The Original Hot Yoga Center in Voorhees NJ!