A Pregnant Practice

New Beginnings 

The first day of 2017 has been rung in with a feeling of hope, gratitude and a strong sense of a clean slate.  I spent a large portion of this holiday season soaking in time with my children and doing a little, no did I say a little - I mean a LOT of nesting.

I am now officially well into the third trimester and the practice has started to take on yet another quality.  This entire journey of a pregnant practice has been a continuous lesson in letting go.  I have not written very much about the experience so far as I was not ready to give voice to the journey, this arc of growing a whole being - from the first, second and third trimester - however I now feel more ready to share some of my personal experience as I draw closer to the end of pregnancy and making space to gear the mind, body and spirit towards the preparation for birth. 

Since there's so much to share, this first post is a reflection of the steps I took to prepare for pregnancy. I will be outlining some of the practices and changes that I incorporated into my routine pre-pregnancy.  

Though I am not new to pregnancy and motherhood as I have two teenaged girls, I am new to the experience of trying to maintain a daily Ashtanga practice while expecting.  I was much younger when I conceived my first baby and was in a very different place in life.  Yoga was barely on my radar, nor was clean eating or wholesome living.  My mind, body and spirit were in a very different place back then, and while there are many times that I wish I knew back then what I know now, I am so grateful for my eldest daughter who really paved the way for this journey into motherhood. 

I consider it an immense gift and luxury to have been able to take the time to prepare and plan for this new addition to our family. I am incredibly grateful to both of my daughters and my husband who continue to be my main source of inspiration and support.

I love hearing from other moms - so if you're reading this and have your own stories to share, please feel free to drop a line or send me a note.  

Pre-pregnancy 

The conversation around a new baby really started a few years ago, around the time my partner and I were preparing to tie the knot.  We also spoke to my two, older children about a younger sibling, gauging their comfort level and readiness to be part of a growing family.  Two years ago - I myself was not ready, but my daughters were also not quite ready for a change.  

So we waited and revisited this conversation a few times over the years until at some point we all reached a time where we all felt ready to take the leap.  Before I decided to cease being on birth control I really began to work on cleansing both mind and body.  I stopped drinking alcohol and coffee, which for my specific constitution threw my mood way off balance.

Yoga Sadhana 

I also started practicing Ashtanga yoga three years ago which supported many of the small, subtle changes towards conception and pregnancy.  

Since I began to really connect to the discipline and rigor of an early morning daily practice, I was curious about how pregnancy would affect my routine.  So my first step was really to read Yoga Sadhana for Mothers which I was incredibly grateful to find.  It prepared me for changes to the physical aspects of the practice that I would encounter and also connected me to the many varied stories that the contributors shared of their own practice and births.

It provided a real perspective of non-attachment and letting go - however I must say that even though my mind logically understood this, I still had an incredibly difficult time adjusting in the first trimester... but more on this later.  

Nutrition

In support of the daily practice, I also made a commitment to eating more whole foods. I slowly began to incorporate the principles of Ayurvedic cooking in line with consuming fresh, seasonal foods, and taking care with specific food combinations that aggravate inflammation, accumulation of ama, bloating and gas in the body.  

About two months after I came off the pill I also planned and implemented a gentle, Ayurvedic kitchadi cleanse, under the guidance of my teacher - which complemented the process of shedding toxins and promoted my body's ability to acclimate back to its regular moon cycles.  

Viola - exactly 3 cycles later I found out that I was prego.  Funny - though with all of this prep, I was still incredibly shocked at how fast this happened.  I was also traveling a lot away from my husband during this time and had already registered to practice with Sharath in Mysore - so you can see that I really thought this baby making was not going to happen so quickly.  Some say that Ashtanga yoga can make you incredibly fertile, while others claim that it makes it more difficult to conceive. From my own personal experience, it was very much the former.  

Though it really was not just a vertical slope from point A to B.  In hindsight, it was really the subtle changes over the past two years that brought us closer to this new beginning.  

This brings the lesson home that little changes, over a long period of time will effect the biggest change.  It's like with anything - whether it is preparing for a new baby, training your dog (which we are now also doing to prepare for a new baby) to your daily practice - the slow and steady path will provide the greatest result. 

So don't rush into your intentions and resolutions in 2017.  Take your time. Revisit, reconnect, and reflect.  

From our family to yours - wishing you a very happy new year! 

With love,

Charina