Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weak Legs!

First, over 30,000 views on my blog!  Say what?!  I know that's probably not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but I'm still quite humbled.  Namaste intraweb strangers.  Thanks for taking a peek at my thoughts.


During the teacher training with Greg Nardi, I remember him saying that if you look at all of the really accomplished practitioners, you'll notice they all have really solid strong legs.  So much of the practice focuses on building a strong grounded foundation.  All the series start with the same standing poses. 

Let strength is one area where I am suddenly suffering as I try to work back to my pre-pregnancy practice.  I feel the weakness especially in parsarita padotanasana and in backbending.  There seem to be two things at play.  First, the hip flexers are super tight and stiff.  The joints still feel all out of wack which makes the legs feel like jelly.   Second, the legs are just weaker.  Mary Flinn pointed out the way my heels are flopping out in my chaturangas these days.  

After so many months of softening and opening, I need to work on pulling everything back to center.  Mula bandha needs to come back.  Sometimes, I see hints of it.  But I need to work towards consistency.

Speaking of consistency, that's one of my goals for the new year, working towards a consistent at least 4 day a week practice. I've carved out a little practice space at work to ensure that I get on my mat daily.

Hopefully, with a more consistent practice, the legs will return!

Friday, October 11, 2013

First Morning Practice

I realized that my post yesterday may have seemed a little wah wah.  That wasn't my intention.  I love my baby and love being a mom.  But I also love my yoga and am excited to get back to it and regain lost ground, no matter how long that takes.

My whiny little post from yesterday may have been cathartic for me, because this morning, I did it.  After I nursed my little girl, I got up, put on my yoga clothes (which I had been laying out every night for the past 3 weeks in the hopes of a morning practice) and lay V back down to sleep (she usually sleeps until about 9 after she wakes to eat). 

And...she slept.  Then she cried.  I put her back down and she slept. I did 5 sun A's. Then she cried. I picked her up and put her back asleep...then she woke up and cried, after 3 sun B's.  I was ready to throw in the towel, when I realized what was waking her back up...her little arms and legs were flailing around.  So, in a last ditch effort, I swaddled her.  It was magic.  I was able to practice the entire primary series.  Yes, I practiced faster than I normally would (I have a pretty long slow breath), which may have been good for me. 

Twists are still elusive.  I can barely get my fingertips on the floor in utita parsvokonasana.  My fingertips are now just barely grazing each other in marichyasana C.  D remains a long way off.  But I'm feeling a little more connection to my core.

Even if the practice is sloppy, I just love doing it. Taking the time to do this little thing for me makes me a better happier mommy.  The best reward is hugging my sleepy bean after savasana. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Today I really miss my practice

I haven't had an opportunity to practice this week.  It's just been a tough week with a visit to my parents that resulted in a baby meltdown. Now that that's under control, the husband is sick.  It's one of those weeks where I could use my practice more than ever but have been unable to find any time/space to do it.

I knew this would be the reality of parenthood. That's why I had the goal of unassisted pinchamayurasana before getting pregnant. But it doesn't mean it isn't tough.

If you happen to be a mom that practiced prior to pregnancy, when were you able to get back to a regular practice? How did you do it?  I'm especially curious to hear from moms that went back to work and didn't have the luxury of a nanny/early am daycare. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2 weeks/3 days no practice

The past 2.5 weeks since V's arrival have simply flown by.  These have been 2.5 weeks of getting to know my sweet little baby and healing from the process of birth.  Time doesn't seem to exist anymore.  It can take me up to 3 hours just to get out the door, and I'm loving every minute of it.

I am anxious to get back to my practice but know that I am not yet physically or emotionally ready.  I don't think that I'll take the full 3 months that are recommended, but I may wait as long as my 6 week check up.  It's been difficult considering that I was more committed to my practice than ever when I was pregnant.  I knew that I was doing something amazing for me and my baby, and that motivated me even through absurd modifications, fatigue and physical changes.  I also knew that with a baby in my life, it would be many years before I could practice with the same consistency and distraction free again.

Last week, I did attempt the three seated postures (baby steps!) and was astonished at how difficult it was to lift up into utpluthi...and I've already lost most of the baby weight.  Proof again that that pose is not about arm strength or's all in the bandhas.

Hopefully, I'll be more diligent in writing about my return to the practice than I was about writing about my prenatal practice!

Meantime, here's my teacher on coming back to the practice post-baby in the "4th trimester."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Welcome to the World - My Birth Story!

This is not really a yoga post.  Well, it might be, depending on how you look at it. But I thought that this blog was the most appropriate place to write down my birth story.  If you're not into reading birth stories with all the details, then you might not want to read this post.

Last Tuesday, the 13th, following my yoga practice, I went to my 40 weeks OB appointment (technically, 39 weeks 6 days).  My OB performed a cervix check.  I was disappointed to hear that I was only 1 "tight" centimeter dilated, even though everything that I had read said that that meant very little.  The thinking part of my brain said that if it meant little, why would the doctors insist on doing the check.  After telling me this news, my doctor began to outline what the next two weeks might look like.  She asked how anxious I was "to get the baby out."  I reiterated my desire to avoid induction if at all possible. She basically told me that if I was still pregnant at the next week's appointment an induction would have to be scheduled for the following week at the latest, if not sooner, if the baby's health was in question.

So, I with all of this "information" I went to my last day of work quite deflated.  Of course, I was prepared to do whatever needed to be done for the health of my baby, but I also had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted my birth experience to be like.  Induction was definitely not on the list of things I wanted. 

August 14 was my projected due date.  I decided to make the most of my first day of maternity leave and walked to the nail place, got a pedicure, and picked up some things at Whole Foods.  Around 2PM, I started to feel something like contractions.  I had been having Braxton Hicks for a few weeks, and suspected it was more of the same.  I went about tidying up the house and finishing some last minute errands.  When the husband came home, I told him that I thought that I was maybe having contractions, but not to get too excited, it was probably more practice.

Nonetheless, my own excitement was mounting, and I began timing the contractions. By bedtime, they were definitely regularly spaced and gradually getting closer together.  The excitement kept me awake long after my husband fell asleep, so I continued timing.  Around 2, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, so I suggested we go to the hospital.

At the hospital, they checked my cervix again, it was only dilated to 3 cm.  They suggested I walk the halls a bit to get things going.   For a while, my husband, my doula and I walked the halls.  We went back in.  I was still at 3 cm.  The doctor said that I would have to go home and would probably be back within the week.

I went back home tired and more deflated and went to bed.  Around 5AM, I got up to use the restroom and lost my mucus plug.  There was quite a lot of mucus and blood.  The next day, I felt exhausted. The "contractions" were continuing and I was feeling increasing pressure in my pelvis.  But I decided I wasn't timing contractions anymore.  It was just too disappointing and confusing.  So, I basically stayed in the bedroom all day and napped off and on. My husband was concerned about me and brought me some sherbert, but otherwise, I had no appetite.  I chalked it up to mild depression from the disappointment.

Around 5PM I began to wonder if the contractions might not be real and might not merit another look.  But I didn't want to get into rush hour traffic (this is really how my brain works) and decided to continue ignoring them. I took a shower and went back to napping.  But I couldn't really rest, the pressure in my pelvis was getting really intense.  I felt like I had to pee, but when I would go to the bathroom, I would only pee a little bit.  I was continuing to bleed quite a bit and thought that eventually, that in itself might merit some attention.  But, I went back to bed.

Finally, at about 8PM, I went back to the bathroom, and a huge gush of water came out.  My water had broken. Suddenly, the urgency of the situation became apparent to me.  I called for my husband to help me dress - until then, I hadn't realized how incapacitated I was from the contractions.  He helped me and then got our things out to the car.  We both started to wonder if the baby wouldn't be born in the car!

Thankfully, the hospital I delivered at is only about a 15 minute drive from our apartment.  My husband dropped me at the hospital door and I made my way to triage while he parked the car.  I'm not sure why I didn't wait for him.  I must have been quite the sight to anyone who was wondering the halls of the hospital.  I could barely get a few feet before I had to stop and lean against something and let the contraction pass.

As I was checking in, the husband joined me at triage. The attending physician checked me in and took my vitals.  Then she did a cervix check.  I was at "9-10" cm.  Holy cow!  They had to rush me into Labor and Delivery as I was clearly ready to begin pushing.  My doula joined us as we headed to L & D.  Because I was "low risk" and desired a natural unmedicated childbirth (NUCB) - not that I would've had a choice at that point!  - I was allowed to use the Birthing Suite, which was one of my wishes.

In the birthing suite, I was attended by a midwife and an MD intern as well as a nurse, in addition of course to my husband and doula.  The midwife asked if I felt like pushing when I was having contractions.  I told her that I was pushing, despite myself.  I was no longer in control of my body.  She said great and encouraged me to keep going.  I pushed for about an hour and a half on my hands and knees with a brief break at about an hour on my left side.  As each contraction hit me, I would breathe through it and count the breaths, reminding myself that none lasted more than 11 breaths (aha!  there's the yoga!).  I told myself to go with the contractions, that I was not in control, that the only way out was through, and allowed myself to moan and roar through each one. 

Finally, at 10:25 one push was directly followed by an involuntary second push.  To me, it felt like my little baby girl shot right out on that second push.  The midwife wiped her off and helped me onto my back.  She placed my beautiful baby on my belly.  My husband and I just marveled at her for the next half hour or so as the hospital staff cleaned me up.  We let the cord pulse before my husband cut it (which I couldn't believe he did!  We didn't have plans for him to do it, but when the midwife offered, he just went for it).

A week later, as I look back on this and write down my impressions, I'm still filled with such joy at the entire experience.  Shortly before my due date, my best friend said to me, "I hope that you're not one of those people who is going to say that it was a 'beautiful' experience."  I'm not.  It wasn't beautiful.  It was much more complex than that.  It was a powerful, awesome, awe-inspiring experience and definitely one of the most amazing things that I have ever accomplished in my life.

Here's our beautiful baby girl on her first day:

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Finish Line is in Sight!

I'm sitting here watching my giant belly roll back and forth.  My baby is big.  Who knows how big?  But I can tell that she's large.  I'm so excited to finally meet her in just about a month.  Hopefully, I've provided a good home for her these past months, despite my nearly all dairy diet (ice cream!  yoghurt! I can't help it!). 

With nothing to compare this experience to, I can only guess that the practice has been good for my pregnancy.  The only real physical complaint that I have is frequent to constant heartburn (the non-stop dairy helps, but not much). 

But now, I can definitely feel a shift as I get ready for the "big yoga."  My practice is slowing down.  I'm replacing a lot of the vinyasas with cat cows to the vinyasa count. 


Backbending still feels pretty fabulous.  I'm still doing my drop backs at the end of my "intermediate" practice.  I took this video, a little out of vanity, but also because I'd like to show my daughter one day what I did when I was pregnant with her. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Counting Down in Moon Days?

As a dedicated ashtangi, I keep a close eye on moon days.  For the past few weeks, I've been managing my regular 6 day a week practice and with the extra 25lbs, the moon days are much deserved and relished. 

When I looked at the moon day calendar, I decided to see how the moon days fell around my due date (August 14).  My ladies holidays have always been pretty reliably lunar, so I have reason to suspect (at least in fun) that my baby is more likely to come on a moon day than on the 14th.  In August, they are the 6th (new) and the 20th (full).

Then, I counted the moon days between now and the 6th.  There are only 3 left!  Only 4, when counting the 6th, until my due date.  That seems way shorter than 8 weeks (though obviously, it's the same amount of time).  That's very exciting stuff! 

Even with so little time, my practice remains strong.  I have finally eliminated kurmasana (not that I was doing anything resembling the real pose) from primary and cut off the final three poses.  Otherwise, my second series modifications remain the same. 

I'm not much of a videographer, but I'd like to video some of my practice for baby V.  It might be funny for her to see what her mom was up to during her pregnancy.  If I get around to it, I'll share with you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Juice It!

My juicer has been collecting dust since last summer.  I love it when I use it, but eventually, I get sick of cleaning it.

Last week, I bought a quart of super ripe local strawberries.  But we weren't able to eat them all before a handful started getting weird.  I hate wasting food. So the only logical thing to do was...juice 'em!

I poured the juiced into ice cube trays. The strawberry juice cubes added to mineral water make a delicious refreshing mocktail. 

Porge's may have had booze in it ;)  Just kidding. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sometimes Procrastination Pays

I have very few pregnancy symptoms to complain about.  Occasionally, I have heartburn.  Sometimes I get a little winded.  But otherwise, I usually feel great.  But there is one symptom that is worse than the others.  When I sleep, my hips and knees kill and keep me awake.  I feel like an old German shepherd.  Last night, maybe because of the rain, was one of the nights where I just could not get comfortable.

So, when I woke up this morning, I hardly felt like getting out of bed for practice.  Instead, I slept in until I had to go to work.

The payoff was tonight.  When I got home, I unrolled my mat for practice and lit some candles.  The rain was pounding outside with occasional claps of thunder.  My quiet peaceful candlelit practice with the sounds of a thunderstorm outside was totally worth it.  It was like a little reward for enduring a difficult sleep.

Nonetheless, I am going to invest in one of those preggie body pillows tomorrow! 

things are getting pretty heavy

OK. Things aren't, but I am.  That would be the number one biggest difference in my practice now at 30+ weeks.  For fun, strap 25lbs to your middle and do your practice.  See how it feels.

But in all honesty, I am otherwise enjoying my pregnancy overall. I think the practice has a lot to do with that.  Even though my intermediate series looks way different than it did prepregnancy, I generally feel good when I get on the mat and even better when I finish my practice.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

yoga on the road...and carpe diem!

This week I was in St. Louis for a conference.  As far as I could tell from a Google search, there is no Mysore in St. Louis.  So, I took my practice in my hotel room.  It is not easy to practice mere feet from a super comfy hotel bed.  Once you succeed at getting the mat on the floor, the distractions are still numerous. The TV looms above, your phone is on the night stand, the conference schedule is on the desk in front of you.  But then, I remind myself, that there is someone who lives in St. Louis, and loves this practice and might even be practicing "with" me.  She might do this daily with her own distractions of children or pets or laundry.  I try to keep her in mind to honor her practice and bask in the gratitude that I'm fortunate enough to have a beautiful serene shala to take daily practice in when I return home.


On an unrelated note, my flight was overbooked.  I volunteered for the flight voucher.  It means I'll get home tomorrow, but who cares?  I'll never understand why more people don't volunteer for these vouchers (not enough did today, and one woman was "involuntarily" removed from the flight).  Sure, if you have a gold fish or dog or wedding to get to, you need to take the flight. But otherwise, take the voucher!  Carpe diem!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

hello friends!

hello out there!  My apologies for the long absence.  I finally broke down and replaced my laptop.  Now I will be reunited with my blog.  I'll post something more substantial soon. But first, I need to catch up on reading all of the blogs that I've been missing out on.  See you soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Advanced Restorative - AKA Intermediate for Preggos

When I initially found out I was pregnant (yep, you read that right), my plan was to write a week by week practice update that I would publish once I hit the 12 week milestone and went "public."

Well, things didn't really happen that way.  First, I had some early complications (some spotting) which resolved themselves quickly, but which had me a little down and out of my practice for three weeks.  Second, my home computer kicked the bucket.  I could always use the husband's, but his is an Apple and I'm Apple-challenged.

So here's the condensed version, which you'll probably enjoy more than what I had planned anyway :)

Yes, I'm 15 weeks pregnant with a little girl (thanks to science and my status as "AMA", I got to do a new-fangled blood test which also tells the gender with 99.9% accuracy). 

My initial intention was to practice as usual, until I couldn't.  In retrospect, I'm not sure what that would even mean. But I'm learning quickly, that my intentions mean very little in this matter.  It's all up to sweet V (baby girl's nickname) to determine where my practice is on any given day.

Here are the major changes thus far:

  • As soon as I found out, I dropped mayurasana and also eliminated jump-backs.
  • Karandavasana dropped out at about the 6 week mark, pretty much when the spotting happened (it was minor, but it freaked me out)
  • Weeks 6-9 I took a hiatus from practice.  I wish I could say that I worked on my seated practice.  Instead I worked on my sleeping practice.
  • When I returned, I practiced primary for a couple of weeks.  Marichasana D has been eliminated; I twist open in C rather than toward the leg; wider legs in all forward folds and in samastithi; not crossing the body in trikonasana or parsvokonasana B; I also eliminated the finishing inversions.  I may experiment with adding them back in now that I'm over the "hump."  We'll see.
  • When I went back to Intermediate, I made major changes.  I'll have to take a picture for full effect, but I call it "Advanced Restorative."  Pasasana is done with wide legs; krunchasana I don't pull the leg all the way in, all of the belly backbends I do with two bolsters set so that my belly hangs in space; I twist open in the twists; a bolster is used for support in eka pada sirsasana B
  • In addition to all of this, weeks 12-15, I'm not doing any twisting at all. Angelique advised me to drop it during this period because the placenta is developing.  I'll add gentle twists back in next Wednesday.  
 There's a lot of great resources for pregnant ashtangis.  I'll try to compile some and share in my next post. 

Here's the beginnings of the bump at about 14 weeks 5 days.