Pregnancy · Yoga

Prenatal Yoga and Modified Bed Rest

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(My belly this morning at 23weeks (almost six months) complete with Lily Lotus sparkle)

These past few weeks have been a strange mix of all out busy (3 days of closing up work caseload) and moments of pure boredom (modified bed rest). After the bleed scare I seemed to just hunker down and try to be a “good” modified bed rest pregnant lady.

I haven’t gone back to the prenatal yoga class. Honestly- part of me is terrified. When all the health professionals are telling you to be CAREFUL CAREFUL CAREFUL it’s hard not to feel extreme anxiety over every little movement, chore, activity that I choose to do.

The other part of me misses yoga something awful. Part of it is vanity (I’m gaining weight and losing muscle mass- which was pointed out when a friend last weekend, after stating how “HUGE” I was, asked my size was normal… so frustrating when there is nothing I can do physically to manage my weight without putting the baby in harms way) and part of it is just how much yoga was a conduit for my own spiritual connection.

My few prenatal yoga classes that I did attend surprised me. I have always been a firm believer that pregnant ladies aren’t “sick” and should be able to do most yoga asana. I expected to get a regular yoga class with some modifications for the belly and safety. I looked into it myself for the (hope) that once the extreme nausea subsided I’d be able to revisit my daily home practice.

Imagine my surprise when the classes were very, well, easy. It was like being in an intro to yoga class all over again. I was disappointed. I wanted to work, I wanted to LEARN.

Then the teacher explained a reality I had never considered but that makes total sense: the majority of prenatal yoga students have never practiced yoga before. Ever. And likely won’t practice regularly again afterwards.

So of course the prenatal classes have to be light on teachings, anatomy and explanations as well as actual physicality. 99% of participants are total yoga newbies.

Unfortunately in my city there aren’t actually a lot of choice when it comes to prenatal yoga classes, and none so far have been explicitly geared towards a more seasoned yogi.

I decided that I would take the teachings I could from this yoga class and continue onward with my home practice, building strength and stamina to get my body ready for the marathon that is childbirth.

And within days I was put on modified bed rest, had a trip to the ER for a huge bleed and poof went my yoga practice and a whole bunch of other dreams and expectations.

After allowing myself some time to process and work on accepting what would happen to my body and my pregnancy and birth dreams, my OB suggested that I should be able to do extremely gentle yoga. It took two weeks for me to work up the nerve to try.

Today was my first practice. It was scary, exhilarating and extremely humbling. My muscles have atrophied so downward dog and gentle slow standing postures look like an awkward newborn foal. Every single twinge or stretch within the uterus and belly area resulted in a spike in my anxiety and several pauses to check to make sure I wasn’t bleeding.

Despite all that, it felt so amazing just to practice yoga again. To meditate and pray to the Goddess at the end. To connect with my body, my breath and the little bean growing inside me.

Although practicing yoga won’t be the same now, and it isn’t something I can do lightly and without extreme caution and mindfulness, I will continue to practice my short, very gentle yoga as long as it is safe. Yoga helps me connect, helps me stay grounded and helps me breathe. And for that I am grateful.

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One thought on “Prenatal Yoga and Modified Bed Rest

  1. i forget if i said this already. when i first went to prenatal yoga i also thought it was way too easy, so i kept going to regular yoga for a while with modifications. i could still do a headstand when i was 20 weeks! but i changed my mind by the last trimester, when my body slowed down and i just wanted to chill out. i hope you can enjoy your gentle practice as much as possible.

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