Many parents believe their babies are advanced for their age. I'm trying to stay objective, but there's one way I'm positive my daughter is ahead of the game: by the time Alva was born, she had already attended over two hundred Bikram yoga classes!
Who knows whether those prenatal sweat sessions will have anything to do with her own strength or flexibility (though she does do a mean full locust pose!) What's certain is that they kept her mother sane and healthy for 9 months, and that ain't nothing.
Before we get started: If you're expecting and have never done Bikram yoga before, we recommend waiting until after the first trimester to try taking class in the heat. And always consult your medical care provider before starting any new exercise program.
For those of you who are or are planning to become pregnant, here is my advice for a safe and pleasant pre-baby practice:
Enjoy this time with your little yoga buddy, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about making the most out of your prenatal practice!
Two (whirlwind) weeks ago, I took a 9 a.m. class, showered and dressed and toddled on home. The next evening, my daughter Alva was born. It was a relatively fast delivery, and while it was the hardest thing I've ever done, I suffered very little and our home birth made for a smooth transition back to "normal."
But everything changed: I now wear my yoga tops as nursing bras.
I (happily!) spend hours on the couch with a tiny person sleeping on my chest. My abs ache after a walk to the corner store. I was advised by my midwives not to forward-bend for the first couple of weeks, to give my uterus time to heal before moving it around inside my body. It makes sense, but I am definitely looking forward to some padha-hastasana as soon as possible.
Bikram likes to say that yoga is "the only subject where the object is you." That has always resonated with me: it's not how your postures look, it's not even whether you do all the postures today- it's about giving yourself what you need.
In this new chapter, with a baby at home and a business to open in a few short months, it can be a challenge to find time where "the object" is me. But it's essential. It is. It is why so many working mothers find a way to make yoga a regular part of their busy lives. It is why 9-to-5-ers wake up before dawn to squeeze in a class before heading to the office. It is why we show up: even injured, even sick, even overtired, stressed-out or grumpy. Even in love, or pregnant, or with a new baby we want to be with all the time! We make time to do this for ourselves, because we know life is better when we do.
This morning after Alva's second (or was it third?) breakfast, I tucked her back in with my husband, tiptoed out to the living room and rolled out my mat for the first time in two weeks. I did some pranayama breathing. I did some gentle stretching. I did a good, long savasana. I didn't break a sweat, I didn't raise my heart rate. I just showed up for my self.
And when my hungry little girl whimpered from the bedroom, I rose up lightly, feeling refreshed and absolutely content to make her the object of the rest of my day.
Bikram Yoga St. Johns' studio owner, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.