The Pregnant Yogini: From Headstands to Headaches.

Via on Oct 10, 2011
Photo: Omar Franco

From Headstand to Headaches.

As I write this, I am nearly 16 weeks pregnant with my first child. While I have a long way to go, I’m amazed by how much I’ve learned in such a short time. As a yoga practitioner and teacher, Swadhyaya, or self study forms a large part of my practice; there’s something extremely fulfilling about watching your own mental processes and then getting out of the endless mental chatter that accompanies all of that. Pregnancy has been,  and I imagine will  continue to be, a huge lesson in self study.

Pre-pregnancy, I loved the strength and power behind a good jump-through, taking flight in arm balances, seeing the world from a different perspective in headstand. But for some reason, none of these have felt right during my pregnancy. Suddenly, I’m so focused on what’s taking form in my womb that Balasana (child pose) has become the main feature of my home practice.

My practice has changed as a result of all those lovely pregnancy side effects too. Headaches, coughs and colds, and fatigue have overtaken me at times. While I’ve always been one to listen to the needs of my body, pregnancy has taken this concept to a whole new level.

Some days I’ve stepped onto the mat, willing my body to do a little more – maybe not a jump through or headstand, but at least a good sequence of strengthening poses (I’m going to need that strength for the marathon of birth coming up in a few months time!). There have been days when my body has agreed, other days it has flat-out refused. I’m left with little choice but to surrender to its will. A gentle restorative practice, some pranayama and meditation do the trick though, and often help ease the nausea that’s been a staple feature of my being for the past three months.

Then of course there have been those days when I feel on top of the world – full of energy, bristling with excitement and joy, happily connecting with the little person in my belly. I listen to my body on these days too – maybe doing a few rounds of Salutes to the Sun, a nice strong Warrior sequence or Utkatasana (chair pose).

Since falling pregnant, the change to my practice has been significant, and some days I miss the power of my old practice. But to be honest, I’m enjoying nurturing myself and my unborn child with more restorative postures. I feel so connected to my baby and in tune with what we both need. And what a living lesson in listening to your body – something I urge my students to do all the time. This journey, which is only just the beginning, has reminded me of how important it is to be mindful of your physical and mental state in the moment – not yesterday, next week, or two years ago – right now. I’m taking each day as it comes – slowing down now doesn’t mean slowing down forever.

But for now, it’s right for me and my baby.

About Erica Webb

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Erica splits her time between being a mum, practicing and teaching yoga, completing her Master of Arts (Writing), and writing for the joy of it. Trained in Classical Yoga at the Australian College of Classical Yoga, she focuses her practice and teaching on becoming present and tuning into the inner guide. Being a mum is the hardest but most wonderful job she has ever done. She blogs over at www.thenonsenseofit.com and hangs out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thenonsenseofit

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12 Responses to “The Pregnant Yogini: From Headstands to Headaches.”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I would love to hear more about your journey and what you are experiencing more specifically. You have me hooked! :-)

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Erica, I'd love to hear more from you! Are you practicing with a prenatal yoga instructor, or learning as you go on your own?

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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    • Erica says:

      Hi Tanya! I'm doing a bit of both actually – one prenatal class a week plus my own practice. It's certainly a steep learning curve, but one that I'm absolutely loving!
      Erica.

  3. Sophie says:

    Congratulations! The change in body and practice in pregnancy is so interesting. Balasana becomes your best friend. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I’ve been practicing squats, pelvic tilts, gentle abs and pelvic floor toning. I love myyogaonline.com s prenatal classes. They are perfect for my needs. It s not always easy to practice with fluctuating energy levels, but they have several classes for different purposes. Enjoy!

    • Erica says:

      Thanks for the tip Sophie! Yes, squats are an absolute must… It's amazing how the little one in your belly starts calling the shots right from the beginning!

  4. candicegarrett says:

    Or maybe slowing down now means preparation for changing forever? The greatest prenatal teacher is to be pregnant. You never learn so much in such a short time or change so quickly, inside and out. Go with the flow, give yourself permission to be who you are, to change as you will and to let go of who you used to be. and welcome! You are now part of a divine jewel on the crown of motherhood, to join the women who have gone before, and those that will come after.

    • Erica says:

      Great point! I do feel as though I'm on the cusp of a lifelong change. Thanks for the advice – I'm very proud to be joining the countless women who have come before and the countless that will follow.

  5. [...] article: The Pregnant Yogini: From Headstands to Headaches. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Erica splits her time between practicing and teaching yoga, [...]

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