Pregnancy teaches you lessons that only another woman that has been pregnant will understand.
For one, you are out of control of your body. You are completely in touch with every transforming moment your body experiences and you surrender to the process of your body rapidly changing.
You learn patience.
It’s humbling on a daily basis.
Teaching yoga while pregnant has been a fascinating journey of learning limitations and I have had to learn how to teach in a completely different way. No longer can I demonstrate and practice certain asanas, especially forward and backward bends.
My mind trips over itself because I can still feel the sensation of paschimottanasana or ustrasana in my body, and my mind thinks that maybe it’s possible even though it’s far from possible right now.
You learn quickly that even though your body is in a complete act of creation, which is incredible, it has its limits.
As a teacher, I can see how every single human body has its own unique set of limitations, and yet, we strive to move through these limitations, sometimes hurting ourselves. I’ve learned through pregnancy to surrender and honor the process. Thus, the teaching changes to incorporate less demonstrating, and more communication through verbal cues and working with another student to demonstrate the asana.
However, the thing about being approximately eight months pregnant is that somehow your memory and mental capacity to remember such things like your students names or that an elbow is clearly not a knee is embarrassing. The mind goes, “Um, I can’t remember what that is called,” and proceeds to tiresomely struggle for the right word to that part that helps the leg move.
I have said while teaching, “Come into a 90-degree angle in the right leg by aligning your elbow over your knee.”
Oops! Yes, on several occasions, I have blanked and forgotten body parts, asana names, Sanskrit and even the very simple naming of everyday objects, which are now named “things or that thing.” I laugh at myself and hope that my students know what I am talking about or well they just tell me, “Don’t you mean the…?”
Teaching yoga while pregnant has also been a gift in learning how to let go of the “I am a yoga teacher hear me roar and look at me” persona that has the propensity to slyly creep in.
I have an ever growing baby and belly. I am tired most days. I have random body aches I can’t describe. My body doesn’t look like it used to and I’m not feeling so limber. I have third-trimester symptoms like incredible indigestion and sleepless nights.
Yet, I am blissed out on pregnancy—communing fully on the inside with this growing being. So, there is no room for personas here, only showing up as I am, growing—belly and all.
Elizabeth Farrell is a practice manager and health coach at Unity Medicine-Integrative Medicine and Ayurveda, yoga teacher, and Reiki practitioner. After working through her own illness using energy healing, naturopathy, yoga and Ayurveda, Elizabeth moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico to complete her 200-hour yoga teacher training with Prajna Yoga and Tias Little. Elizabeth’s foundational practice comes from her 7 plus years spent studying and practicing Iyengar yoga as well as her many years of meditation practice. Her classes infuse alignment and conscious sequencing to create a balanced, and nourishing experience that allows you to go deeper into your own experience of self. You can find her writing online at http://sisterhawkreiki.wordpress.com
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Assistant Ed. Rebecca Schwarz
Ed: Brianna Bemel