May 30, 2014

Learning to Surrender On & Off The Yoga Mat.

yoga pigeon

I’m outstretched in pigeon pose.

My back leg is long as I curl my toes under and wiggle my knee in, more towards the center of my sticky purple yoga mat.

My front leg is positioned with my shin parallel to the top of my mat; toes curled protectively up towards my knee. I finally lengthen through my back foot and allow its unpainted-toenail top to rest flat on the purple waffled rubber.

For a moment, I lift my proud pigeon heart toward balmy blue sky, fingertips cupped on the dark, wooden floor alongside my hips; wrists and hands off the floor, lifting energetically skyward too.

I arrange an ordinary white gym towel over the studio’s cushiony blue block before elongating through my arms and torso, reaching them forward toward my imaginary horizon as I press my front-lying shin-bone deeper into the mat.

Resting my forehead on the soft yet stiffly textured towel, I feel my baby kick at my calf muscle as my pregnant belly begins to drape over it.

I feel two more punches and then can’t help but be transported back nearly four years prior when another enclosed child kicked more furiously at my heel. (It was at this point in my practice that I began to work my shin forward, having only ever cautiously tucked my front leg in.)

Yet so much changes in a yoga practice, along with many other things within an expectant mother’s life.

Fanciful daydreams that I almost forgot I was capable of having inadvertently creep into more of my day than not.

Visions of tiny baby fingers, holding a still small big-sister hand, plant knowing smiles across my face while in line at the grocery store.

I peruse the newborn outfits when I shop for my daughter in the adjacent toddler section.

The purpose of life shifts before we even greet our infant’s new face.

My preferred closed-knee child’s pose turns into a wide-legged one, allowing my rounding stomach to fall between my thighs rather than over-top them.

No longer lying flat on my back, I recline slightly lifted onto forearms or rearrange a posture entirely to suit my mother tummy.

So many things change.

I sit typing on tiled bathroom flooring while my daughter plays in a lightly scented bubble bath. I watch her take the green bowl that we keep there, turning it into a ginormous waterfall in her imagination. Just as I write this, she takes her green bowl and dumps the water outside the tub. Tiny foamy splashes hit my bent legs, perched upon a folded tan towel next to her.

So much is shifting for her too.

She’s suddenly decided to start kissing my expanding belly; hugging it gently but firmly. I have no idea where this came from, as she never did it until I became fuller.

I’m outstretched in pigeon pose, and I finally understand the necessity and wisdom of relaxing into a posture, and into my life.

It takes effort and active engagement to properly get into my pigeon pose, but then to fully explore, enjoy and be successful I must surrender, completely.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Robert Bejil/Flickr

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