I’ve really let Mindful Mondays fall by the wayside. I’ve really let mindfulness, in general, fall by the wayside.
I’m trying to change that.
In May I made an investment in myself. I spent a considerable amount of money on a six month pass to a yoga studio not far from my apartment. The start date for my six month membership was a week ago today. I finally made it to a class yesterday.
Yoga used to be a big part of my life. I went quite frequently when classes were available at the climbing gym near where I worked. While I ceased other forms of exercise I’d once loved, I kept going to yoga for a long time.
Then even yoga became something I wished I did instead of actually doing it.
When I was pregnant I found a prenatal yoga class at the studio where I just recently bought the six month pass. Going to those classes were my favorite part of being pregnant. Every session twenty or so pregnant women and I sat around discussing our experiences and connecting with our new and ever-changing bodies. It was an amazing experience and I still see some of the women I met there.
Walking to class last week, for the first time in almost a year, I wondered what it would be like to return to yoga now, alone, without my daughter nestled safely inside me. When I was pregnant connecting with my body was miraculous, magical. Now I worried that I would feel empty, unrecognizable.
And while there were moments when my body did feel unrecognizable, and somewhat empty, I remained me, fundamentally.
Pregnancy has changed me in so many ways and generally the physical differences between my pre and post pregnancy body concern me the least. Maybe that is because they are easiest to ignore. I have my ten or so outfits that fit relatively well and I don’t have much time to look at myself in the mirror. Luckily I almost never have a reason to dress up or look nice.
At yoga I was forced to see body for what it has become. It’s softer, fleshier. It’s shaped differently. I carry more weight in my thighs and butt. I can grab whole handfuls of stretch marked flesh around my midsection. To say I was sporting a muffin top over my stretchy yoga pants would be a considerable understatement.
I knew all of this going in. I wasn’t really surprised to see how different I looked, though facing it in public, with others watching, chaffed more than at home. While how I looked wasn’t so shocking, I was surprised to notice how distinct my post-pregnancy body felt in the poses. I’ve lost strength almost every where. The balancing poses were especially challenging as I struggled to find my center. My mind was all over the place and my body felt tight and unsure of itself.
In the end I was glad I went. The longer I held the poses and the more sun salutations I completed the more familiar I felt inside of myself. I’m sure after a few months of weekly practice I will once again recognize this new body as my own.
In the meantime it’s interesting to become reacquainted, once again, with this vessel of mine. I have so much to thank it for and I hope it will perform many more miracles in my lifetime.
Thank you yoga, for helping me not take my body for granted.