Ever since pregnancy drastically changed my body, I’ve found many new challenges to my practice. I’m no longer pregnant, but my body did not go back to the way it was before. This makes for a very interesting asana practice. On the one hand, through years of practice, I know my body well. On the other hand, because of pregnancy and childbirth, I have to get to know it all over again. The great thing about Yoga is that it teaches us the mental flexibility necessary to do this – to flow easily through changes without fear and attachment. One of the things I’ve been really working on is balance. It seems my whole center of gravity has shifted and balancing poses feel completely different in this new body.
Balancing postures build strength and mental focus, while also teaching us how to find stability. When we’re standing on one leg, in Vrksasana (tree pose), for example, we have no choice but to focus on that standing leg, as the root of the posture. Trees can only grow and remain upright with a strong root system, and the same is true of tree pose.
The thing is, if we never tried to stand on just one leg, we would never be challenged to invest in our foundation so that we could do it. It is only by attempting to balance that we learn what is necessary to achieve it. We cannot know it by reading it in a book or being told how to do it. We have to experience it.
Focusing on our root system, that which keeps us grounded, strong, and flexible, in asana practice and in life practice, helps us to achieve balance. For me, finding my balance is not just about working with the changes in my body, but also the changes in my mind and spirit that inevitably come with the result of pregnancy and childbirth – motherhood! We’re four months in and while it is the most wonderful and amazing thing I’ve experienced in life, it is not without its challenges. Particularly in the area of balance.
How do I maintain my balance? How do I give the right amount of myself to my child? To my husband? And what about me? How do I take care of me? These are all issues of balance and the only answer I can come up with is the same answer I have for tree pose – by investing in my foundation. Knowing what keeps me grounded and connected and flexible and then investing time and energy into those things.
For me, Yoga is a big part of that and this is why I love it so much. Yoga not only gives me the tools to achieve balance but it is what gave me the courage to attempt a life that would require balance in the first place. If it weren’t for my Yoga practice, I don’t know that I would have ever opened myself to the life I have – a wonderful husband, a beautiful baby, fulfilling work.
The idea of standing on one foot can be scary – I might fall! I might hurt myself! I might look silly! All of these things are true.
But you also might establish a connection to the earth, to your foundation, and from there you will most certainly grow strong and flexible, poised and balanced.