Since about February of last year, I haven’t been able to do much other than yoga in terms of physical exercise, most likely due to a pinched nerve in my back, brought on by my training for a half marathon. Leave it to me to pick up running, mostly based on a combination of a dare to myself and inspiration from Sundry, finally get to a place where I’m actually, grudgingly, enjoying the damn running, and then injure myself so badly that not only can I no longer run, I can no longer do much of anything at all. I’m a limping comedy of errors.
Anyways- that’s neither here nor there, since at least there IS yoga, and I can still do it. I’d been doing yoga at the gym at work sort of half-assedly for some time, but when I quit my job in March 2010, I started going something like 5 days a week- at first to keep myself busy (going from full-time job to… NOTHING was not an easy transition for me), and then because I became addicted to the high of finally seeing some progress in my practice. My poses were stronger, my balance was more… balance-y, and I finally, finally, nailed a headstand in the middle of the room- no wall for support, no spotter, no help.
When I moved to Long Beach, finding a yoga studio was my top priority, and after a couple false starts, I found just the place. I was still going four to five times a week when I got pregnant, and at first that didn’t seem to be much of an issue, since I went in the morning, and my version of morning sickness was more a vague nausea that presented at three in the afternoon. I’m pretty sure I kept up this pace through the first trimester, and probably most of the second, adjusting only by moving my classes to the afternoon, since prying myself out of bed before noon started to become deeply problematic.
Which brings us to about the last couple of months, when the rapidly expanding circumference of my midsection and the deepening reduction of my lung capacity have finally caught up with my yoga practice, and well. There’s no reason to sugar coat it- my yoga has gone to SHIT. First of all, there’s the stuff I’m no longer supposed to do, like any ab work, deep twists, or inversions, and then there’s the stuff I just CAN’T do anymore. I’m starting to look like a 60-year-old man who’s just picked up yoga for the first time- my forward fold stops at my knees, and my lunges now have to accommodate what looks like a beer gut.
I’m in a full sweat about half way through class, and I spend a generous portion of my time in studio in child’s pose, trying to catch my breath as it runs raggedly away from me. The same class takes as much out of me as it did before I got pregnant, so I know I’m still doing something good for my body, and I am still mostly capable of walking out of there with a sense of zen and physical well-being, but in the heat of it, OH DEAR, in the heat of it, I can feel the hot prick of tears behind my eyes as yet another pose slips away (try doing a forearm side plank without using your abs. Go on, I dare you).
I get it, I get it. My body is changing, and the extra 25 pounds are only temporary, and soon enough, I’ll be able to do piteous crunches with the rest of class, and I’ll most likely wonder why I was ever sad about having permission to skip them. But since there is precious little else in my life currently in terms of actual, measurable achievement, losing planks and twists and headstands and wheels feels like a part of what made me good, good at something, good at ANYTHING, is sliding away too.