Y’all aren’t going to be surprised at all when I tell you that the mind-clearing, communing with your energy, stillness aspect of yoga is not exactly my forte (imagine, if you will, an accent there, since I am too dumb to figure out how to add one). I’m too much of an anxious control-freak for my brain to actually shut off during class, to be totally “in my body”- instead I think and analyze, not only my own approach to the poses (is my arm right? is my leg right? is there a good way to pick this wedgie? good GODDAMN, get this hair out of my face already, etc), but also what other people are doing. That’s because I am a first class judgmental asshole, what with the critiquing that woman’s outfit and mentally badmouthing another one’s attitude, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
Anyways- I wrote that to tell you.. well, I’m not quite sure why I had to tell you that, probably because I like to run off at the mouth, but I do think it gives you an idea of the frame of mind I’m generally in during yoga class, trying my very best to ignore my tendency to judge myself and others and just relax into this fucking warrior pose already.
Now that that’s all out of the way- yesterday evening, I went to my first yoga class since I gave birth, and completed it without any modifications, which I haven’t done since OCTOBER 2010, when I figured out I was pregnant and immediately started downgrading the degree of difficulty of my practice (note: I hate that I just called it my “practice” like some sort of yoga Kool-Aid drinker, or some shit).
On the one hand, it was GLORIOUS. I could bend and touch my toes. I could lay on my back for a long and restful savasana. I could twist from the midsection, and I could, for the most part, complete the class without full-on sitting an entire series out because I was too motherfucking winded to do YOGA. WHO GETS WINDED DOING YOGA??
And on the other hand, it was HORRIFYING. I’m pretty proud that I completed every vinyasa I was told to, but DAMN, were they ugly. My legs shook in plank, and my arms trembled in dog. I’ve been doing yoga for the better part of 4 years (minus this break to birth another human), and to go back into class, supposedly now back to “normal” and not be able to do everything the way I remembered being able to was HUMBLING. I am not quite sure how pregnancy sapped all the strength in my biceps, but there you have it- I was weak and sweaty and MAD at myself- both for not staying in as good a shape during pregnancy as I thought I did, and for caring about it all in the first place.
I mean seriously. I GREW ANOTHER PERSON IN MY BODY. That’s pretty amazing, right? That should give me the ability to cut myself a break for not being able to hold upward dog for five breaths, no? But my type A personality doesn’t work that way, and I felt hot tears pricking my eyes as we finally laid down to rest. All that work I did before I got pregnant didn’t really seem to stick around while I took a break to be pregnant, and it certainly didn’t stick around while I sat around on my ass for the first 12 weeks of Olivia’s life.
So, it’s back to the drawing board for me- trying to get to class as often as possible (which sure as hell isn’t four times a week, what with that damn baby around), trying to work some other sort of exercise in too, and trying, really, really trying to not spend the whole time thinking about the baby. There’s only so long I can stand having a midsection that looks like a melted candle.
I rarely think of the universe conspiring to teach me anything, but it’s almost unavoidable at this point- both the baby and yoga are telling me things: to be more patient, to be more kind, and surprisingly enough, to be sweeter to myself.