"Push! She's almost here!" I remember the midwife exclaiming. What happened next has a quite clinical explanation, but what I experienced went beyond the borders of science.
I vividly remember an incredible pull from deep within my body, a surge of sensation mixed with urgency, awe and blinding pain. With every contraction, with every subsequent push, I was aware that my body knew exactly what it was doing. Each time I pushed when directed, I felt that incredible "taking over" response as that incomparable pull commanded every single muscle fiber. Before too long, my youngest child, a daughter, arrived into the world. Afterward, I remember complete and utter bliss. I was astonished by what I was capable of, and by the incredible power I held within me.
Yoga teaches the wisdom of our layers of consciousness — layers that we are not often attentive to but that exist nonetheless, a consciousness that goes deeper than awareness at the surface. This innate knowing holds the power to heal ourselves, and the potential to surmount any obstacle, anywhere, anytime.
Quite often, the lessons we learn about ourselves in yoga practice mesh and meld with life off the mat.
Pregnancy and birth are prime examples of just that.
Practicing the physical postures of yoga get the body ready for the demands of pregnancy, labor and, finally, birth. Breath work calms an overwhelmed mom and feeds her growing child. These work together to ease burdens, bestow tools and plant seeds that empower.
Pregnancy is not an ailment. It is a joyous, miraculous time — a time for moments that should not be missed. Imagine experiencing every term with joy, love and amazement. Imagine trusting yourself to know exactly what to do and when to do it. Adding yoga during pregnancy can do that.
To get the most from your practice, and enhance the experience of an event that compares to nothing, find a teacher who is trained in prenatal yoga. Yoga Alliance (yogaalliance.org), an international yoga organization, is a great place to start your search, with the assurance that all teachers and studios listed have met the qualifications for inclusion.
Choosing to continue or start your yoga practice during, and even after, pregnancy will reap numerous benefits for mom, dad and baby. Learning from a trusted teacher adds one more influence to your support group. Local yoga teacher and birth doula June Connell says it best: "Control what you can. Surrender to the rest."
Connell offers local workshops and classes devoted to combining yoga's wisdom and traditional birthing classes. Go to greenlocusyoga.com/events to learn more.
Diana Reed is a yoga teacher, writer and co-owner of House of Light Yoga in Hernando County. Contact her at houseoflightyoga.net or (352) 610-1083.