Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thinking about having a baby? Prepare with Bikram Yoga

There was no blood or tears, but plenty of sweat to help me remember how difficult the process was. I pick up my heavy, wet, brown terry cloth towel off of my yoga mat that feels like I've just taken it out of the washer after it has been spun dry. That's how much sweat drips off of me in the 90 minutes. In my first class, I was forced to my knees several times with nausea and light headedness. It's the closest experience I've had of pushing my baby out of my body 25 years ago.

Through the years, I've struggled with how to prepare women for the second stage of labor. I'm sure it helps your body to remember the ancient process that coils in your DNA, panting lively with every baited breathe for a chance to unravel, when in prenatal yoga we practice creating a deep, bellowing sound while resuming a wide-thigh, open stance. And I'm sure the list of do's and don'ts that I once created on how you may feel and what you can do to help yourself provided a familiar frame to manage the unknown. But it's clearly not enough. It doesn't help either that many of us (including myself) skim over this part of the experience, like we do with cesarean sections. It's the part of the story that either is not going to happen to us or that we don't need, believing that if we've gotten that far, surely we can make it to the finish line.

It's too late once you’re pregnant, to do Bikram yoga. The combination of heat and exertion is in my opinion way too demanding at a time in a woman's life that calls for a gentler, slower more moderate form of physical movement. However, if you are not yet pregnant and are thinking about it, consider trying Bikram yoga as a practice to help you prepare for the demands of the second stage of labor.

It's no surprise to me that I find myself continually drawn back to Bikram. I certainly do not envision myself becoming a staunch supporter, for there are threads of the practice that I do not condom (for another blog!). However, there is nothing like a process that demands your entire focus to leave you feeling deeply satisfied, and hungry for more.



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