Well before I got pregnant, I knew I’d be one of those chicks you’d find in a prenatal yoga class. A longtime fan of any vinyasa or hatha style practice, I kinda knew that the familiar movements of my usual classes, such as, the twists and folds and inversions may not be doable with a growing belly and probably not very comfortable for the little guy residing inside my uterus. Poor thing, I’d be wringing him out like a towel! However, I wasn’t willing to let go of all the other spectacular things that yoga gives me – balance, groundedness, strength, and patience. Lucky for me, I found a wonderful series of classes offered at Carrboro Yoga (www.mycyco.com) and a very knowledgeable and Zen-like yogini who leads our classes, Paula Huffman (she happens to own Hillsborough Yoga, www.hillsboroughyoga.com).
About three weeks ago, I participated in my first class. Surrounded by fit young woman with “basketball” bellies, well into their third trimesters, I felt a little awkward with my barely noticeable bump and looked more like I had a big sandwich for lunch and downed a pint or two of my favorite IPA. Oh well, I’ll be round and waddling soon enough. Heck with awkward, Marisa! Enjoy this while it lasts!
Unlike your typical yoga class, we place our mats and props in a semi-circle around our instructor and begin the session with a meet and greet. We each introduce ourselves, tell how far along we are, and state if we have any “complaints” or occurrences we would like to share. “This is way cool”, I thought to myself. All women, all pregnant (except our instructor), and we get to talk pregnancy stuff! Immediately, I thought of the 352 things I just needed to ask or share with these women, like: Does the cellulite that appears overnight on your hiney go away when the baby pops out? Will I ever have a normal bowel movement? Will my breasts morph into something that resembles those photos of the naked women you see in National Geographic? Much to my dismay but grateful I wasn’t the first to speak, the “complaints” were more like, “I’m 40 weeks, 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced but I’m still here!” Or, “I’m 32 weeks and I’m having lower back pain.” When it came to me, I stuck with a simple, “I’m Marisa, I’m 16.5 weeks along, and I don’t have any complaints! Feeling good after exiting that first trimester!”
Much like many of the other yoga classes most people are familiar with, we went through a series of poses, focused on our breath, and ended with Savasana, aka – Corpse Pose. Each pose was specific to the pregnant body and took our growing bellies and the safety of our fetus very seriously. Savasana is also altered by supporting our bodies with blankets and bolsters and is for fifteen minutes at the end of class. Ahhhh, fifteen minutes of total relaxation and meditation - hard for some, used to be torture for me, but now, I welcome it! Every meditation helps me realize that all we have is the present moment and we must always act from that place. However, during this particular meditation at the end of class, I could only focus on the laughter and glasses clinging loudly below us. The yoga studio just happens to be located above Panzanella, a lovely Italian restaurant that serves flavorful dishes, which are crafted from mostly local and seasonal ingredients. As I lay in Savasana, I couldn’t help but feel envious - craving a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon along with fellowship. But no, I’m lying down in a room full of pregnant women, forbidden to whimsically sip on a glass, heck, a bottle of wine for the next five months! Oh my gosh, what have I done! A year or so ago, my favorite weekly activity was to attend Steve Willis’ Wednesday night yoga class at The Club in Greensboro followed by wine and writing or wine and food with my best gal pals. I couldn’t help but long for those days and want to yell peace out to those pregnant suckers and join the strangers downstairs! So, that’s what I did. Just kidding. I snapped out of it and realized that since I plan to only do this once, I need to embrace this incredible journey! Not only did I need to but I wanted to. I was starting to love my new sense of femininity. Ok, well, I don’t really jive well with being feminine and I cannot relate with exaggerated girlyness but I was trying. I was starting to appreciate my body for what it is capable of doing and I loved that 24/7 I was carrying along a buddy, an angel, the love of my life – my son. Ahem, I meant OUR son (sorry, Jeff).
And so, I will always remember my first prenatal yoga class for teaching me to welcome this new phase in my life. During that fifteen minutes of meditation, I took a trip to the past, the present, and the future and again realized that it is the present we must all remain…that is where the magic happens and if we care too much about what happened an hour ago, a day ago, 10 years ago, or what will happen tomorrow, we miss out on what is happening in that very moment. And for me, what I almost missed was my little man’s first kick.