Now in my 9th week, today I am approximately 58 days pregnant (not that I’m counting or anything…). Aside from the 106 F temperature in Washington, DC today, all else is well in life. I have discovered that heat and pregnancy really don’t go well together after nearly 2 weeks of 100F weather.
Heat lends my pregnant body to a general feeling of slothfulness by mid afternoon followed by an unending appetite after sunset (Given how much I’ve been eating though, I was surprised to learn at the doctor this week that I’ve only gained 3 pounds. This is right on track—thank you yoga).
Fortunately, mornings are cool enough that practice remains unaffected. I am realizing that to most people, the idea of waking up at 5 am and doing a 1.5 hour yoga practice while pregnant every morning sounds a bit wacko—like when you try to explain to people why it’s important to observe moon days in yoga (btw the movement of the moon seems to have an exaggerated effect during pregnancy, though I’m not sure why that would be so surprising since everything seems exaggerated during pregnancy). But what I can tell you is that yoga makes a world of difference in how I feel. On the days I do practice, I feel like I come into my normal body usually about the time I hit Parshvottanasana pose every morning. On the days I don’t practice, I feel pregnant—sluggish and generally unproductive much of the day.
On milestones, I have progressed well into my first trimester—past week 6 where most pregnancy guides tell you morning sickness sets in. I like to attribute my general lack of morning sickness to my daily yoga practice. I still have no headaches, nausea, or actual sickness, only tinges of stomachache when I shift from extreme outdoor temperatures to the AC inside.
**Notes from the beautiful Kino**
Last week Kino Macgregor was in town for a workshop. I held off on participating in the full workshop (headstands), but I did attend her morning Mysore practice. Kino gave a great deal of good advice:
Tip #1. On avoiding deep twists–First tip, in Marichyasana B and D drop the foot. This feels strange, but rather than leaving the foot close to the pubic bone, just bend the leg and rest the foot on the floor. Second tip in Marishyasana C and D, wrap the arm as if you’re doing Marichyasana A and B, but turn in the opposite direction. This still gives the benefit of a twist, but it’s not so pronounced and does not go deep into the abdomen.
Tip #2. Avoid Crash Landings
Tip 3. Keep doing garbha pindasana. Do the modified version (no putting your arms through your legs), but go into full lotus, and continue to rock gently on your back, as long as the movement remains gentle.
Tip #4. Backbends–Kino’s fourth tip is the most challenging for me, because I tend to be stubborn. She advised not dropping back into backbends unassisted. This can lead to crash landing if you fall back too quickly, and since everyday practice is a little bit different—it’s better to have assistance. Ohhhh so challenging. I’ve worked so hard to get my backbends and it feels good doing them unassisted. I’ve decided for the remainder of the first trimester, however, that I will only practice the full Urdhva Dhanurasana series with assistance. When I get to Mysore in August, I’ll see what Sharath and Saraswati advise. And as Faith, my teacher, rightly said this week, “the muscle memory will still be there.” My hope is to keep backbending throughout my pregnancy.
My proudest accomplishment is that I am still fully getting myself into Supta kurmasana. Kino informed that it will soon go, but as long as I can get into comfortably—supta kurmasana is all mine!
Tomorrow is my last day in Washington, DC for 2 months, and my last day of regular yoga practice at Woodley Park Yoga. On Monday we will Chidu and I will begin traveling for two months. We’ll first stopover in Istanbul for 4-5 days as we make our way to our home in Bangalore. Then in mid August, Chidu returns to DC to cover presidential conventions and I stay on in India to go practice second trimester Ashtanga at the shala in Mysore. I am a bit nervous about my practice over this next one month. There will be a lot of travel, and I will not have the daily guidance of a teacher. I anticipate this will make me more in tune with my own body, but also there is the reality that energy levels are different. In the studio there is high energy every morning and a motivation to get there. At home, especially with jet lag, there is a desire to sleep, have chai, and gorge on Ramaaka’s dosas all morning. Now is the time for discipline in my practice.