How Yoga Helped Me Feel Like Myself While Pregnant
I was pregnant and uncomfortable, but yoga helped me get through
I took my first yoga class when I was 13 and it was not love at first sight. I spent most of the YMCA class sighing about how slow the class moved, how annoying the teacher’s voice was, and how bored I felt as I stayed in downward facing dog for “just one more breath.”
It would take me another 10 years to fall in love with yoga, this time at a studio in Boston where the walls dripped with moisture and the speakers vibrated with hip hop music. I suddenly understood that the practice was both physical and mental, that slowing down could actually feel nice, and that my anxious brain settled inside the methodical, dance-like practice.
In Boston, I started to practice yoga several times per week, then every day. When I moved to Seattle, I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program as a way to make friends in my new city and learn more about the practice. For a year, I taught classes around the city of Seattle, made many new yogi friends, and felt like I was in the best shape of my life.
Then I got pregnant.
My first months of pregnancy were tremendously difficult. I threw up daily, sometimes hourly, and found it hard to get out of bed at all. I slogged through conversations feeling like I was underwater and couldn’t quite grasp what was happening around me. My body hurt and it was changing, too, so much so that yoga felt awful. I couldn’t make it through a class without running to the bathroom to puke and I felt weird lying on my stomach, even though I didn’t have a bump yet. I was devastated about losing a practice that had kept me tied to sanity for so long. What would I do without it?
In my fourth month of pregnancy, my nausea settled just enough to allow me some space and time to go back to the yoga studio. This time, I wasn’t the teacher — I was the student again, someone who didn’t understand her body and needed help figuring out modifications I could actually use to get through a whole class. At We Yoga Co in Seattle there was one teacher, Anne Elyse, who’d been pregnant a few years back. She turned out to be an invaluable resource for me as I muddled through a practice I once knew like the back of my…