It might sound simple, but so many women just don't take the time to relax when they're carrying a child.
Why is that?
We live in a world of constant activity. At any time of day you can speak to people anywhere on earth, get food, work, exercise and be stimulated by your environment. We glorify being 'busy'. So of course when pregnant we don't feel like we are allowed to stop. We have to keep up with the fast paced world around us.
During pregnancy, your body is crying out for something different. Take the time to listen and respond accordingly. You're allowed!
As a yoga teacher I see this in my students (and I saw it in myself when pregnant too - we're all in the same boat). We get so used to a strong dynamic practice, pushing our bodies into the next asana on our checklist, achieving these 'body goals', lifting our heart rates in the gym at the next hiit class that comes our way. We think that when we're pregnant we should be carrying on. But why?
There is nothing to prove.
As a pregnant woman you are already doing so much even when you're still. You're growing a friggin human! You're super busy even in your sleep.
Those 9 months are a time to slow down - the ultimate in introspection. They are certainly not a time to be reaching personal records in the gym or advancing your asana practice.
The problem is that in our online world, we are bombarded by pictures of yoga teachers or gymnasts or whoever else doing all the things that our own bodies are crying out to avoid. We compare ourselves to those people and think that we're not good enough, not doing enough, not 'busy' enough if were not still hopping up into handstand or doing drop backs when pregnant.
But the fact is, there's a reason your body doesn't want to be doing those things. It's dangerous! (I realise people might disagree with me here but I'm saying it anyway) Even if your body is used to a strong dynamic practice, even if it genuinely feels good to continue with this when pregnant (I highly doubt that this would be the case, but everyone is different) and even if you manage to move through your pregnancy and the post natal period without any issues as a result, clinging to these postures and this lifestyle can cause issues later in life - like when you hit the menopause for example. I'm not saying that this will definitely happen to everyone. Like I said, everyone is different and for a very small minority these things might be exactly what their bodies want.
I'm also not saying you have to be sedentary when you're growing a human. There are exercises that are not only safe, but recommended to help ease and support your body in the transition to motherhood. But it's a time to reel everything in, to only go to 70% of your maximum. Take things easy, and nurture yourself!
This is so important I'm gonna say it again - NURTURE YOURSELF.
Is it nurturing to force your body into the splits? (maybe a pose your body is not used to but all that relaxin is getting you there? - this is so dangerous so please don't do this) or does it feel more nurturing for your practice to move towards the yin part of yourself. To slow down, to meditate, to breath deeply, to move sensually and connect to your beautiful changing body and your incredible growing baby?
Your body is changing. It will never be exactly the same again and if we cling to the expectations we have of ourselves and our bodies since before pregnancy then we are missing out on a huge lesson that these 9 months can teach us - surrender.
Becoming a mother teaches us to let go of who we used to be. Your life will never be the same again. You don't have to lose everything about yourself of course, but the transition to motherhood is transformational and you won't be going back.
So take those 9 months to learn the art of surrender. Surrender to the changes, to the letting go of how your practice or workout routine once looked, and to the beautiful wisdom of your body.
Your body knows what it wants. The more you tune in and allow your body to guide you then the smoother the transition can be.
If anybody wants help or advice about how to adapt their practice during pregnancy then do get in touch. I've written a previous post about things to avoid and soon will be posting about postures that are safe for pregnancy.
Sending love and nurturing to all of the mamas and babies who are currently on this journey together. Look after yourselves.