An Exercise in Patience

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“You’re due this weekend and you can still bend down like that?”
My mind flashes back to my prenatal training and all the dancing down to Malasana (squat) I did day after day.

“Yes, I’m still quite mobile surprisingly” I joke to the store clerk who is still gap eyed at my mobility. She extends out her hand for me to take and I bob up with the receipt she dropped.

I’m in the 40th week of my pregnancy and I’m bopping and be-bopping around Vancouver’s West End. I, like many other new mothers, am expecting my baby will arrive on its due date.

Where does the yoga come in to all of this? Well- I am an expectant mama who has utilized yoga to teach myself and other mothers’ patience.

What I learned not only in my original 200-hour yoga teacher training but also in subsequent training is- anger and impatience with what IS pulls a person’s vibration down and is an extremely wasteful expenditure of accumulated spiritual merit. In Yoga patience is recommended as a countermeasure for frustration with what we cannot control. However, in my 85 hour prenatal teacher training my wonderful goddess guru Teresa Campbell taught me, being patient is much easier in theory than in practice, which is why they call it a practice.

Instead, Campbell suggests, we can dance with the discomfort of everyone asking where their baby is when it “hasn’t been born yet???. We can bask in knowing our babies know who we are and will come to us when they, our uterus and the entire body mind system is ready. Finally, we can be rest assured knowing, this precious time we have in the lead up to baby’s arrival is a lesson in and of itself that we could all use more patience in our lives.

As a woman, my desire to have a child was no secret to many. In Journalism school amongst a number of hard line, career driven will-be journalists, I was the one racing along on the career train with them…. but wiping their noses and chasing after them with bagged lunches so they’d eat right. I also taught my comrades yoga. Even if I didn’t know the mother was in me then, fellow students must have.

Even last year in our Ghanaian house in the thick of Accra I would ask my roommate Jessica (a very admirable and accomplished journalist)” Did you take your vitamins today?”….vitamins I’d given her and that I demanded she take….

She would glare at me and say “Yes.”  I even suggested she could take them with her gin and tonic but preferably after her cigarette. But I digress.

For some reason, the more work I took overseas and the more time I spent alone, the more I resolved that I would be a mother in many ways but I wouldn’t necessarily be a mother to my own. I did grow impatient with this….until I met my other.

Within a year and a half, my other and I carried out a long distance relationship between West Africa and Vancouver, moved me from Nova Scotia across the country to Vancouver, got engaged, I attended three births and became a Doula and we conceived ( this last one was a surprise- but boy did it teach me to be patient with what I can’t control).

If ever I was impatient with all things maternal and marital, I got my comeuppance.

Journey back to my prenatal yoga teacher training. My life now, is the culmination of all of the above. My first lesson in patience was not finding out the sex of my child, I embraced the unknown.

My second lesson in patience was, rarely will anyone hire an expectant mother, even if they say that’s not the case.

My third lesson in patience is it’s ok for your partner to put his, or her, hands on your shoulders and tell you to sit down, put your feet up, and read a book, or go for a walk and see pieces of driftwood that are shaped like a pelvis for once ( see next post). It’s ok.

From the first moment I sat on my mat and chanted the Gayatri mantra with seven other women who came to learn to teach pregnant mothers how to be pregnant, enjoy yoga, celebrate their bodies and their babies- I was instantaneously patient and accepting of the unknown in this next chapter in my life, and my little unborn one’s life.

By the second day of training I stopped feeling guilty for indulging in yet another teacher training when I could be racking up EI hours for a maternal benefit.

By the third day of teacher training I was dancing with my pregnancy belly hanging out to Punjabi music.

By the end of my prenatal teacher training I felt full loaded with gifts to give my future students and families I will Doula for.

I’m now 41 weeks into my pregnancy and I feel stellar. This comment is not meant to make any pregnant woman who feels less than stellar feel meek or incompetent because she feels anything less than that- this blog posting is meant to illuminate the benefits and juiciness of prenatal yoga, and practicing patience. It’s a type of yoga that really is reserved for women. To celebrate our accomplishments, mourn and then accept our losses, and embrace that there will be more of the former and less of the latter if we accept and surrender to what life throws at us.Sometimes it takes 9+ months to do all of that :)

A Birth Shrine filled with presents from the women in my prenatal teacher training who gave me a “Blessing Way” Where each of them blesses myself and baby with words of encouragement.

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