Lately I've been thinking about yoga and how grateful for it I've been, especially during my pregnancy. I just remembered I've written about yoga once before, so the dates tell me that I've been practicing for almost 4 years now! I have been wildly inconsistent with it--memberships can be very pricey, so for a few years I would just practice at home from online videos or go to classes here and there if I found a new student deal.
But after my miscarriage in June--literally the next morning--I decided to do something to take care of myself. I signed up for a 3 month membership at a local studio called Yoga Six, which is very close to our apartment and such a beautiful space; it calms me down just to walk in the doors. I called in to get information about the membership and the woman I spoke to was SO incredibly kind, helpful and genuine. I gladly began going to hot classes about 3 times a week and Allison, the woman who helped me sign up, always remembered my name. One day she was getting ready to teach the class I attended, walking around beforehand to ask each student individually how our bodies felt, what we needed today, etc. I told her I recently had a miscarriage. I don't know why I shared it, but I felt like I could give her an honest answer. She responded compassionately and class commenced. At the end as we relaxed into savasana she played the most beautiful, heartbreaking piano music I'd ever heard, and immediately my mind went to the little baby I had lost. I laid there with tears in my eyes, immersed in the music and the heartache, when I felt Allison begin to massage my shoulders, neck and head. I felt so strongly in that moment the love and care she was showing me. I don't know any other way to put it. I was so sad, vulnerable and weak, and here she was taking an opportunity to lift me up. I have never forgotten that.
Practicing consistently helped my body get strong again, and I firmly believe it's been hugely beneficial in keeping me strong throughout this pregnancy, too. After my initial 3 months of membership were up, I didn't think I would be able to continue since it was such a big monthly expense. Enter Allison again to tell me about a program they offer called yoga for trade, where I work a 3 hour cleaning shift once per week in exchange for free unlimited yoga. Crazy, right?
So for the past 4 months, I have had the total blessing of being able to practice yoga every single week for free. I don't always go as much as I'd like, but I try to go 2-3 times and I always go at least once weekly. I'm not able to do hot classes now that I'm pregnant, but there is a warm class called slow flow that has been incredible. I truly see it as a blessing in so many ways. My main motivation for doing yoga is definitely for the physical benefits--I love the way it makes me feel; I love the strength and flexibility it helps me gain--but the emotional/mental benefits of allowing myself time to slow down, relax and detach from the day are monumental as well. I used to get crazy cabin fever from working at home. I'd come to the end of many days feeling really moody, even worthless. This has helped me so much. Not to mention the people I've gotten to know through my cleaning shift. Let's be honest, it's never fun to be a cleaning lady--but I see this as the most worthwhile cleaning I've ever done since it allows me to continue practicing yoga. I've even come to enjoy it somewhat--when I come in to clean, I still feel the calming, peaceful atmosphere of the studio affect my mood right away. I've also gotten to work with some wonderful women--of course Allison is always at work during my shift!--who have watched my belly grow over the months and celebrated milestones with me (they gave me flowers on the day we found out that it's a boy).
I guess I just wanted to write this to remember how much Yoga Six in Point Loma has meant to me in this season as my body has been nurturing and growing our little boy. I like to think the benefits are being passed to him and that somehow, this is all helping me to prepare for birth. I hope that I'm able to continue with this practice after he's born and for years to come.
all photos from yoga six website