Ashtanga Yoga and pregnancy – Part I

I know it may sound very obvious but for me the pregnancy taught me that there is nothing we have to do, there is nothing I HAVE to do. It taught me about humility. It is Life itself happening, something so wonderful and much bigger than myself, happening inside me. Of course I can fight or flow with that, favor or hinder but it is something that happens beyond my effort, my work, my intention … beyond me.

I remember one practice. We were at home with Mati, one morning, I was already 6 months into the pregnancy and I was tired, I felt the belly growing. I felt the belly, it was already there, physically in the center of everything. And every time I folded, it was a lot. After finishing the surya namaskar, just in trikonasana, I throw myself in the mat and I cry. I feel defeated. Mati sits next to me and I tearfully say, “I feel that if I give up now, what’s left for me?” And he in his infinite patience and love, with a smile tells me that I do not have to fight, there is nothing to hold to.

The funny thing about it was that my only goal was to be able to sustain the practice. Practice every day, in any way, whatever the duration. Even that I had to let go. There were days of extreme heat and I could not put my head down that beat me a lot. Also that requirement I had to let go. And learn, really learn to let go of the goals, to be here. To be here, present, now feeling what happens without being subject to anything, where it is coming from, or where it is going.

The practice changed so much.

I did not understand how I was going to confront the childbirth, such a challenging moment, so demanding without “working” on something, without facing obstacles daily as I used to do with my pre-pregnancy practice and overcoming them, with effort, with sweat. I did not understand. I was scared and scared to change my practice to something softer, gentler. I felt like I was going to pamper myself and I wanted to prepare myself, to be strong enough for that moment. “Keep me in focus and be able to live up to the circumstances.” I remember that feeling and it gives me a lot of laughter, it gives me a lot of tenderness. Fortunately, when I resumed the practice, at 3 months into the pregnancy, it just coincided with Matthew’s workshop in Buenos Aires – when I found out I was pregnant I did not consider that coincidence was a fate precisely, in fact I saw it quite the other way … how everything depends on the point of view that we choose! And he, among other things, told me not to do dropbacks. Something that for me always represented that moment to face myself. At that moment I thought I was despairing, I felt that I was not going to have enough preparation for the event that was to come.

The practice is so generous. It’s not that it gives me something but it teaches me where to look, I get to truly know myself.

Pregnancy is very individual. When I saw my friends premiering as mothers with their children I noticed that it was the place where one puts into practice one’s values, ideas about how one believes, feels or wants things to be. Pregnancy is a first step towards that. How you live this stage is a true reflection of how you decide to take it in various areas of your life as well. That is why, I believe, it is a very particular and very personal process. I thank that teaching to my teachers Juan and Matthew. Both encouraged me to find in myself my own Teacher. That was the most valuable tool, the most beautiful and wise they gave me. Juan gave me the freedom to experiment, gave me the place, the space, the containment for all that to happen. He gave me the confidence, the love to make me believe that everything would be all right. And it’s that belief, that way of seeing the world that ends up determining how things happen. You determine yourself, constantly. Juan told me that no one better than me was going to know what was best for me. Matthew emphasized on developing my intuition: “It’s your practice, therefore, it’s your responsibility.”

They gave me the power, responsibility and confidence to learn to listen to my body, to my daughter. Understand that not only preparing ourselves with tools we face situations, but often that preparation has to do with disarming that structure, that armor. And fill it with love.

On Sunday, February 9, Sara was born, with a natural birth at 13.30. It was the most surreal, most beautiful and loving experience of my life. I had never been so present and never had to open and surrender as much as in that moment. Then, everything past found its place and I thanked.

Sara de Biedma

Part II →


Photo in 8 months sirsasana: Juli Castro.

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