Ashtanga Yoga and pregnancy – Part I

I know it may sound pretty obvious but 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 of me. Of course I can fight or flow with that, favor or hinder it but it is something that happens beyond my effort, my work, my intention … beyond myself.

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 so much. I felt the belly, it was already there, physically in the center of everything. And every time I folded forward, it was too much. After finishing the surya namaskar, just in trikonasana, I sit down and cry. I feel defeated. Mati sits by my side and I tell him in tears -remember I was pregnant and hormonal-, “I feel that if I give up now, what do I have left?” And he, smiling, tells me that I do not have to fight, there is nothing to hold on to.

The funny thing about it was that my only goal was to be able to keep up with the practice. Practice every day, in any way, for any length of time. Even that I had to let go of. There were days of extreme heat and I could not put my head down. I had to let go also of the only thing I wanted. And learn, really learn to let go of goals, to be right here. To be here, present, now, feeling what is happening, without being subjected to anything, where it’s coming from, or where it goes.

The practice changed so much.

I did not understand how I was going to face the birth, such a challenging moment, so demanding, without “working” on something, without facing obstacles on a daily basis as I used to do with my pre-pregnancy practice and overcoming them, with effort, with sweat. I did not understand, I couldn’t see it. I was afraid and scared to change my practice to something softer, gentler. I felt like I was going to pamper myself and instead I wanted to prepare myself, to be strong enough to face that moment. “Stay focused and be able to rise to the occasion.” I remember that feeling and it makes me laugh so hard! Fortunately, when I resumed practice in my second trimester (at 12 weeks into pregnancy), it coincided with Matthew’s workshop in Buenos Aires -when I found out that I was pregnant I didn’t consider that coincidence to be precisely a luck, in fact, I saw it very much the other way around… how everything depends on the point of view we choose! And he, among other things, suggested me not to do dropbacks. Something that for me always represented that moment of facing myself. At that moment I thought I was desperate, I felt that I wasn’t going to have enough preparation for THE event that was coming.

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

Pregnancy is very particular. When I saw my friends making their debut as mothers, I noticed that it was the place where one puts into practice one’s own values, ideas about what one believes, feels or wants things to be. Pregnancy is a first step toward that. How you live this stage is a faithful reflection of how you decide to carry it in various areas of your life as well. That’s why, I think, it’s a very particular and very personal process. I thank Juan and Matthew for this. They both taught me the way to find my own Teacher in myself. That was the most valuable tool, the most beautiful and wise thing they gave me. Juan gave me the freedom to experiment, he gave me the space, the containment for all that to happen. He gave me the confidence, the love for me to believe that everything was going to be okay. And it’s that belief, that way of seeing the world that ends up determining how things develop. You determine yourself, constantly. Juan told me that no one better than me was going to know what was best for me. Matthew put a lot of emphasis on developing my intuition: “It’s your practice, so it’s your responsibility.”

They gave me the power, the responsibility and the confidence to learn to listen to my body, to my daughter. To understand that not only by preparing with tools are situations faced, but many times that preparation has to do with disarming that structure, that shell. And to fill it with love.

On Sunday 9 February Sara was born, with a natural birth at 1.30 pm. It was the most surreal, 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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