(as seen in elephant journal)
Something uncoils inside of me as I rest my strong, round, tired body onto the mat.
My muscles feel pulled, tight, lethargic, but as I stretch them and breathe, I feel the first inklings of renewal and prana, life force, reawakening.
It isn’t simply that my body is opening like a blossom—it’s also that many older moments of constriction and anxiety, still held inside of my tissues, are releasing and creating space for presence and promise. The deepest kind of promise: as I release these old tensions and hurts, I’m making space for new life growing within me.
My belly looms like the full winter moon on the edge of my vision at all times, unignorable now, robust with creative energy and constant transformation. A cauldron of alchemy.
Sometimes, especially lately, this round lunar body seems to pull my energy away in a constant ebb. But here, surrounded by the other mamas-to-be and held in the glow of candlelight and soft music, I feel the tide turning. It’s subtle, but it’s there.
Studies have shown that one prenatal yoga class can lower anxiety and overwhelm in pregnant women by up to 31 percent. I have no idea how anyone thinks they can measure “overwhelm” in a person who is growing another person—a very tiny and fragile one—inside of them.
What I do know is that today, moving into my 29th week of this mysterious, sacred and difficult process, I feel the tinglings of a completely new sensation: peace.
In my first trimester, I flip-flopped between giddy excitement and flat-on-my-back-narcoleptic-exhaustion.
The second trimester brought moodiness, steamy sexual energy and a kind of driven productivity, not unlike that of someone given a death sentence. After all, once the baby comes, who knows what will become of my writing, my career, my projects, my life as I know it?
So I was full of plans, schemes and tension. Often, pregnancy felt less like the beginning of a new life and more like being given nine months to live, with already half of them gone.
But today, as I move into the third trimester and stretch out in Baddha Konasana and Trikonasana, finally, I am able to be present and feel truly whole. I touch my belly and my daughter nestles into me and gets quiet, too.
My breath feels even, deep, and nurturing for us both.
My hips release in preparation for what’s ahead even as I my mind and heart gets more in tune with a deep sense of now, this moment, one small point in a vast current of time and creation and the birthing of new life. I feel completely in my body, with all of its foibles and creaks and beauty and wisdom, this body that has become a bridge between the world of the manifest and the realms of absolute potential.
When I think of her, my little one, coming into this world, I want it to be just like this—real, sensual, each moment giving way to the next in its own perfect time, drenched in candlelight.
I want her to be initiated into this green world feeling both guided and connected to her own inner guidance, spiraling out of me with grace and power. I want her to experience the same newness, transformation and serenity that I feel on the mat today in her first fragile, precious moments.
But for that to be possible, I know, I’ll have to create those feelings again and again within myself, to truly practice. That way, when the moment of birth comes, they are strong and palpable even in the midst of great challenge. I have to return to the mat on days that I feel grumpy, frustrated, busy and that the last place on earth that I want to be is inside of this very pregnant body.
“Yoga is light, which, once lit, will never dim.The better you practice, the brighter your flame.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
Today, returning to my mat, I have lit the flame again—my own heart flame and a guiding light for the little being inside of me. Tomorrow, we’ll be back, to stoke that flame more brightly, open to new lessons, and continue cultivating the world and life I want for us both.