Monica Sackandy is currently 19 weeks with her third child. “I am planning on having my first home birth and am looking to yoga to help manage the physical pain of birth, and to help release some of my fears about not delivering in a hospital.” Monica will be a regular contributing blogger on Yoga Peach and Lil’ berry and I’m so excited she’ll be sharing the journey with us. If you have questions for her, feel free to reach out and ask her! Thanks, Monica, for sharing the experience with us.
My personal journey into yoga has been an ever changing one. After giving birth to my second daughter, our town opened up a brand new, state of the art YMCA that offered free (yes, FREE!) childcare while you work out. I admit to have been out of loop with my fitness routine during the time I was pregnant with her. Anytime I wanted to work out required a babysitter for my older daughter, and it seemed impossible to stick to anything regular. Practicing yoga or working out at home was not as easy as I had thought. Whenever the kids would nap, so would I. So when the new, family-friendly facility was built, I jumped on it. I started going back the gym at least 4-5 days a week, taking as many yoga and Zumba classes as I could fit in.
Not only did I lose the 50 pounds I had gained while pregnant, but I developed a new found love of yoga and its spiritual side, and also began trying more challenging classes. Power Yoga, which had been difficult for me in the beginning, slowly became my favorite as I learned to truly listen to my body and find the full expression of each pose. There is a satisfaction unlike anything else when you are finally able to master a pose that at one time seemed completely out of reach. It is a true realization inside you that with practice, anything is possible.
Fast forward a year later, and I had completed a life changing journey in an amazing 200 hour RYT program. I began teaching Power and Adult All Level at studios locally. Noticing a lack of yoga programs in my community for pregnant women, mom and baby, and children, it wasn’t long before Little Yoga LLC was born, and I was officially a business owner. This was the first major change in my regular personal practice. I began noticing that whereas before I had frequently “received” yoga by taking a variety of classes with different instructors, I was now completely “giving” yoga by teaching all of my own classes. I developed a more regular home practice as many yoga instructors do, practicing by myself as much as possible when there would be a quiet lull in my day. As much as I enjoy the peace of a solitary home practice or the joy of teaching yoga to others, there truly is something to be said about “receiving” it. To go into a class as a student and experience what another teacher has to offer as well as the energy of a full class is a real gift that we need to give ourselves much more often.
Then came a surprise-my husband and I found out in October that we are expecting our third child! This has been the biggest change in my personal practice by far. It is true; you can practice yoga right up until your due date. However, the yoga I had been practicing had a lot of aspects not advised for pregnant women. Some of my most favorite poses are now contraindicated and will have to be put on the backburner until post-delivery. The feeling of pushing up into a Wheel, of finding the perfect balancing point to come into Crow, or inversions like Shoulder stand are out the window for the time being. Even my favorite Sun Salutation B has to now be modified, and Savasana too?! I know yoga teachers are supposed to go with the flow and not have attachment to outcomes, but I admit to feeling a little cringe of disappointment at not being able to continue working on challenging poses and to have to alter the ones I loved so much.
The beauty of the situation is that I am re-learning how my body responds to yoga as a pregnant woman. It is similar to starting over, and the “beginner’s mind” we are encouraged to cultivate in the yogic discipline. Approach each situation, each pose like it is your first time. Realize yoga is not a competition, but an ever changing journey of self discovery. One of my new favorites is now a modified Upward Facing Dog, with blocks or a rolled blanket placed under the thighs for support. The feeling of opening the heart and getting a gentle stretch in the front body is very soothing to me at this stage of the game. Vigorous Sun Salutes have temporarily been replaced with my new favorite vinyasa flow done on all fours: Cow-Cat, Cow-Dog, Cow-Child. I find myself really getting into “the zone” following this simple pattern of poses and breaths. As for Savasana, the “Sleeping Buddha” on my side with pillows for support is just as relaxing and relieving as the flat on your back version. The highly challenging poses will always be there for me to come back to, like an old friend. There is so much of yoga I still have to experience, much like life.
I am truly blessed to be able to do what I love and have it structured in such a way that supports my biggest job, being a mother to young children. I have especially enjoyed being able to take the journey of pregnancy alongside my prenatal students, and to truly share it with them. Motherhood is the greatest gift of all, and the “practice” we will have “modify” every day for the rest of our lives. I hope that yoga will help me forge through my next challenge, preparing for a home birth and becoming a mother of three. Namaste (:
Contributing Blogger: Written by Monica Sackandy, Owner and Director of Little Yoga LLC, Ellington CT LittleYogaLLC.com