When I was about six weeks out from my c-section, I tried to start up my yoga practice again, but found that my body had changed more than I’d expected. On the first day of March, nine weeks postpartum, I decided I was going to get back into my yoga practice and I made a deal with myself to try to practice every day of March.
As the month went on, my practice flowed and changed like my body and my feelings about myself. I didn’t quite manage every single day, but I made a good start. In restarting my practice, I’ve started re-forging my relationship with my body and myself, and I wanted to share my thoughts as I move forward from this new beginning, through my yoga practice. So I’ve decided to start a monthly Yoga Diary to document my new yoga journey.
This month, I mostly focused on rebuilding my practice and listening to what my body needed on any given day. At first, I started falling into a sort-of schedule of a more vigorous vinyasa-based practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with more restorative practices in between. But as I battled illness and dealt with two of Dan’s work trips, I found myself coming back to my original plan: to listen to my body. Some days I didn’t feel up to a vigorous practice, even though it was Monday, and other days I was ready to move more because I’d been sick, even though it was Tuesday.
I also had to find modifications for my postpartum, post-surgery body. Backbends are still a bit too intense on my lower abdomen, and I’m not doing full planks down to the floor. But on the whole, I feel a lot more confident in my body since restarting my practice (more on that later this month!).
My favorite pose this month has been viparita karani, or legs up the wall pose. I end most of my practices with this gentle inversion. On days when Elliot won’t nap consistently, I will sometimes set him to watch while I practice and if he gets fussy towards the end, I’ll hold him on my belly while I lay in my final pose. We can connect quietly, while I feel the tension release from my lower back and shoulders.
This month has also been about learning how to fit yoga practice into my current life. While I’m the type of person who thrives on routines and schedules, we don’t really have a schedule for Elliot, so I have to take my time when I can, usually during naps, or occasionally when he sleeps later than I do. I have to let go of my preconceived ideas of what “counts as practice” and allow myself to consider ten minutes of poses while on the floor with him my daily practice. I have to find time for myself and make time for myself by asking Dan for his help when he’s home. It’s been an exercise in self-care, more than just physical exercise.
Next month, I’m curious to see how returning to work at the end of the month affects my practice. I might not be able to practice every single day, but I’ll definitely work on ways to make space for yoga during my work day.