Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting Back to . . . My Body

To the outside observer, I most likely look like I've returned to my pre-pregnancy body.  I very quickly lost my pregnancy weight and then some.  My body's response to breastfeeding seems to be "sure, here, take it, take anything you need, I don't need it!"  Other people's bodies seem to take a slightly more self-preserving approach - "so, I'm going to keep this 20 pounds for me, just in case."

However, to my more discerning eye, I could see that I was holding on to a bit of fat on my belly and that my belly was certainly a different shape than it was.  The skin near my belly button is still a different texture. Of course, there is the scar that runs across my low belly; very discrete, yes, but visible to me.  And, my breasts have, what I'll call, a more motherly shape. 

As my weight came off and these changes slowly began to emerge, I found myself anxious to return to my yoga practice.  In Iyengar yoga, though, the teaching is that you shouldn't return to a practice for 10-12 weeks after a c-section, far more conservative than the 6 weeks the medical profession suggests.  When week 10 came, I thought I would anxiously jump back in, but I didn't.  It was one more week before I felt ready.

Despite that decision to delay starting, I looked at the series of poses with some dismay.  For weeks 10-25 post-pregnancy the practice is seven poses.  Only seven poses.  As I started my practice, though, it became clear to me that I wasn't ready for a more robust practice.  These seven poses hit all my sore spots, and this slow start is helping me get to know this new body of mine.  I can once again feel the flow of energy through my body and how it is different than it was.  That belly of mine that felt so empty with nothing growing inside of it is now a new and vast place to explore. 

Because, although the goal in this culture seems to be a return to a pre-pregnancy body, that return is impossible - pregnancy and birth forever change our bodies.  So, as my practice continues to move my physical body more and more towards my pre-pregnancy body, it also puts me more and more in touch with the changes.

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