It’s been 15 days since I gave birth to my first baby.
It’s been 15 days since I got on my yoga mat.
I can’t remember the last time I took such a long break from my physical yoga practice. Of course, I have been practicing yoga in other ways— still meditation and breathing, mostly during lengthy breastfeeding sessions.
Having a baby that keeps me up all night has given me the opportunity to apply my yoga in entirely new ways. Mantras like “patience” and “love” come in handy when the baby is relentless screaming on the changing table.
But for the past week I have been itching to get back to asana. It’s recommended that postpartum women who have uncomplicated, vaginal births wait at least four to six weeks before returning to asana. So I’ve been lying in Savasana in my bed, imagining myself in poses, taking five breaths in each pose and doing my best to remember the familiar physical sensations that came from being in the poses in the past.
It’s better than nothing.
Though, the longer I wait, the more I experience some escalating fear about getting back on the mat.
How much strength and flexibility have I lost? I couldn’t do any core work while pregnant and I stopped being able to touch my toes about two months ago. I haven’t laid on my stomach in eight months. Will my body be able to handle my old practice? If it can’t, will I be bummed about it?
I am still experiencing pain from the tearing of my perineum during delivery. My stitches seem to make themselves known when I push myself too much. Hardly anyone talks about it because it’s not pleasant conversation, but my vagina and rectum still have a lot of healing to do. There are several yoga poses that may be off limits for a while. How long will I feel limited? Will I allow my limitations to frustrate me?
I know that my reactions to what my yoga practice looks like upon my return are totally up to me. If yoga taught me anything, it’s that I choose how I feel. No one and nothing can dictate how I show up, especially in the face of a challenge.
One definite plus to getting back on the mat after delivering a baby is that I’ll certainly feel 20 pounds lighter in each pose!