My husband and I are celebrating ten years of marriage far away. Kim Z. Dale, a Chicago Now blogger and fellow yogi, is writing today about yoga during pregnancy and afterwards. Please check out Kim's blog Listing Towards Forty and welcome her to Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom.
Isn’t pregnancy supposed to be a time for sitting on your butt and eating bonbons? Well, I had the bonbons part down (if donuts count as bonbons) since I gained 65 pounds during my first pregnancy. (No, I wasn’t carrying twins. Shut up.) Despite my lack of discipline nutrition-wise, I did yoga twice a week throughout that pregnancy. Even with a toddler running around I managed to do yoga once a week during my second pregnancy. But since having my second child? I haven’t been to yoga or done any other structured workout for months, and my back is killing me for it.
When I moved to Chicago I met a friend who taught Bikram Yoga. She kept encouraging me to try it, but I was planning my wedding and didn’t really have time to take on something new. But I kept my promise to her, and after returning from my honeymoon I tried Bikram Yoga for the first time.
I loved it.
At the time I had chronic back pain for about 6 years. I’d been in physical therapy. I’d taken a lot of Naproxin. I had a lot of massages. Nothing kept the pain away for long. But Bikram Yoga with its combination of heat, stretching, and strength exercises eliminated my back pain. Eliminated it. I went to yoga about twice a week.
Then I found out I was pregnant.
Some people have concerns about practicing Bikram Yoga during pregnancy because of the heat. I did a lot of research, spoke to instructors and my midwife, and chose to continue my practice through both my pregnancies while monitoring my heat and drinking tons of water. I ended up with two healthy children through natural births with minimal complications. (Go ahead and call me a terrible person in the comments anyway.)
When I was pregnant with my son I continued to practice twice a week until a few days before he was born. Despite a history of back problems and gaining twice as much weight as I should I didn’t have any back pain during my pregnancy. I credit the yoga.
A few weeks after my son was born I returned to Bikram Yoga, but having a baby (and breastfeeding) made time more precious. I was only going once a week, but it was still helping.
A little over a year later I was pregnant with my daughter. Again I continued practicing at the same level I had been before getting pregnant, this time that meant once week. Again, I made it through my pregnancy without any back pain.
Once my daughter was born I found that time with two children became even more difficult to find. For a while I set a goal of going to yoga once a month. I wasn’t even able to maintain that. My back has responded to yogas absence.
The continual ache between my shoulder blades has returned. My work has onsite chair massage offered once a week, which I indulge in when things are particularly bad, but it only alleviates my pain for a few hours. The same with the Naproxin. These are Band-Aids not cures.
I need to make yoga or something like it a priority again. (Without having to get pregnant.)
Kim Z. Dale writes the Listing Toward Forty blog on ChicagoNow. Follow her on Twitter or Google+, and like Listing Toward Forty on Facebook.
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