I took a break from yoga for about a week and a half over the holidays. After teacher training I needed the break, and it allowed me to relax, do holiday things, and visit with family and friends without worrying over when I’d be able to fit in my practice. During this break, though, I noticed some changes in myself. Physically, I was more achy, less flexible – I could feel the difference in my body. (I was also more tired and stuffy, although that could be due either to the cold I had or to my pregnancy rather than the lack of yoga.) Emotionally, I felt unsettled. My mind felt much busier and less calm without my meditation practice. I think it was really valuable to take a break just to remind myself that I feel better in just about every way when I’m practicing yoga. F and I made sure to fit in a yoga practice on New Years Day, and it felt great!
Now that we’re back to a normal daily schedule, I thought it might be helpful to write about my current home practice, in the interest of keeping up my practice and improving it while still making allowances for my body’s needs right now while I’m growing a new person.
I typically practice in the mornings. We eat breakfast first thing – I’ve always been the sort of person who needs to eat right after waking up, and now with the baby on the way, mama’s gotta eat. After we clean up the dishes, it’s time for yoga. I need to make my yoga fit in between breakfast and showering so I can get out the door on time for work, so how much time I spend on yoga depends on a number of factors: how late we were up last night, how many dozens of times I had to pee and whether I was able to fall asleep again afterward, how much I overslept when the alarm went off, how long we lingered over breakfast, how well my stomach’s feeling (I’m past my morning sickness now but things are still pretty weird in there, and if my digestive system and I disagree on how to spend this time, then my “seated meditation” will be happening on the john and I just need to accept that). On a good day, I can clock a 30-minute asana practice plus time for pranayama breathing and meditation; on a different day, I might manage two sun salutations and a quick meditation. It is what it is, and I’m doing the best I can.
My yoga practice itself varies. Lately, because it’s chilly in my house in the mornings, I’ve been practicing yoga in pajamas, socks, and my fuzzy pink bathrobe, which isn’t ideal but isn’t as uncomfortable as you might think. I’ve been focusing mostly on sun salutations, because they’re active and they hit most of the major ways of stretching, and they help build strength, which is a big focus for me right now. I do standing and balance poses if I have the time, but I always make sure to fit in some squats, since those are important for my pelvic floor muscles. For seated work, I’ll usually do some of the poses I talked about here. No twists, and really gentle with any forward folds. I like bridge pose for strength but I’m careful with it since my abs don’t want much extra stretching right now. I still do shoulderstand but more often lately I do legs-up-the-wall. I’m looking forward to playing with inversions for as long as I feel able. I usually finish with a short savasana, but sometimes I’ll just hang out in legs-up-the-wall during that time instead.
After my asana practice, I like to do some alternate nostril breathing to prepare for meditation, although with it being winter this is becoming more difficult for my stuffy nose. Then I do a brief meditation, maybe five minutes. I don’t do the same meditation every day but instead choose what seems to resonate with me at that moment.
I still have trouble making my yoga practice happen on the weekends. I like to sleep in a little and then we usually have a busy day planned, so it’s hard to make sure I get my practice in without the routine of the weekday. If anyone has any advice on this, let me know.
I hope this post was helpful to those of you who imagine me as SuperYogaGirl. I try to have some sort of practice every day, but I’m not nearly as regular about it as I wish I was, and I definitely am not SuperYogaGirl, although I wish I could be. And now you can picture me flopping around doing downward dog in my scuzzy bathrobe, which is a lot more realistic than what you might have imagined before!