The Road Back to Yoga

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It’s been over a year since I’ve practiced yoga regularly. (There, I said it.)

I felt it hiking around Red Rock Sunday. I don’t have the quickness or the agility that makes hopping around the rocks such a good time.

I finished my yoga teacher training just prior to conceiving Jude, and I was overconfident about what I thought my body could withstand while pregnant. I was sure I would maintain a pretty legit yoga practice into my third trimester. 

Why not? Yoginis all around me were doing it. 

BUT, twenty weeks in, my body made it clear that was not going to happen. It was important to me to pay attention to the subtle (and not-so-subtle) cues my body was giving me, so I backed out of my practice considerably. 

I went on to have a picture perfect, empowering homebirth. I observed the traditional forty day postpartum healing period, complete with loads of nutrient dense, warming foods, herbs, and rest. (An experience that changed my life, and one I HIGHLY recommend to all postpartum moms.) Afterwords, I was ready and PUMPED to return to yoga.

However, a week or two after resuming my practice it was clear to me that something was wrong. My core was unstable in a way that did not seem normal, even postpartum. 
I got evaluated by a physical therapist specializing in women and learned I had diastasis recti; essentially the failure of the abs to close completely following their normal separation during pregnancy. 

I started rehab, and learned just HOW MUCH of my yoga practice was contraindicated. I stopped going to the classes I had just begun to attend again because I didn’t want to have to modify poses constantly. 

I already tweak my practice to accommodate long-term head and neck issues, and it honestly felt like more modifications would negate the benefit of doing yoga at all. 

I was wrong.

Sunday made clear the disservice I’ve done my body. Even the most basic practice would have preserved some of the range of motion I’m lacking. And, there’s no question that abandoning a regular practice (even highly modified) has affected my ability to be present and to cope with symptoms of neurological TMJD. 

I have been fortunate to experience various healing modalities, many of which I have had great results with.

But all pale in comparison to yoga. Yoga is the nucleus from which all other healing stems for me. It is the ultimate “reset” button. And, modifications be damned (or, you know, gracefully accepted)... It’s time I got back on my mat.