Learning To Love Yoga

January 30, 2010

I am a runner and have been for years. Not to say that I am very good at it, but I love it. I love the sweat and how it provides me with valuable alone-time to think. I love the aching fatigue I experience after a long run. Running keeps me trim. It keeps me regular.

During my pregnancy with Hayden I was put on bedrest and could not run, spin, or do anything active.  As I neared go-time, my midwife suggested that I do yoga.  “Ugh,” I thought.  Tried that once before and felt like I would have been better off taking a nap (turns out I was doing it wrong.).

At 6 weeks post-partum I took Hayden out in the jogger for our first run.  He cried the whole time, and I could barely run a mile.  I had 8 lbs to lose, so I persevered.  In time I was back up to 8 or 10 miles on the weekend.  It took me 8 months to lose 8 pounds.

I could finally wear all of my clothes again, but things were not okay.  I had deep muscle aches in my hamstrings.  My ilio-psoas muscles triggered when I stood up and gave me sharp pain when walking.  When I looked at myself naked in the mirror, my body was crooked.  And I still looked 4 months pregnant.

Enter  frustration, defeat, self-loathing.  It was time to get serious.  Just running wasn’t going to cut it anymore.  I started doing abs.

Let me frame this by stating how much I hate abs.  They’re difficult.  And no matter how much I do, it seems to make my stomach bigger instead of flat (turns out I was doing it wrong).

Enter the post-partum specific ab workout video.  Suggested regimen of 3-4 times a week. I did it 5 times a week.  I noticed a subtle difference right away with some improvement over the next few months.  It was a crucial step, as my muscles had torn and were weak and in need of repair.  However, the results hit a plateau, and I got really tired of doing it.  My legs and hips still hurt, and my body was still crooked.

Enter chiropractic adjustments.  My body is crooked.  I go in, and he “fixes” it.  Three weeks later, my body is crooked again.

At this point, my dear friend, Wendi, came to visit.  In seeing my broken spirit and need for a change, she suggested yoga.  Let it be know that she is the friend I ran a marathon with.  I scoffed and reminded her that I like to be moving fast.  I am an intense person.  But, her suggestion stuck with me.  I decided to give it one more try.

As it turns out, yoga is really hard, especially when you are doing it right.  And, as it turns out, all that running and crunching and baby-wearing had contributed to such tightness in my neck, back, glutes, and hammies, that it’s a wonder I could get out of bed in the morning.  I have a love-hate relationship with down dog and just a hate relationship with shoulder stands.  But, after 6 months of yoga, I am told that my backbend is looking really good, and I am rockin’ out the planks and pushups.

Enter the good news:  I don’t have hip pain anymore.  My muscle aches have dramatically improved.  My alignment has improved.  My stomach no longer looks like a pregnant woman, just a woman who has had a baby.

Practicing with really good instructors makes all the difference.  One of my favorite instructors always reminds us that when you feel “discomfort” in a pose, don’t run from it.  Observe it.  That discomfort is only one piece of who you are at that moment.  I am trying to apply this concept to my life outside of the yoga studio.  No, I still cannot do “the bind,” and I really don’t know what “shanti” means.  What I do know is how grateful I am to my friend, Wendi, for steering me in this direction.  Do I still run?  You bet- three times a week.  And I can’t wait to get to my next yoga class.  Namaste.

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One Response to Learning To Love Yoga

  1. Billy on February 2, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Well said!

    [Reply]

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