Yes, this type of creation, gestation of a child, takes a lot of work, and it's serious business. At the same time, it can be the most wondrous, magnificent experience in a woman's life. Similar to motherhood, this most creative work called pregnancy has it's ups and downs.
Yet, every breath counts, and with that filling up of the spirit with purity and life, with that prana, shakti, chi arrives each moment as a chance to show and to grow love for the flourishing soul inside. Then the good moments surpass the tough ones, and eventually even the obstacles and challenges begin to shine through as constructive, light-revealing events.
Uprooting, or discovering this freedom of boundless, infinite love begins with self-love, self-care. As a yoga instructor, we imbue this notion upon our students - we impart the wisdom of those before us that showing up on the mat begins the process of love, and that unraveling originates within our own beings, at our core. Only then can we find true freedom and the robust feeling of our beautifully wild nature in it's most positive sense - primitive, intuitive, fruitful.
With all that said, since the start of my second pregnancy, I've been sharing my running-while-pregnant journey, which evolved into a walking-while-pregnant journey in the sixth month. Hold that thought!!! I did run on the last day of my pregnancy, exactly 11 hours before I went into labor - more on that in a bit ;)
For me, running elicits the feelings described above. And so does yoga. And pregnancy. But, as we all know, sometimes we must let go of our passions to pursue another, if only temporarily. In this case, I let go of running because it just stopped feeling good, in order to pursue an optimal pregnancy. I knew that running would take center stage, or at least play a leading role, in my life again. But for the last 16 weeks of pregnancy, I replaced running with walked (except, as I said, for the last day of pregnancy!).
At the same time, my dedication to a daily yoga practice continued. Yoga happens to be the most adaptable physical endeavor that one can experience. It is always available and adjustable to our current state of being. Disagree? Then let me ask you this: can you breathe? If so, then you can do yoga.
The evolution of my personal practice intrigued me as I stepped upon my mat every morning. How would my belly feel? What was my energy level? What needed attention? And how would meditation play into this? At the end of it all, after my final Sat Nam or Om, my whole existence, my life, and the life within me, felt more connected to a higher consciousness, a divine force shielding and protecting me with it's light and warmth. And that is why I practiced yoga all the way through my pregnancy... and even during labor and delivery (again, more on that later)!
To follow my pregnancy journey, click on the links below:
- Walking & Yoga for an Active Birth: Month Eight (Weeks 32-35)
- Walking & Yoga for an Active Birth: Month Seven (Weeks 28-31)
- The Joy of Birth & Running Uphill: A Meditation to Bring Baby Into the World
- From Running to Walking While Pregnant: Month Six (Weeks 23-27)
- Running While Pregnant: Month Five (Weeks 18-22)
- Running While Pregnant: Month Four (Weeks 14-17)
- Running in the First Trimester: Gratitude & Playing the Edge
You will see that I have been mostly walking 1.5 to 2.7 miles, with other distances interspersed. The 1.5 to 1.8-mile walks take about 30 minutes while the two and a half-milers last 50-55 minutes.
In the final week of pregnancy, I hiked next to the river and streams within the nearby state park with Avie, my son, age three and a half. Being outside, in the forest, and on my feet, next to natural, running water was something I longed for in these final days - it eased labor anxieties and made for a relaxing week 40!
And, at last, our baby arrived - a boy!!! What a surprise! Grey Gibbons Harder was born at 7:40 a.m., Sunday, April 2, in our home, at 8 pounds, 13 ounces and 21 1/4 inches. The birth was magical... more on Grey, his birth story, and the story behind his name in a future post!!!
(One thing to note: My pregnancy weeks and my "running" weeks are not perfectly matched. At the beginning of these posts ten months ago, I did not want to adjust my running weeks to begin on Fridays, which is the day when each new pregnancy week began. Thus, you will see a slight discrepancy mostly at the end - I actually gave birth two days into the 40th week rather than on the sixth day. BUT, to me, a due date is not set in stone, and, thus, this discrepancy is quite irrelevant, but I thought I'd divulge it anyway!)
Week 36 (Feb. 27-March 5):
- Day One - 40 minutes Kundalini Yoga and 2.6-mile walk
- Day Two - 2.6-mile walk and 20 minutes yoga
- Day Three - 20 minutes Vinyasa Flow yoga
- Day Four - 20 minutes Kundalini Yoga and 2.6-mile walk
- Day Five - 30 minutes Yin Yoga and 5 minutes inversions
- Day Six - 20 minutes Prenatal & Vinyasa Yoga Flow and 2.6-mile walk
- Day Seven - 45 minutes Prenatal Yoga Flow and 2.6-mile walk
Week 37 March 6-12):
- Day One - 45 minutes Prenatal Yoga Flow
- Day Two - 45 minutes prenatal Yoga Flow and 1.7-mile walk
- Day Three - 1.25-mile walk and 10 minutes yoga cool-down
- Day Four - 20 minutes Yin Yoga; 40 minutes Vinyasa Flow; and 50 minutes Yin Yoga
- Day Five - 45 minutes Prenatal Yoga Flow and 2.6-mile walk
- Day Six - 60 minutes Prenatal Yoga and 2.6-mile walk
- Day Seven - 10 minutes Moon Salutations and 30-minute hike
- Day One - 20 minutes Moon Salutations
- Day Two - 30 minutes Flow & Yin and 30-minute walk
- Day Three - 30 minutes Flow & Yin and 2.7-mile walk
- Day Four - 30 minutes Yin and 30-minute walk
- Day Five - 45 minutes Prenatal Yoga Flow and 2.7-mile walk
- Day Six - 25 minutes Yin and 2.7-mile walk
- Day Seven - 30 minutes Yin & Flow and 2.7-mile walk with 15 minutes yoga cooldown
- Day One - 60 minutes Kundalini & Yin Yoga and 2.7-mile walk
- Day Two - 75 minutes Yin & Kundalini and 2.2-mile walk
- Day Three - 35 minutes Flow, Kundalini & Yin and 2.2-mile walk
- Day Four - 30 minutes Vinyasa Flow & 2.7-mile walk
- Day Five - 50 minutes Anusara Prenatal Flow with Kundalini and 1.25-mile walk
- Day Six - 60 minutes Vinyasa Flow & Kundalini and 2.7-mile walk
- Day Seven - 15 minutes Yoga and 2.7-mile walk with 20-minute yoga cooldown
- Day One - 20 minutes Moon Salutations and 2-mile hike (75-minutes) with Avie
- Day Two - 20 minutes Yoga Flow and 2-mile walk
- Day Three - 2.3-mile hike (80 minutes) with Avie and 15 minutes yoga cool down
- Day Four - 45 minute Vinyasa Flow and 2-mile hike (70 minutes) with Avie
- Day Five - 45 minutes Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini & Yin and 1.8-mile walk
- Day Six - 20 minutes Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini & Yin and 2.5-mile jog (I went into labor 14 hours after running!)
- Day Seven - HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY GREY!!!