In yoga teacher training last night, we talked about modifying a class for a pregnant student. Because of the topic, much time was devoted to talking about why it’s hard to do yoga when pregnant (belly in the way, balance issues, nausea, loose joints). Additional time about the benefits of yoga for pregnant women was also largely about the problems of pregnancy (stress, breathing issues, hormonal imbalance) and how yoga might help. All of that is perfectly appropriate given the focus of teacher training. But, as I thought about the class, and the look on the faces of some of the younger (non-mom) female yogis in the room when the trials and tribulations of pregnancy were being discussed, it occurred to me that what we did not examine is why pregnancy and yoga are such a natural fit.
I would argue that pregnancy, in it’s deepest sense, is yoga. Yoga is union, the connection with others, with Self, with the divine. Isn’t that a pretty good description for pregnancy? During pregnancy, the connection to others, or at least to another, is pretty intense. Of course we are always connected to others, but we manage to ignore it a lot. It’s hard to do that when pregnant, and everything about the social expectations of pregnancy and the physical status encourage the celebration and immersion in that focus on connection to the other. Yoga is connection to the Self – the Self that goes beyond the physical body and is part of something greater and more powerful. This too is something that most pregnant women likely think about often. Pregnancy is pretty amazing. The idea that our physical beings can bring forth a “new” life and the process that gets us there. Wow! It speaks of what part of us goes beyond just self to that Self. And then, there is the divine. I can’t even tell you how many women I’ve spoken to who have had an awakening or re-invigoration of whatever their faith is during pregnancy. Perhaps it’s easier to find that divine when we are in the intimate presence of an experience we feel is so miraculous.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to say that pregnancy is the most yogic thing one can do, or even an important yogic thing to do. As the saying goes: there are many paths to enlightenment. And most of us will tromp down a few of them on our way. But, I am saying we can find yoga in many places, in many forms, and maybe pregnancy is one of them. In any case, it’s a nicer image of pregnancy than the one about the morning sickness, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins 🙂