Becoming someone new - Pregnancy Yoga - Rachael Smith Yoga
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Pregnancy yoga - postnatal yoga - Rachael Smith Yoga

Becoming someone new

During my pregnancy yoga became anything but traditional yoga postures. Instead I stumbled into a practice that would evolve into something else. Something that would fully support me through the, never-ending, cyclical transitions that lay ahead.

As my pregnancy progressed I was surprised to find that hidden within the absolute joy of preparing to meet my growing baby, were periods of grief and anxiety about leaving behind the life that had defined who I was for such a long time.

It seemed that to fully embrace and experience becoming and being a mum, a certain degree of letting go was required. Movement became a way to shake off the layers and shapes of the past. And writing became a way of cataloging, making sense of and quieting the relentless thoughts of my mind.

When my beautiful and amazing baby arrived it was quite clear that the journey had only just begun and it was going to be epic. I was bombarded with so many emotions including pure and absolute love. But I was surprised to meet grief once again.

In just a matter of two hours I’d physically changed from being a strong, gloriously pregnant and radiant woman into something that felt frail, broken and exhausted. In the following few weeks as I had the realisation that my pregnancy had come to an end, I experienced moments of great sadness.

My body was completely unrecognisable, just as I’d settled into my new role as mamma-to-be it was gone, but no time to stop and think the journey was fast underway and it was time to become someone new once again.

Rachael Smith Yoga - Pregnancy Yoga Sheffield

But this is not the same for every woman

Far to often I’m seeing images of both pregnant and postnatal women, yoga practitioners and teachers, who approach both phases with what seems to be an attitude of,

“Despite being pregnant I can still…”

Or

“In spite of having just given birth I can already do… again”

Should we really believe and promote the image of a strong woman as being someone who in spite of her pregnancy, recent birth or the challenges of new motherhood has managed to maintain as much of her pre-pregnancy body, yoga practice or life as possible?

Or should we be embracing the cycles of life by promoting a change in our practices that welcomes and celebrates, ageing, soft bodies, huge cumbersome boobs and round wobbly bellies, excluding the desire to deny, hide or change them?

Despite societal pressure, in both my pregnancy and postnatal practice I stopped gripping onto the identity defined by the shapes I could make and the career I had chosen. Instead I embraced the opportunity to move into the unknown with the bodily wisdom and strength that motherhood inevitably brings.

Could you do the same?

Whatever stage of life you’re in at the moment, ask yourself if you are strong and flexible enough to let go of all that defines you, for the unknown of what and who you might become.

I believe we should fully experience this time because it will not last, this body will not stay the same. It’s inevitable, the next phase of life is coming, allow it to embrace and change you.

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