Be Here Now: How Prenatal Yoga Grounds You To The Present While You’re Expecting.
By: Elizabeth Carroll
When you find out you are pregnant, your brain immediately jumps to the future. Will it be a boy or a girl? What will you name your baby? How will you give birth? Where will you send your child to school? Even the way we speak about the baby is in future terms—“when the baby comes” or “after the baby arrives” and “we’re expecting!”—as if it has yet to come into being, or it lives in a far away warehouse awaiting shipment.
Future focused thoughts like these are often sprinkled with nostalgia for the past—like the not-so-far-behind-you days when you could actually button your jeans and enjoy a cocktail.
Mothers on the other side of childbirth are always saying how quickly time passes. “Enjoy this moment!” they insist. But with the build up of anticipation—not to mention the physical discomforts and emotional ups and downs that sometimes accompany pregnancy—finding pleasure in the present can be hard to do!
You may also find it difficult to connect with your baby before it is born, especially in the early trimesters before you begin to feel the baby’s kicks and squirms. Although the baby is actually physically attached to you at this point, how the baby looks and its personality—these things that help us create bonds with fellow humans—are yet unseen. It’s easy to be impatient to meet this little stranger growing inside of you!
For all these very normal reasons, the tendency during pregnancy can be to dwell everywhere but the present! So how can we truly “be here now” while we are expecting?
One excellent tool is prenatal yoga. Even if you have a full time job, or you have other little ones at home, taking time for at least one class each week can make a difference in your experience of this special time.
Our physical bodies are what root our mind and spirit to the here and now. Nurturing our bodies through healthy habits is one way to ground our selves to the present. Prenatal yoga in particular can be a way to connect our mind and spirit to the very physical experience of pregnancy.
In prenatal yoga class, we slow down, leave work and other worries outside, listen to our bodies, and check in with our babies. Through yoga postures, and deep, steady breaths, we take each moment, one by one. As we move and breathe through each posture, we gain more focus and we may find it becomes easier to sort through in our minds what is important and what is superfluous. We take note of the incredible changes in our physical bodies and the subtle movements of the baby inside. We become more in tune with ourselves—body, mind, and spirit. For some of us, prenatal yoga class is one of the few times during the week we can sit still and focus on ourselves as mothers, and on the tiny being hidden in our womb.
In addition to these internal connections (to our bodies, our breath, our inner thoughts, and our babies), prenatal yoga class can also ground us to the present by external means through community with other mamas-to-be. This community can be such a comfort and strength during the difficult parts of pregnancy. The relationships you make with other expecting moms often carry over after childbirth when community is probably even more vital! And, you already know you have at least a couple things in common with these women: 1) you are each pregnant, 2) you have each chosen yoga.
Enjoy these moments.