You guys! You guys! I MADE IT. Henry turned six weeks old last week, so off we schlepped to the lady doc for my postpartum check-up. The appointment went just okay — I’m not quite as recovered as I hoped or they expected — but I’m cleared to ease back into exercise. I would have said JUMP, but the just okay part will scale me back to ease. I’ll take it.
Since Henry’s arrival I’ve really been missing yoga, both for the absolute presence of mind and the well-stretched, relaxed and gently worked muscles. All of the nursing, burping, and carrying has the left side of my neck, shoulder, and back feeling mangled.
The afternoon of my all-clear, I unrolled my mat in the living room, popped a Rodney Yee DVD into the system and plopped Henry in his boppy at the top of my mat. Let’s see how this goes, I thought to myself. A new normal is right. Truth be told, we only made it 21 minutes before Henry was over it, but in the meantime, he was a champ and kept me laughing. The DVD was super slow paced (I wouldn’t use that one again) but it was sort of great for a reintroduction with a baby on my mat. Henry seemed to get a kick out of it, cooing and smiling whenever the vinyasa took me through plank pose and up-dog (Hello, Henry! I’d remark, kissing his feet on the way through) and then getting distracted when I wasn’t calling his attention. It worked.
A few nights later, Nik was home from work a bit early for an appointment so I decided to take the plunge and venture out solo for a class at a local studio, Dancing Crow Yoga. I’ve been there off and on before (more off than on, but including my prenatal classes), and decided to try the Flow then Slow community class. It couldn’t have been more perfect for my first real night back.
First of all, the teacher, Megan, was really sweet and chill. There were only four of us in the class, so it was nice and low key and intimate, too. Before class Megan asked if there was anything in particular we wanted to focus on and I piped right up to mention my shoulders and another woman said her low back, so I knew I should walk away feeling good. We started with a nice, easy flowing vinyasa and I was surprised it felt even moderately challenging, but then I’ve been away awhile. I settled into my body and breath and worked really hard to be present, especially considering just how aware I was that my little guy was home without me!
Megan talked us calmly and methodically through class, talking through poses and intermittently adding a thought about the body or practice. When she told us the beauty of yoga was to work with the body we are in right now, I wouldn’t have been totally shocked if an actual light bulb turned on over my head. What a perfect reminder for this new mom.
Halfway through class we switched from vinyasa to restorative (flow, then slow), which was heavenly. I used to be kind of skeptical about piles of props in yoga class — and yes, I was the naive and snotty one who sort of poo-pooed blocks until I realized how much deeper they help you work — but now I embrace them completely. In this class, my truly blissful moment was thanks to supported child’s pose.
It went like this: two blocks were places on the lowest setting with one at the top of the mat and one about halfway down. Our bolsters were places on top (like a bridge) and blankets went on top of the bolsters. Then, we eased into a child’s pose, with our arms wrapped around the bolster and blanket like a hug. With my legs tucked behind me, my torso stretched out, and my face resting on one cheek I realized just how much I was laying like my infant son… and why he likes that position so much. Bliss!
One of these days he’ll be old enough and aware enough of his extremities to demonstrate happy baby, I’m sure.