“OK gals, let’s close our eyes and breathe.” The yoga teacher tries to get the three of us to settle down. It takes a few giggles, but a few minutes later the room fills with the sound of our rhythmic breathing. Once we’ve settled enough she starts the class; “Let’s take down dog.”
I place my hands flat on the floor and I push back into the requested pose. The movement that was so easy to effect just a few months ago makes me groan deeply today. My belly hangs heavy and my muscles strain with the effort of holding my body up. As we shift from pose to pose I start to limber up, but the effort is taking it’s toll. My breath grows heavy and my arms start to shake. After a few more poses I sit down and take a break while the other girls continue on with their practice. I can justify sitting still while they move because they are doing poses that require them to lie on their bellies, but really I know that it’s because I can no longer keep up.
Two weeks ago I had almost no problem holding each pose and modifying the ones I couldn’t take because of my burgeoning belly. Last week I missed class because I was home battling a stomach bug. Today I can feel the difference those 14 days have made. It’s harder to bend over and twist. I’m more often out of breath and I need to walk more slowly.
As the skin on my belly stretches more each day the discomfort grows. The baby is lodged high up in my ribcage and she pushes and shoves against the constricting bones. I spend hours each day picking up C and loading her into the car, the crib, the highchair or her changing table. My lower back complains bitterly when I finally lie down at the end of the day, cramping painfully for a few minutes until it finally relents and relaxes.
For the last 33 weeks the yoga has kept me sane. It helps keep me supple and on my feet. I’m determined to keep it up for the next 6 weeks, but I have to admit, it’s going to be a stretch…