A quick search on Google produces various definitions of this familiar idiom. My favourite is:
A pause that gives the impression that it will be followed by something significant. (www.en.wiktionary.org)
I am now 15 weeks pregnant and I paused for nine of these. I’m now coming out of the other side and safely into my second trimester.
During my nine-week pause, I didn’t teach a yoga class. Making it into London for my freelance work felt less like a step too far and more like an entire staircase out of reach.
My world shrank. On a good day, I had the energy to make cheese on toast and who knew it was possible to throw up so unexpectedly and forcefully!
I found myself sharing the contents of my stomach with a motorway hard shoulder and then refuelling at a service station with an emergency Nando’s.
When I told this to a friend and yoga student, she said how she’d thought she’d be doing a modified ashtanga practice and drinking green juice during her pregnancies. Instead, she found herself lying on the floor eating peanut butter on white bread and bags of crisps.
And the changes your body goes through! In the very early days, I had such intense muscular sensations across the sacrum and back of pelvis, I could feel everything stretching and moving to make space for what was to happen over the coming months. The only thing that helped was child’s pose with a hot water bottle across the area.
At ten weeks I looked pregnant and I’ve been told that my ever-expanding boobs are now the temperature of the sun – by my fiancé, Rob, I hasten to add.
Although anything more than child’s pose and the occasional cat/cow eluded me for the length of my pause, the lessons of yoga were ever-present. Never before had listening to my body been quite so important. If I tried to get out of bed before 10am, I was sent running to the toilet, head over bowl, and then straight back under the duvet and my ginger oatcakes.
I concentrated on my breath when any pregnancy fears rose to the surface and the ‘what ifs’ threatened to take over.
I had to accept what was possible for me on that day as there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. This beautiful little being inside me has been totally running the show, gradually making its way through bigger and bigger fruit-based size comparisons (‘this week, your baby is the size of an avocado’).
In the ancient teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, on a battlefield, Krishna teaches Arjuna to do his duty. He’s a warrior facing a battle that doesn’t appeal. My duty right now is to do what’s best for our baby. And that has nothing to do with trying to advance through advanced ashtanga poses.
Now I’m able to leave the house more, I am appreciating the little things. I’ve made it to a yoga class and enjoyed being back amongst familiar faces. Just being able to move with my breath in a sun salutation has been an utter delight.
“The practice helps me to process things in life more effectively; that is important, as during pregnancy and the aftermath there is a lot for us, as mothers to process. The changes in our bodies – the hormones alone – can alter our perceptions and experience of life enormously.
… We are all so lucky to have this practice as a central and stable resource, bringing awareness and light into our lives and into our being.”
Lucy Crawford, taken from Yoga Sadhana for Mothers.
I am so grateful to Celia, Louise, Niki and Sam for covering my weekly classes. I’d also like to say thank you to my regular students who’ve known I’ve been pregnant for what feels like ages! All your emails and texts of support and congratulations have meant so much.
I will be back teaching from Monday 8 August. View the classes schedule to see what’s going on with classes during the summer.
In light of being in bed by about 9pm every night, I have decided to give up my Thursday evening yin class at The Yoga Hall, St Albans. It hasn’t been an easy decision and I thank all of you who have attended the class over the years. I have enjoyed our after-class natters over tea and fig rolls. I hope to see you soon and keep up the practice.
If you’d like to get an extra dose of yin, ashtanga or gentle yoga, Cathy and I have places on our October retreat near Bedford. View details.