Writing and editing

I often need parenting advice. Thankfully, I go to the studio everyday and there I can ask any number of sweet, sensible moms and dads for their two cents. Because we now live in little isolated family units, and since I can’t just go ask the village elder when I have a problem that I don’t want to email my sister about, I turn to the interweb to guide me. I am happy for the amazing resource that is the world wide web, but it does sort-of concern me for two reasons:

1. If I am raising my child through internet advice, that means other people are certainly doing the same and I’m not sure what that means for our kids because…

2. The interweb is full of crazies.

Recently, I googled “three year old won’t wash hair” because Holden screams and yells and generally freaks out whenever he gets his hair washed. We start out okay, until Holden gets worked up about a drop of water on his forehead. And then, without fail the whole thing ends in a big pile of shampoo, water, and tears. We reached a low point last month, when fed up after several months of the aforementioned screaming, I told him that his hair would have to be cut off if he couldn’t wash it without starting WWIII every week. That was a shitty thing to say, and it made him cry and freak out more. After I put him to bed that night I decided I had officially reached the end of my parenting skills on that particular issue. So I turned to the bastion of good parenting, Google.

There are always three distinct parenting camps on those discussion boards. There are the Yahoo Answers type, that generally favour corporal punishment, the BabyCenter moms that have week-long cutesy project ideas, and then the far-out radical parenting sites.

The three pieces of advice I gleaned from the discussion boards:

1. Smack your child so he knows who is in charge. (Yahoo Answers)

2. Buy foamy stars and beautiful shapes and stick them to the ceiling above your sink. Buy an insert to wash your child’s hair beauty parlour style in the sink. Make up nice songs and a short musical about hair washing. Build the sets and cast your pets in the production. Perform on the street for change and then use that money to take a course on towel making. Make the most beautiful soft towel and present it to your child in a candlelit ceremony at his favourite toy store. (babycenter)

3. My child hasn’t taken a bath in over a year. I forced him to wash once a year ago, and he cried. That night I lay on the kitchen floor and sobbed in the darkness for hours because I knew I had broken his trust forever. I vowed then to never force him to wash his hair. I can see that it is dirty and he has crusty spots on his scalp. Sometimes I gently suggest a bath and he says “NO BATH” I am sure he will take a bath one day. I know yours will too! (radical unschooling site)

Okay, so I exaggerated a little with number 2, but 1 and 3 are almost word for word suggestions by ACTUAL PARENTS who posted their opinions because they think they are doing right by their kids. That night in bed, I told David what I had read. We both lay awake feeling worried for our future.

The next morning, I understood something – something I felt I had known all along but it took some creepy parents to make it clear: Parenting is about being the fucking adult. All the time. Even when you want to cry in the kitchen for hours or hit someone or whatever crazy thing you think might be okay at the time but actually totally isn’t. You have to take a step back and take a breath and say, “Ok, self. I am screwing this up. It is my job to fix it.” And that is a really hard thing to do. At least for me because I like to blame other people for my problems. But this parenting stuff, this is my problem, my joy, my heartache. I alone have to answer for my actions or inaction.

That day, I asked Holden if he didn’t like getting water in his eyes. He said he didn’t. So, David held a towel over his eyes tightly while I washed his hair. Then we chanted his name for five minutes because he didn’t freak out. When he got out of the bath, he said he wanted to cut his hair. Voila! Stanny and David, 1. Google Parenting, 0.

Just so you don’t think I waste all my time googling parenting questions, today I googled historical photos of Bowood and Lawrence, where the studio is located in Toronto. I found this on the Toronto Public Library’s site.

It is St. Leonard’s Anglican church, it was moved further south. But the picture, and the implicit tumbleweeds, it made me think that our funny small location might be a little point of focus. And I was really happy. Amazing, no?

I also recently googled “What Girls Character Are You?” And I completed three different quizes which all came up with the EXACT same answer. Which means it is Poll Time!

Last week I was puked on before going into practice. I just kinda wiped it off and carried on. I don’t really have a pukey baby, but the other day he puked three times on the same sweater and I kept just kinda wiping it off. After the third time, I sniffed the air and – big surprise! – I totally smelled like puke. Is there some switch that goes off in your head when you become a mother that makes you indifferent to disgusting things (like puke on your clothes). I actually feel an incredible surge of happiness when I see Holden’s diaper is filled with poo. What is that? Gross.

The Jolly Jumper is still a shirt and tie. I have called Sears a few times now, and no one seems mystified that I received a shirt and tie with a sticker on it that says “Exercise Jumper”. The other night we heard a knock at the door and David sprang up, “JOLLY JUMPER!” We raced to the door and this is what came:

Better than a shirt and tie, but still difficult to modify into a Jolly Jumper. I decided to go to the Sears outpost station, which really makes me feel like I live in a Northern city, and return the shirt and tie. Jolly Jumper ETA = this Wednesday. Cross your puke covered fingers.

Holy, I am the worst blogger ever. I should really be listening to the results of the poll and reflecting on my practice – but honestly making time for the actual practice requires so much of my energy, I feel tired just thinking about blabbing on about what hurts. Well, Ok – I can say this: what has really been busting my boobs about this practice is the dailyness. Without regular sleep, I feel like every morning I wake up in horror to realize that it is time to get up and go into practice AGAIN. This whole thing is so Sisyphean. Sometimes, David will tell me it is OK to take a day off and relax, which if you practice at AYCT is not exactly his MO. But I’m so stubborn, or attached, or crazy – I feel I am obliged to go in.

David said this was his favourite interview: Shivers up my Spine. That makes it sound like he is interviewed all the time – which he isn’t really. But I do want him to start up a mysore consulting business. Dude had 110 students today in morning mysore. Anyway, I was initially daunted by the length of this article because I can only read things that are 100 words or less and contain pictures, plus I actually heard the entire conversation while I was nursing the baby. Still, Priya did a great job, and my hubby is quite articulate.

Enjoy!

And I promise to be a better blogger.

I’m still recovering from the Olympics. Holden has been waking up during the night every hour or so to eat and I am a total zombie. On Tuesday night, I felt I had reached a whole new level of sleep deprivation past the angry and sad phase and through “I can’t process information” phase into a totally new feeling where it actually hurt to move my limbs. Waking up to feed him, my shoulder would seize and my whole body was just wracked with soreness – like I had sprained every joint. So, I tried feeding him homemade rice cereal at night. Great success. I got four uninterrupted hours. Today, I swear I leapt onto my mat. Baby is certainly going to Harvard.

Super genius!

So, the Olympics! A mother of three won the Uth pluthi contest, and the prize was, of course, the Guruji book. The person who almost beat her, was a father of three who I don’t think was close to doing full lotus last year. It was pretty fantastic.  It made me feel all melty and happy. We had a downward dog chain race, a contest to see who could do the most garbha revolutions in 3 minutes (thank you LI Ashtangini – it was so freaking hilarious), and a utthita hasta padangusthasana c competitiion. The amazing winner of the garbha contest skinned his back – but other than that everyone came away unscathed.

Holden dressed up as his dad for Hallowe’en.

(photo by Sergio Lasky)

And we raised enough money to adopt another animal from Farm Sanctuary with left over to put towards a smaller animal or an emergency animal fund. Or Sprinkles’ dolla necklace. Tim was amazing, as usual, and we worked him to the bone. The photos came out gorgeous.

I was going through some of the videos of the adoptable animals and I came across this one of Angelo. Watch for Sprinnkles’ cameo appearance and careful your head doesn’t explode with happiness.

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Yesterday, I went on a nature walk with a tree enthusiast in High Park and Holden and I learned so much. Philip raced around picking up leaves and bits of grass answering all of our questions. I can distinguish red, white and black oak trees, I learned why people are compelled to mow their lawns, and Philip gave me bird seed and a chickadee landed on my hand and delicately picked out a seed. Let me repeat that: A bird landed on my hand. Wild bird. My hand. Landed. I’m Snow White.

HEAD ASPLOSION!

David had 100 students in our Mysore program today. Yep, 100. We had been hovering around 95 for the past couple of weeks and we were waiting to hit three digits. It was a busy Sunday, but it felt manageable. I’m not sure that why our little northern city has caught AYCT Mysore fever, but it has been exciting to see it grow over the past two years. We are so lucky to have such a strong, wonderful and obsessed community. We are truly blessed.

We watched The Runaways this weekend and I have been singing, “Don’t Give a Damn about My Bad Reputation” since. The other day we went to an opening party for a downtown vinyasa studio, which was fun and we are very proud and happy for nice  friends. But if real life was a musical, then David would totally be Joan Jett and Mercedes, Holden and I would be the Blackhearts and we would have walked into the party with faux-leather jackets singing that song. And then the vinyasa kids would be dressed up like Carly Simon and sing back to us, “You’re So Vain”. Awesome.

But of course, in real life we just huddled together until a few people came up to us and said “Hello”. When we got back in the car 20 minutes later Mercedes said, “God. No one likes you guys.” Hahaha! We have been up on Ashtanga Island for so long, but it was sort of delicious to be a fish out of water.

Running a Mysore program is like the anti-thesis to a good business model. You have to be there everyday, asking people to do the same impossible things all the time without deviation, and then you have to bug people, who have already purchased monthly or annual passes, to come more often. It doesn’t make any sense. But here we are.

To get more students I am thinking of making this our new logo:

It is a sign in South Africa warning: “Very Steep Ramp Leads to Crocodile Pit”. I’m not sure why they put crocodiles at the bottom of wheelchair ramps, it seems particularly unfair. But anyway, I think it makes an eye-catching logo. And our new tagline would be, “Modify and we feed you to the crocodiles”. We would totally hit 150 in a month.

This video by Toronto Body Mind was made a few weeks after the baby was born. We were such zombies taking turns rocking the baby to sleep for hours on end. In the video, I love the sort of sad gulp David does before saying he gets up at 3a every morning. Good thing he could talk eloquently about ashtanga under any circumstances. Too bad they didn’t catch any footage of the crocodiles.

http://www.vimeo.com/16290055

A few weekends ago, I went to a beautiful elopement party in the park with Holden. It was a perfect day and the ceremony was lovely. Afterwards, someone asked me if I always coordinated my outfits with Holden’s. I looked down at myself, and realized that 1) we were wearing the same colours 2) I was momentarily relieved to notice that I was, in fact, fully dressed.

A friend once told me about a woman they knew, who answered her door topless by accident. I now think that she must have been breastfeeding. That said, I did show up to my midwives appointment with my pants completely undone. They were being held up and obscured by the baby carrier. But the top button and the zipper were undone on the 40 minute subway ride to see the midwife. I only noticed the button was undone when I took off the carrier and handed the baby to the midwife and she gave me an odd look.

Holden’s Practice Notes:

The Buffalo crew from East Meets West are always so welcoming and fun to hang out with. Buffalo is really quite pretty if you aren’t just heading straight to the nearest Target, plus America is the land of a million vegan treats that you can’t get in Canada. This year, we discovered these:

Even the cashier at the store told us, “If you haven’t had these before, you are starting something you shouldn’t.” Oh lord. I am almost glad that we can’t get them in Canada. Now, why Buffalo – land of wings and almost winning football teams – has better vegan treats than Toronto, I have no idea. I just know if I lived here I would be 600 lbs and camped out at the Lexington Co-op.

So, while his mom is slowly slipping into a diabetic coma, Holden took a yoga class with the wonderful Sarah. Itsy Bitsy Yoga was so much fun, and Sarah said that Holden was a super genius for not crying. Ok, maybe she didn’t say he was a super genius but she might have mentioned Yale. I think our vinyasa should certainly include the song, “1,2,3,4 – I love you, forever and more!” I’ll write to Sharath – maybe at janu c?

Today we head home, I’m sad to say goodbye to all the desserts and the lovely peeps – but I’m excited to get back to our routine and see Mercedes and my mom.

I have been internetless in Farm Sanctuary over the past week. But I am going to make up for it with critter pictures!

AYCT sponsors a pig and a cow from Farm Sanctuary, which is a charity that does rescue and advocacy work for farm and food animals. Every year for the last three, David and I have travelled down to Ithaca, New York to visit the animals and spend time on the farm. It is a peaceful and beautiful place and it puts me in touch with why we are vegan.

This year we learned that Sprinkles, our pig had some medical problems due to his unnaturally large size. He wasn’t bred to reach this age, and he has developed leg and hip problems. He is on medication, but he seemed pretty content when I caught up with him again.

Samuel, our adopted cow, is in the special needs herd because he likes the senior citizens. He is also massive. He was pretty bothered by flies when we were hanging out and was swinging his head wildly from side to side, which is why we are keeping a respectful distance in the picture.

My favourite are the goats. Goats are friends with everybody, so you can always be sure of a warm reception in the goat barn.

Holden liked the goats too.

But the tour was pretty exhausting.

Practice Notes:

I practiced in YOGA PANTS for the first time in 6 weeks last Tuesday. Usually I practice in my undies at home, but that isn’t really acceptable attire at the studio. Yippee! It was stinking hot, but I had such a great time. I went up to Janu C and I did a backbend and full closing. At this point I have worked up to navasana with dropbacks, and David told me today that I am ready to finish primary, which I am a little scared about. Navasana is basically the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Trying to lift my feet off the floor for the pick up seems like a far away dream. My belly is still pretty numb from surgery, but I can keep plugging away at it.

I love the studio, I love being able to practice. Mercedes watched the baby and I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude that he has such a great older sister. It was such a gift to be back.

We are in Buffalo for the next few days, and by golly we have internet! I hope to update over the weekend with Holden’s practice notes. He took his first yoga class today. Super genius!

I’m still here.

Practice this week was short, sweet and mostly at home. I did standing, baddha konasana, my baby-prep squats, and then backbends. It is sort of strange for me to launch right into dropbacks, because I don’t have a particularly flexible back. But for some reason, cutting out primary series really leaves me with a ton of energy to do backbends. I’ve been enjoying that part of my practice immensely.

After spending the entire day weeping and staring at clouds in a melancholy manner yesterday, I decided I needed to change things up a bit and I went into the studio. I miss practicing there and seeing my friends. it was so lovely to be in all that great energy again, plus I got an assist in utthita hasta padangusthasana and backbends. It was great.

On the baby front, I have been getting ultrasounds every second day. The biggest drag is that I can’t book an appointment, so I have to wait hours to get a walk-in appointment. I have been to three appointments and so far the receptionist has been polite enough to pretend like I have never been there before. The Russian ultrasound technician, however, hasn’t. “What? You are still pregnant?” she said to me on appointment # 2. “You must speak to this baby.” What is it about a Russian accent that makes you feel like even the most outrageous request is somehow an absolute requirement? “Ok,” I muttered. Me and everyone I know is talking to the baby constantly asking it to come out. I held the phone up to my belly the other day so Monica could have some serious words with it. But that night, I thought to myself, maybe the baby hasn’t come because I haven’t spoken with it yet?

On appointment # 3, I had a different ultrasound technician. She took 30 minutes to take pictures, which is an unusually long time. At one point she told me she had to get somebody – and I got really frightened. Ultrasound technicians are notoriously cagey. There are signs up at eye level all over their offices that say they cannot discuss any findings. As I’m lying there, covered with blue gel and beginning to tear up – I start thinking about the phone tree that will take place before I hear the news: from the technician to the receptionist, from the receptionist to my midwife, from the midwife to me.

And in walks the Russian ultrasound technician. She takes the measurements in her usual brusk manner and then looks at me.

R. U. T.: Your baby is perfect. Just lazy. You can go.

I’m almost tempted to ask her if it is really mine, seeing as I am quite imperfect, and not at all lazy. But I stop myself,and instead spend the next five minutes wiping sticky blue gel off my clothes.

I found a picture of the baby and I the day we left Mysore. I thought I was soooo huge.

Sigh, I didn’t know how good I had it.

Here is a picture of me taken yesterday:

This one was taken the day before yesterday:

From my pictures, you might assume that I am always in the kitchen. That would be an accurate observation. You might also notice that the belly isn’t really round anymore, it is sort of lumpy and baby-shaped which is strange. In the first picture from Mysore, I had been eating gobi manchurian almost everyday. Sadly, I don’t anymore and the baby has used up all my gobi credit. Yesterday, I noticed that I can see my ribs before they disappear under the belly.

I finished reading The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker today. I loved The Fermata, but this one was much sweeter. I am an English Lit major, which means nothing, but I did spend a year of my life tapping out meter on worn out school desks. Even though every moment of that poetics class was like dragging my nose against the sidewalk,  with all that tapping I unwittingly became such a big snob about unmetered poetry, but an even worse snob about badly metered poetry – in particular iambic pentameter. What a life skill, I know – thanks McGill. But this book was all about iambic pentameter, and I felt my snobbery was somehow justified. Here is a little tidbit about sitcoms:

At some point you have to set aside snobbery and what you think is culture and recognize that any random episode of Friends is probably better, more uplifting for the human spirit, than ninety-nine percent of the poetry or drama or fiction or history ever published. Think of that. Of course yes, Tolstoy and of course yes Keats and blah blah and yes indeed of course yes. But we’re living in an age that has a tremendous richness of invention. And some of the most inventive people get no recognition at all. They get tons of money but no recognition as artists. Which is probably much healthier for them and better for their art.”

I wish I wrote that. It did make me feel sort of happy about my desire to write cheesy screenplays and articles about facials.

Critter Corner:

Baby Raccoons in our backyard! Big dum-dums!

David and I made a little video on Monday of my pregnant dropbacks.  My second one is a bit jumpy but I’m too lazy and pregnant to get it perfect – so you are stuck with the honest (OK sloppy!) version of how I dropback everyday. The real reason to watch this is for the belly.

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My belly dropped this week. I can see it started happening on Monday because my shirt is riding up in that video. I’ve been trying to coax baby out by walking around the garden and bragging about all the flowers, shaking rattles by my belly, and raving about how soft and nice the baby’s bed is. So far, I’ve just had some new cramping feelings – but the baby hasn’t come out while I am sleeping or anything.

Mary, the midwife, told the baby on Thursday that it was time to come out. She told me that I should start eating lots of Indian food, have lots of sex, and lie horizontally to reduce the swelling in my feet when I watch television. David says I have the best life ever. But then, it seems to work out for him pretty well too.

Actually, David is the best husband ever. When I came home today there was a package waiting for me from David that he bought all stealth-like online.

So great! I’m not opening it until the baby comes and I have to lie in bed for 2 weeks. David says we can glean good child rearing tips from the show. I hope there are lots of extras on Daddy, the world’s best pitbull.

I’m  bit of a busybody, but these last two weeks before the baby comes are supposed to be my time to relax and sleep. But the lawn NEEDS mowing! And the kitchen NEEDS cleaning! And I NEED to make pound cake! I’m getting really excited to meet the baby. Who has been in there this whole time growing, moving and hiccuping? It is such a gorgeous mystery. Sometimes, I feel like I know the person inside me. Other times, I feel so disconnected – like maybe this has all been a strange mistake and I should just be eating a little less pound cake.

When I was a little girl, I thought plane rides were big scams.You never felt like you were moving in a plane – the same way you move in a car or train or on a bicycle – the sky just stayed stationary around the windows. I wondered if maybe the plane would lift off the earth and then just hover midair until everyone below had reorganized the city to your destination of choice. Often I feel that movement and momentum, take off and landing, things are changing and moving in inexorable ways. But then I also feel liminal. I’m just waiting around, watching movies and feeling uncomfortable until someone tells me I have magically reached the place I am supposed to be.

Veronica has started a baby pool at AYCT. Everyday, I check for new possible answers – girl or boy? June 8th or June 1st? I dismiss all the answers that I don’t like – anything over 9 pounds is nonsense! anything past June 10th: crazy talk! But my guess is as good as any. Who, who is in there?

In my last post, I gloated about my ankles. Well, clearly instant karma has other ideas and only a few days later, my feet are lumps of dough that take the shape of and then rise up and swell over the rim of any shoe I wear. I’ve been strolling around in my mary janes lately, so I have these puffy little semi-circles on the top of my feet. I would post pictures, but no one needs to see that.

David make a little video of himself doing karandavasana. I haven’t made it up to there in my practice, and I have mad respect for women who can pull themselves back up – like the amazing Laruga, who I have seen do it in Mysore, India.

David’s video is cool because his head doesn’t touch the floor at all and his hands don’t meet when he comes back up. He is so crazy strong. Sometimes, when we are watching a movie, he will put his arm on my leg, and within minutes I can start to feel pins and needles.

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Last week, Larissa posted this video on my facebook. God bless her! I was growing weary of the slow loris and this is now my daily obsession.

http://www.vimeo.com/11712103

I’m going to go roll around in some food now.

p.s. Stay tuned: I have a little video of Pound Cake belly and I coming up in my next post.

I have almost two weeks to go until my due date, and I am having a little moment of gratitude towards my Ashtanga practice for carrying me so safely and happily to this point. Right around the time I conceived, I felt incredibly vital. The daily practice had really softened and opened up my body. I felt equal parts strong and flexible, and I was up to any yoga challenge the practice could throw at me. I guess in some ways, I got my biggest yoga challenge yet. So far, I haven’t missed a practice. I hope I can continue to practice up to the day I give birth

When I was about 8 weeks pregnant, Joanne Darby told me, “Pregnancy is an intuitive time, just listen to your intuition and you will be fine.” That statement has been my guiding light for the past 8 months. I do think my practice has helped me immeasurably during the pregnancy. I don’t feel ill or really that tired. I never got crazy hungry. And unless I am in 38 degree weather, my ankles are a fairly recognizable part of  my legs. My only craving so far has been for lemonade, which doesn’t seem all that bad. I also know I have been very blessed with an easy pregnancy thus far, but I’m aware that the regulating properties of the Ashtanga system, the dailyness and vinyasa krama, have given my body and my baby an anchor.

At 6 weeks when I found out I was pregnant, I asked my doctor what was contraindicated for pregnancy particularly for the first 12 weeks when miscarriages are so common. I mentioned twists, backbends, jumping in vinyasas, and working up a sweat. My doctor, who isn’t usually nonchalant, brushed off my concerns. I went into further detail:

S: But we twist in half-lotus, against our knees! I drop backwards on to my hands! The room is a million degrees!

Dr.: You can stay in bed, or you can continue your regular activities. But either way, if nature intends you to keep this pregnancy, then you will keep it.

I thought that was a little granola for her regular bio-medical party line, but that has since been confirmed to me by other doctors and midwives. Miscarriages are natural and devastatingly common whether you do everything by the book or not. I can understand why people look for answers as to why miscarriages happen. All the reasons I have heard about why they occur from other people (she ran, she twisted, she jumped, she fell) seem to be trained on limiting the mother’s mobility and blaming her for whatever might go wrong. I decided to practice for the rest of my first trimester, but only because I felt like it.

David told me to stick to standing series for the remaining 6 weeks I had in my first trimester. In India, I don’t think Sharath would teach a pregnant woman for the first 3 months but that makes sense to me because he wouldn’t have a chance to have a regular and sustained teaching relationship with anyone because of his schedule. I did standing for a few days, but I wasn’t sick or nauseous and I felt better moving than sitting around. So after two days, I asked David in the car before Mysore if I could do the rest of primary. A week later, my backbends were still feeling good, and I asked if I could add on dropbacks, and that was OK too. The week after that I added on some intermediate, and David crouched down beside me in the room and said, “Umm. No. Just wait until 12 weeks.”

And the two of us just started a dialogue that went pretty much like that for the rest of the pregnancy. I get treated like any other student in the room, I get pulled up to the front, and my alignment is gently corrected. David has said no to me only one other time when I wanted to do kapotasana again in my 8th month. And he was right, both times.

Before I went to India in my second trimester, I practiced up to supta vajrasana. I wasn’t that big, so I rolled up two blankets and put one under my chest and the other under my pelvis for the intermediate backbends on the belly. In India, I practiced full primary. I wanted to be just another student in the room, not the pregnant lady who needs a lot of attention. I was so grateful that Sharath let me do what I could everyday. He told me to do trikonasana twice instead of twisting in the revolved version, but that was all. In retrospect, although it would terrify me when Sharath or Saraswathi would put me in some horrible spot in the room, they were treating me like any else – capable and strong. I think that says a lot about the two of them, considering the culture they live in – i didn’t see a single pregnant woman during my stay.

Now, I do primary, a non-twisty-more-squatting version of pasasana, krouchasana, ustrasana and then dropbacks. I do my full closing, because according to Saraswathi and the medical professionals I have talked to – the baby won’t turn around just because I am upside down. Although, the lovely midwife who practices at our studio told David that they recommend inversions when the baby is head up to try and move it head down, which is pretty cool.

Once you get pregnant, your body becomes everyone else’s business. You are relatively autonomous one day, and the next you are subject to a host of opinions – some kind, some a little mean but all well-intentioned. Certainly, most people have an opinion about Ashtanga and pregnancy and I have heard just about everything under the sun. While pregnancy is a condition, it isn’t disease or an illness. I think the misconceptions we spread about pregnancy and fitness are little off-shoots of misogyny. People would tell me not to do one pose or another, but then some people would also tell me that they thought I was having a boy because girls make you look fat and tired. Most of it is a big load of crap.

Pregnancy is crazy and amazing, and I think like parenting it defies expectations, fairness, and rules. It is nice to imagine that everyone will fit the same identifiable shape or follow the same developmental steps, but it seems to me that just like you get the kid you need, not the kid you think you want – you also get the pregnancy you need.

I do really hope that anyone reading my little blog will trust in themselves and the practice throughout pregnancy. I remember when I first got pregnant, and I read everything I could find about pregnancy and Ashtanga. Most of it was so incendiary, I remember one woman writing about how if you do headstand the baby’s arm will poke through the uterus. It made me so frightened to practice (Ok – not the baby’s hand thing – I have managed to retain a scrap of common sense throughout the past 9 months). To be honest, I’m not sure what the motivation is to scare women off practice. David has really helped me by letting me work, get sweaty and try every morning, but he has also helped by telling me when enough is enough and I need to soften and relax. Every morning, I don’t have to think or worry about what I should or shouldn’t be doing. My body and my baby are my guides. They surprise me everyday with what I can achieve.

I do less asana, but I think this pregnancy has made my practice much stronger.

(photos by Tim Bermingham)

Next post: I promise way more aliens and cockroach vampires and way less sycophantic yoga talk.