A Yoga Story by Tara Nobles- Guest Post

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always tried to get me to participate in a yoga class, but I pushed the idea aside at every mention of it.  I have been a dancer, and now a professional dancer, for as long as I have been walking, so the idea of adding an extra workout to my weekly schedule didn’t sit too right with me.  It wasn’t until I became sick and had to quit dancing for a year that I considered the thought.

During my year off, I lost a father, my boyfriend at the time joined the Navy, and one of my organs had begun to fail.   All of those events led me into a deep depression surrounded by a sea of anxiety.  I couldn’t leave my house or go into any store without panicking and I hated that I had become such a fragile human.  Medications weren’t helping and I had tried to go back to dance, but I just couldn’t manage it.  One day, during a class at Cape Fear, I fell to the floor in a panic.  I couldn’t move and I couldn’t bring myself to breathe right.  My teacher walked me to the campus security office and had an officer walk with me to Disability Services where one of the employees mentioned the idea of yoga to me.  After doing a breathing exercise with me, the woman told me that it was actually a yoga practice, and so I decided to give yoga a try.

During the fall semester of 2016, I had started dancing with a group in Wilmington and I was trying to go to school full time.  I was finally on a thyroid medication and an antidepressant to help treat my disease, but I still wasn’t fully treated.  Around Christmas time of that year, I noticed that Cape Fear was offering a yoga class and I jumped at the opportunity.  In spring of 2017, I joined my first ever yoga class and I fell in love with it.  So much so that I ended up getting my certification to teach.  I learned so much during that semester and I was finally able to leave my house and become the “independent adult” that I had always wanted to be.  Since taking Yoga I and becoming certified myself, I have learned tools to help myself in everyday life as well as help others.  I want to share my experience of yoga with everyone I meet and I hope to continue to teach in the future.  My friends and other students that I have taught have mentioned to me how much their lives have changed since they started the practice of yoga.

I’m not sure what I would have done with myself if I had not taken the Yoga II course offered during one of the five week summer sessions.  I have grown so much as a person and I have helped so many along the way.  Because of yoga, my anxiety has subsided and I have been able to start working.  I honestly have no idea where I would be today, mentally and physically, if I had never taken the opportunity to try yoga.  I know for a fact that I would not have succeeded this much in my academic life and my mental health without it and I hope to continue to introduce others to the wonderful practice of yoga.  I would like to thank my school and my teacher for helping me to discover this amazing practice.

Namaste

This is the start of a new set of stories shared by my students on their yoga experience. Tara has transitioned from a student of yoga to a yoga teacher beautifully. She has a talent for reaching people in a unique way and I expect we will all see great things from her on her yoga journey. Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

A Yoga Story by Kody – Guest Post

So to start this off let me add some details of how I became to take yoga I. I have always been the type of student who seems to take too many credits and then get overwhelmed. The fall semester of 2016 I decided to take 17 credit hours and my advisor mentioned that it may get stressful. So my thinking was I could find an easy class to take away my stress. Well I was looking for an easy/less stressful class. Under the physical educational section it listed Yoga I. I thought to myself that only women take yoga and I would not be welcomed in. At first I was accepting that this class could not be my stress reliever. Somehow I overcame that fear and said I will try it. I walked in on the first day of class and saw 2 other gentlemen and instantly was at peace with taking Yoga I. I did not know anything about yoga nor had I ever thought I would enjoy it. After taking yoga I, I can proudly say that I’m becoming a yogi as I keep going deeper with my practice.

At first I was really stressed with my classes and struggled with worrying about quizzes and tests. However, right before I take a quiz or a test, I tried something new. I would sit there and meditate and become confident before attempting the quiz or test. Then I dove in and completed it. I notice a night and day difference in just my calmness as well as my grades. The outcome was phenomenal so I made a promise to myself that every quiz or test from here on out I’m going to mediate before taking it to calm down.

I have always had a horrible sleep schedule and noticed when taking 17 credit hours it felt like I was constantly up past 1 am. While taking yoga I noticed that I was getting tired around the time I should be instead of staying up late every night. I can actually get a full 8 hours of sleep instead of the 6 hours of sleep I use to get. This may not seem like a change but I also noticed a change in myself, I had more energy! The day felt longer and I had more energy to get things done.

When we learned the chakras I instantly took into account that I needed to work on getting mine aligned. I know can say I have a better alignment on them then I did beforehand. I do not really think that my chakras are completely aligned but they are much better, and it is personal to me. The fact that I have opened my eyes to certain things about me and shed some light on my strengths and weaknesses is truly amazing.

When we hit the different types of yoga, I incorporated it into my own style. I wake up and instantly do some stretching and then do 10 sun salutations and then I mediate for 20 minutes on what I need to do today and how to make my day better than yesterday. This helps me tackle what I have planned and helps me keep short hand goals on target. I noticed that by incorporating this I am more of a morning person to others, rather than being rude and not talking, I will talk your ear off. It also wake me up really well, gets my blood flowing and feeling good to take on the day. Now I know that by just these little things you may not think it’s wonderful, but to me I feel better doing it my way, it is my yoga.

When we entered yoga II it was even more of an eye opener, we went in depth with hitting the each chakra more in detail and also hitting all of the aims of life. It was crazy to see how certain poses opened up unknown strengths and even on some days the weaknesses of not being able to do those poses. Throwing in a bit of vinyasa and hot yoga along with deep relaxation, it was a wicked fun semester going into detail and hitting lots of points on these types of yoga. I now try to do a faster paced yoga session once a week to get my blood flowing and heart pumping. I told myself that I would maybe drop a few pounds and I actually dropped 10 lbs. by kicking it up a notch and testing my limits.

As I enter the last week of yoga II I look back and could not believe on how far I have become. I can do poses now where back then I did not think I’d ever be able to. Some of the poses I need help on getting them correct but for the most part I would say I am ready to hit up a studio and try another class.

As for my future goals, I set kind of 2 goals. One of them is to keep pursuing my own practicing of yoga and to keep pushing myself to those limits. And the other goal is to try out a class and become an avid member. Hopefully I will survive it and fit in. Thank you Mrs. P for teaching me yoga!

This is the fourth and final post in the series of stories shared by my students on their yoga experience. As the only male student to complete both of my yoga courses, I am in awe of his talent, commitment, and insight. And, Thank You to Amanda for the forum to tell these stories.

My Yoga Story – Guest Post

My first exposure of Yoga ever was Yoga 1 at Cape Fear. Obviously I had little exposure, but I knew there were crazy poses that I thought would increase my flexibility. Initially, I took yoga because I was going to have a hard semester and I needed an extra credit hour. Unknowingly, I would find one of my new passions.

Beginning yoga, we were taught how to breathe. We were taught how to meditate, which I was awful at first. I did not quite understand how to do it until I started researching it on my own time. I like to understand the science to things, which is what really drew me to mediation once I started my research.

There are scientific studies showing the positive effects of meditation. It can actually physically change your mind. It is proven to reduce stress, improve clarity, helps your figure things out, and depending on the meditation, it can help you find bravery in yourself, realize your goals, and just like that, it did for me.

Beginning daily meditation and practicing yoga more often, I began to notice a change in myself. Not only was my anxiety getting better, but overall I was becoming a better me. I was being more mindful, focusing on the things I need to improve. When I first learned about chakras, I was like “hm.. not sure how much I believe this”, but the principal of it is something that I think everyone could use. Beginning with the root chakra, all the way up to the seventh one, helps you realize the things in your live that need fine tuning. Sometimes, one chakra could be excessively open or closed. My throat chakra needed work. I needed to start voicing things more, I needed to speak up when I was upset about something instead of holding it in and dwelling. Which is another thing I learned from yoga, you cannot hoard bad thoughts and negativity. Yoga has taught me and is still teaching me more and more about myself. That is why I will continue to practice more and more. With my meditation, my poses, and realizing more about myself. Yoga is helping me learn who me is, and the me I want to be.

This was the second in the series of posts shared by my students on their yoga experience. I greatly appreciate this student’s willingness to share her journey and another great Thank You to Amanda for the forum to tell these stories.

My Yoga History – Guest Post

“It is only through proper and unselfish meditation that the student can finally enter the temple of the undistracted mind, and in silence and aloneness come to the realization of the One Ultimate Reality and the pace beyond understanding”

Yoga for Americans

Devi

It’s harder to meditate when we need it the most, specially if we feel unhappy. But why do we feel unhappy? Ones feels unhappy when trapped in a situation, when it is impossible to leave some things to get others. “It takes courage…”

My experience with breathing and meditation is getting better, and our class Yoga II is giving me the courage to the changes I’m making in my life. To be strong is key for nurturing my mind, soul and body, and to keep me going through the difficulties and tasks of life. But still now at my 58 years old, and knowing the importance of meditation, it has been impossible to sit 20 minutes at the same time every day, and just ….Meditate.

I confess that I have never been able to do so, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t meditate. I meditate in class, and sometimes when I get up in the mornings, but I also I meditate with activities like swimming, walking, praying, and even driving!

The asanas like the Warrior Pose are very nurturing, and revealing. When adopting the pose first I see like a movie of what I have achieved in life, and how long and difficult is the way ahead. Virabhadrasana is very powerful for women of all ages, but in my case when I raise my arms perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other (Warrior One), I just get my strength back. Then, it comes Warrior Two: The arm behind represents the past, and the one in front, the future.

And I’m in the present, seeing how life is taking place, through my breathing. Then, I give thanks. I am very thankful of all my teachers, the ones that are making me understand that is only me for me. We come to this world alone, and we will leave alone, no matter how many people we have surrounding our deathbed.

So thinking in the future, I know I have to start to limit indulging. My body needs to be strong and straight, balanced, and my gaze firmly looking ahead. I’m fortunate because I can have a fresh start, even that I have to  live with a little of arthritis and my hip hurts. I have a beautiful family, I have travel thousands of miles, I’ve met interesting people, and I have had money to spent.

But with the “acceleration of the times” I don’t know what will happen to the human being. I have never lived in war, I was never experience sexual violence, so I’m really grateful. But I think that even if the war comes, if I practice my warrior and restorative poses, and meditate everyday in any way I can, I know I will know how to react.

I don’t want to stop achieving goals in my life, but if the way ahead is long and difficult, my breathing and the poses will support me. And when is my time to go, I won’t be afraid. Yoga and Faith go together in me, and I’m fortunate to live to cultivate them.

Namaste.

 

This was the first in the series of posts shared by my students on their yoga experience. I greatly appreciate this student’s willingness to share her journey and another great Thank You to Amanda for the forum to tell these stories.

Zeelie’s Take on Yoga – Guest Post

Today I present the fourth and final story from my students who took Yoga II over the summer. Zeelie has been my youngest student at the college level of teaching. I have been so proud of how disciplined she is in her yoga and in life decisions. She is a strong woman and I’m proud to have known her at this stage in her life!

Honestly, I don’t really know where to begin. As a kid I did some yoga, but it was never really yoga. At least it wasn’t the yoga that I know now. I had always seen it as something that women do. I always felt that when I got older I was going to wake up at sunrise and do it everyday on my front porch. To me, that’s what it was. It was something that mothers do to stay in shape. I never knew anything about it passed the physical practice.

When I took yoga one last semester, some of my main reasons for taking it were because I needed an elective, and because it would help get me into shape a little bit. I had known that there was going to be a little bit more to it than that, but never thought I would really get into it. But I did. I haven’t picked up the whole lifestyle, and I don’t think that I will, but there are a lot of little things that I have incorporated into my daily life.

One of the biggest things that I do now is different breathing techniques. Going through PT for the Marines, I am constantly battling with myself in my head. But I can remind myself to Just Breathe. Focusing on my breathing, and using different techniques that I learned in yoga one, have helped me to push myself further in PT. It’s taking my mind off of my physical activity, and focusing it and on one small thing.

Yoga has given me more discipline. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy when I took the class. An easy A, sure, but not physically.  I didn’t expected to be hard, but I did know that I was going to have to push myself a little bit. I ended up having to push myself a lot more mentally than physically. While I knew that I had the physical capabilities of doing a lot of these poses, mentally I battled with being able to hold them.

Meditation, as well as the breathing techniques, has helped me to be able to push myself to hold them longer. That further has helped me in my day-to-day life with getting upset. I have a very short temper, so me learning to discipline myself in one area, has helped and others. I really enjoyed my first actual yoga class, and so I decided to take yoga two.

I wasn’t expecting to jump further into the yoga life, and I didn’t, but the longer and more profound meditation points have helped me realize a lot. Practicing yoga has helped me a lot as an individual. Not only physically, but mentally, and emotionally. I have a memory of one day a few weeks into my first yoga class, we were in the middle of a meditation, and I just started crying. I don’t think that anyone noticed it, but I had just become overwhelmed with emotion. I don’t remember what we were meditating on, or what realization or thought that I had, but I will always remember that moment. I had just become intensely happy.

Since that moment I have had more like it. Driving in my car I will be deep in thought and just become really happy. And I always think back to that moment. I would like to think that I will continue to practice yoga, and I currently do intend to. For me practicing yoga is more mental than it is physical or spiritual or anything else. It is probably the best way for me to de-stress, and to think. Even if at some point in my life I get too busy to find the time to physically practice yoga as often as I would like, I know that I’m definitely going to still take a lot of the principles and ideals into my day-to-day life.  Even if at some point I completely fall out of the physical practice, the personal practice will always stay with me.

Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

Kat’s Lion of a Yoga Tale – Guest Post

Today I present the third story from one of my students who took Yoga II over the summer. She found me at my race last year and (I am grateful she did this) tracked me down in yoga at CFCC. I have had the great pleasure of getting to know her and hope her LION strength will always fill her Kat heart!

My first introduction to yoga was like many others. I joined a Shapes Fitness, women only gym, and being daunted by the countless machines and weights, decided to start with group fitness. I saw a yoga class on the schedule and thought to myself “let me just ease into gym life by trying out yoga.” So, I came in all prepared in my new Adidas yoga pants and mat that I had bought the weekend before, not really knowing what to expect. I was really nervous so I parked my mat next to the back, the best location to make a speedy exit. Around me were all women of different shapes and sizes which made me feel somewhat more confident. As the class started I quickly realized that it was not the “ease” I was looking for but my stubborn nature kept me from fleeing the scene. The gentle lilt of the instructor telling the class to focus on our breath as it fills our lungs all the way up to our chest cavity was a stark contrast to the personal struggle happening over at my mat. My limbs were trembling as I strained to hold this pose and tried to contort my body in ways it has not experienced in quite some time, if ever, and somehow I was supposed to BREATHE while doing all this? I tried to slow my rapid, shallow breaths with only slight success. At long last, we entered into final relaxation a wave of peace and tranquility came over me. From that moment on, I was hooked and I knew I had to come back for more. Yoga made me feel relaxed and less stressed over situations beyond my control. I felt good mentally and exercising was making me feel good physically. Fast forward a year and I took a detour from my yoga journey. I had started to work 3 jobs and tried to balance that with school which meant yoga got placed on the back burner. Just as quickly as it started, it was forgotten.

Four years, a heartbreak, a new home, and a few states further, I finally reconnected with yoga. At the time, I felt like I was pretty close to rock bottom. The heartbreak felt like the most devastating moment in my life. I had been dating this guy for 3 years and I was happily living with him and the relationship started to feel like something was not right. I eventually found out he was cheating on me with a 16-year-old that was still in high school. The future I envisioned with the two of us collapsed as well as my happiness. I turned to that dark head space where I questioned what I did wrong, was I not pretty enough, and how could he do this to me- to us? So, I called my Dad and asked him if he had room for me at his place, and he did. I quit my 3 jobs and packed anything that would fit in my car and left the rest behind. I went from having my own apartment in Florida to living with my step-mom and dad in North Carolina. Living with my parents after having my own place was a tough transition. Between that, my break up, and having no friends in this new environment caused me to be an emotional wreck. My dad didn’t raise a quitter so I started to go back to school here. When I had the opportunity to take Yoga I at an institutional level a seized the moment. I had felt my emotional best when doing yoga before and I recognized the need to get back to that healthier place.

The great thing about yoga, is even when you haven’t done it in a while, it’s like meeting with an old friend, eagerly awaiting with open arms. I’m really not sure what I was expecting by taking yoga at a college but the class far exceeded what I could possibly imagine. I think to take the class for the semester ended up costing me roughly $150 but it was worth every penny. I looked forward to going into class every day. The poses were great but even better than that was the philosophies behind yoga. This class is so therapeutic and truly allowed me to heal.

Every discussion expanded my perspective on the topic. I felt challenged to think outside the box and loved contributing my view points. The mental work was difficult, but also, extremely rewarding. If you want the answers to the age-old question who you are and what you are supposed to be doing with your life, this course really will help you with that. Now don’t get me wrong potential naysayer, it wasn’t like all of the sudden I had an epiphany and had all the answers. I had to work hard and think over the questions Mrs. P asked and meditate over them and I felt significantly more confident about who I am and what I want to do. I even changed my major after this course to something that would make me happy to do rather than worrying about playing it safe and studying a degree that I was not that enthusiastic about. The answers were inside of me all along and Mrs. Pappas helped me find them buried deep down, like the hidden treasures that they were.

I felt forlorn as Yoga I came to a close; I was not ready retire my yoga mat. I could do fitness yoga, which is great, but it doesn’t have the philosophical aspect that yoga I offered me. I took the plunge and signed up for yoga II. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the more complex physical aspects of yoga II and trying out yoga fusions kept class fun. I went further down the rabbit hole in the philosophies of yoga and meditation. Learning about Buddhism and Hindu deepened both my understanding of where yoga came from and also my meditative practices. Now that yoga II is over I will have to find another outlet to continue my practice.

For now, the plans are to continue the Perfect Body Yoga Challenge created by Bad Yogi. It is all about self-love and being content in the present moment. I would like to eventually do yoga teaching training to deepen my practice and continue to learn more about yoga both on and off the mat.

Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

Tales of Yoga – Guest Post

Today I present another story from one of my students who took Yoga II over the summer. She is a wonderful soul with a passion for reading. I have loved seeing her grow in her yoga practice throughout this year and truly enjoyed the day that we were able to chat and practice together, even if those balance poses tried to get the best of us.

I choose to sign up for yoga because I was taking 5 other classes and need a gym and thought “well this takes care of my gym and with be relaxing and fun.” I was right it was very fun and enjoyable.

I’m supper shy until I get comfortable around someone and I have social anxiety. If I never had to leave my house I wouldn’t. And going to a class where I didn’t know anyone was tough at first until I started to relax with everyone else in class. I also have self-image issues and I know I’m overweight and I thought throughout my first couple of classes that everyone was going to stare because I know that I’m not the most flexible person in the world and wouldn’t be able to do most poses. Turns out I was wrong there where a lot of people who could do some poses and everyone was very nice and welcoming.

Yoga has also helped in my everyday life, for example with my insomnia. Every night when I find myself tossing and turning I stop and put myself in a comfortable position and do some meditation and deep breathing which puts me right to sleep and I really love sleeping. Trying to live a more yoga life is hard because I LOVE LOVE meat! I am a meat eater and I’m not apologetic about it. But I understand why people choose to cut out meat or dairy products when choosing to live a more yoga life (kudos to you, I wouldn’t be able to survive.). I also have tried to be kinder and more understanding when something upsets me or I get frustrated I stop and take a deep breath and say “don’t let this get to you. It’s just a small thing and it won’t make you mad.” I then count to ten and I have noticed that this helps me not get into as many bickering matches with my sister and mother, which help me improve those relationship.

So over all I really like yoga and I believe that I will continue to practice it and try to have it in my everyday life. Thank you Mrs. P.

Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

12 Years of Yoga: NETA Yoga

A quick thank you to Amanda for hosting a platform on which I can tell part of my story!

When I started teaching NETA Yoga it was a course written by Linda Christy Weiler. It was a different type of yoga exposure for me as some of the material was more “Mind” than the “Body” portion I’d originally been trained with and had previously worked with. During this time I kept practicing the way I always had and thought still little about the impact of the other parts of yoga.

I started teaching for a ballet studio early in the mornings and about two months after that first workshop I was pregnant with my second. I do believe that my yoga practice and the way I look at life since becoming a mom has helped me to get pregnant and to stay healthier than I ever have been. I eventually left the ballet studio after a few months and continued to teach online for ECU and travel for NETA through the end of my pregnancy. I remember going to a workshop when I was a few months pregnant and running off of the plane and into a bathroom to vomit. It didn’t help that there was a seafood restaurant right near the gate.

I was a little less cautious with the second baby and traveled by air, ate a little more seafood (but not more than recommended), ate at restaurants more, and didn’t nap constantly when I felt tired. I also walked almost every day with friends around the neighborhood and tried to stay as mobile as possible with my toddler in tow. I even did gymnastics with him (including trampoline) for awhile longer than most. I was lucky again to not really show much during my pregnancy until the end.

I used my yoga a lot this pregnancy in practicing how I wanted to deliver. I also used a lot of cow/cat at the direction of my midwife to turn the baby around because he was sunny side up. My delivery again didn’t go anything as planned and after my baby was here I was left without work to do.

The wonderful people at NETA that I work for were nice enough to let me do some curriculum work for them and as I did such a good job in that area, I got a new and even more exciting task to do with a newborn…..write a yoga manual. NETA wanted a revamp on the course that we had and they wanted it to be their own. So, starting in September of 2013, I started writing….and researching….and writing more. I was still mostly unemployed as I’d left ECU and only taken on a very limited part-time gig with a kid’s gym teaching kids yoga. So, my two boys and I spent our days as most stay at home moms do….playing, cleaning, and attempting to learn everything about yoga.

I remember having tons of books spread out across the floor and having my almost 3 year old looking at pictures and saying: “I can do that!” and then attempting to get into poses. I was learning so much more about the postures of yoga and all of their many benefits than I ever knew. This was the easy part of NETA Yoga…..the hard part came when I was asked to write other sections of the manual. Writing about teaching techniques too was easy, but about how to do meditation?

I had practiced what I now like to call “fake mediation” before. You know…when you sit quietly with your eyes closed and pretend to meditate, but really you just think about a million different things and try to figure out what you’re going to do after this meditation session. Yeah, even as an instructor I was still doing a lot of that! How about Affirmations? Well, I have a personal mantra, but I’d never instructed anyone else in how to write one.

Okay, now for the really hard part….tell us about the history of yoga, the 8 limb path of Raja yoga, and Sanskrit and Chakras and everything else that you have always brushed to the side and considered a different “type” of yoga….

It took 9 months of research, phone calls, reading books, emails, writing drafts, consulting, practicing, and edits to finish this project. During which time I started the blog, moved, and was hired on at CFCC.

Because I will keep getting better with age….chair pose when I’m older!

I feel like I never really LIVED my yoga until I took on this project and I haven’t stopped growing in yoga since. No one other moment in my yoga journey has impacted my practice as much as this project in such a profound way as to make me truly identify as a Yogini. It has improved the way I live, the way I work, and the way I teach and yet, I have continued to learn, research, and grow over the past two years since its completion. It’s probably the project I am most proud of completing.

What is the one project you are most proud of accomplishing?

12 Years of Yoga: The First Pregnancy

CAUTIOUS

That’s the best word I can use to describe the way I approached my first pregnancy. I wanted to stay active, but I was scared. I had been told that I had miscarried once before when I was younger and I hadn’t been able to get pregnant since that point, so I was terrified that any wrong choice and I’d be S.O.L. again.

7 1/2 weeks. Fishing away the summer with no nausea during the first pregnancy. All smiles and glow!
7 1/2 weeks. Fishing away the summer with no nausea during the first pregnancy. All smiles and glow!

When I first found out I was pregnant I started eating a little better and continued my exercise routines. I had been teaching 4 classes a day 2x/week and so I kept up with that over the summer by running…..until I started having headaches and fainting spells. So, I dropped the runs. This was mostly due to the high temps we were experiencing in NC early that summer. I taught both yoga and fitness walking over the summer while I helped develop a new LPAF course for the fall that would include many different types of activities. I was so nervous about the yoga teaching and all of the rules that I wouldn’t do anything that was in a supine position, even in my first trimester. I wasn’t taking any chances at all!

At the end of the summer I made a trip home to Iowa to celebrate my engagement, my pregnancy, to give up my Great Danes, and (unexpectedly) to say goodbye to my grandfather. I had called him when I was pregnant and told him that I was making him a birthday present (I was due the day after his birthday), but that he’d have to wait until January for it be done. He immediately knew I was pregnant and asked what I would name “him”. We never found out we were having a boy, but I had my heart set on one, so I think my grandpa made that happen for me. I was nervous about the long travel and I did what I could to not stress about sitting for long periods of time.

I had planned to be super active while at home and do lots of yoga to keep up with everything, but the turn of events kept me pretty low key with maybe a few walks here and there. When I got back to NC again it was time to start training Graduate Teaching Assistants in all of the different forms of exercise that we’d be teaching that fall, working on my research project, continuing with my internship, and getting through my second year of grad school while planning a wedding and for a baby. I tried not to think about the baby as much because it was the one thing I couldn’t really control. I kept trying to stay in tune with my body throughout the whole process. I ate a lot of spinach and drank a lot of OJ and water. Twice a week I met Rebecca at the pool to water walk and do yoga in the deep end. I tried riding my bike until the belly started to get in the way and just in general tried to stay active.

I taught two classes a day twice a week this time around and it was always something different. I remember teaching one step aerobics class to a class of about 17 college guys one day. We were doing some fun over the top and around the world moves and some rear lunges and one of the guys asked me, “Can you do that with that baby in there?” YES! You can do a lot with a baby in there! My baby loved me being active and quietly slept as I taught ultimate frisbee, step aerobics, interval training, jogging/fitness walking, weight lifting, yoga and a host of other classes.

13 - 8 months 10 days
8 months 10 days in and still a ways to go. About 2 weeks after I stopped teaching for the semester.

Yoga was my savior throughout all of it. I was stiff when I didn’t move and the baby didn’t like it either. I spent so much time in Pigeon Pose that I should have taken flight myself. The body awareness I had from my practice kept me from having the duck waddle and the severe sway back. Listening to my actual body cues for hunger and thirst and rest kept me healthy and happy and whole throughout. The two things I regret not spending more time on before the big day were more meditation to help me with my mindset during delivery and more hip opening/squatting poses like Garland (Malasana) as I had planned to deliver in that position. You know that saying, “Perfect practice makes perfect”? Well, I should have lived it a little more.

I was done teaching about 6 weeks before I had my baby. I kept walking and doing yoga at home during that time. The last two weeks I bounced and rolled on a physio ball almost all day trying to get the baby to come out. And the day it finally happened was a surprise.

I’ll spare you the long story of it all, but the condensed version sounds a little like this. My labor started out easy, but didn’t go anywhere. And despite my preference against it all, I ended up with a pitocin drip that made me violently ill and have multiple contractions at once. Without a break, my energy and focus waned and I was told to push way too early. Using the birthing bar in that squatting position was ineffective and I exhausted myself before it was time for the baby to come out. I had a struggle with the medical staff (my midwife could not be there to practice at that hospital) and was eventually allowed to push my own way (not laying flat on my back). With a little help (a suction) my baby boy was out and I was a mom.

Yoga and walking were where I started again when I was allowed to go back to exercise. And eventually running and other body weight training became the norm. I met a group of ladies that fall whom I walked with on the regular and tried to lead them in a little yoga. I was graduated, married, and being a stay at home mom. Life was far different than I expected, but I started to feel more centered and connected to the world because of this little man in my life. Becoming a mom has probably been one of the most yoga things I’ve ever done. It’s that moment of universal and true love for one being in which you look into their eyes and see yourself wholly….all of your good….all of your love….reflected back at you. Yoga is more than just a physical practice and now my heart and head both knew that.