Going within

by Renee

I’ve done my best to keep up with my daily yoga practice during my pregnancy and managed to do so for the most part (this is also one of the main requirements for my yoga teacher training course). However, upon reaching the ninth month and final weeks of pregnancy, my body called for more quiet and going inward. I usually prefer the ‘yang’ asanas in yoga. Thinking about it now, this is probably why I got symptoms of pelvic girdle pain – it forced me to slow down, be gentle and be quiet. I still have to learn and appreciate that these periods of quiet are equally as effective and important as the more energetic side of yoga.

Being constantly aware of my breath and posture, doing meditation and Marjaryasana (cat pose) are some of the few things I can do at this stage. Virabhadrasana (warrior poses) aggravates my pelvic region; Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog) is now done with the help of a chair.

The cat pose is by far my favourite right now – we fondly call it the ‘baby’s hammock’ pose. As I get down on all fours, carefully distributing the weight on my arms and knees, I can see my belly hanging and I can imagine the baby swinging gently in the hammock as I do my breathing and gently sway from side to side, front and back. The pose brings such peace and relief.

I’ve also managed to do some reading for the course. One of the books we need to read is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I try to read a section every night, but of course, this does not usually happen (ooops). However, something in Pada 1, Sutra 5 really struck a chord with me:

‘When the mind is filled with destructive, painful, hard thoughts, awareness becomes coarser, more crude, and the nervous system and the body respond by producing unhappiness and ill health. When creative, not-painful thoughts fill the mind, awareness becomes subtler, more refined, and the nervous system and the body respond by creating happiness, health and youth. The quality of our thoughts is thus directly responsible for the state of our well-being, our progress and our longevity.

‘No illness springs into being overnight. Wrong thoughts must continue for a long time before the body’s magnificent immune system fails…

‘Change the mind and the effects will change…if you desire a glorious future, transform the present. There is actually no other choice. What control we have over our environment is strictly limited. But we do have complete control over how we use our own minds…

‘It is absurdly easy to reverse even life-long habits of painful, damaging, forced, dark thinking. The response is immediate and obvious. The lines of deep care start vanishing as the face starts glowing with its own internal radiance. Within a few short days, happiness, peace and health become the normal experience. It is not difficult to change the mind; it is only necessary to learn a new way of thinking – thoughts that are liberating, joyful, light and easy – in short, creative.’

My meditation teacher, who is also a yoga teacher, said that The Yoga Sutras of Patanjaliis the only self-help book one needs to ever read. She could very well be right.