I recently began teaching prenatal yoga at Sellwood Yoga. As a new mommy myself, I feel incredibly honored to be a part of the journey for new moms as they make their way through pregnancy and into motherhood. There seems to be no better way to describe the whole experience than to say it’s a “journey”. The process is ever changing and in my experience opened me up to find a love that I couldn’t imagine.
I heard this quote on my favorite yoga podcast, which seem to resonate with my experience of pregnancy:
“How did the rose ever open its hear and give to the world all of its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being, otherwise, we all remain too frightened.” -Hafiz
Pregnancy is a process of on-going softening and opening in many ways. In the physical sense the body is preparing to open up through the joints, the belly, the pelvis, etc. And since the physical is never separated from the emotional and mental experience, it is also the soften of the heart and soul; making room for a great love.
Ahimsa is one of the precepts of yoga that I continually return to as a foundation for how I would like to live my life. It roughly translates to non-violence. Or as I like to think of it in the non-negative form, peace. There is no better time that in pregnancy to begin this practice. The anxiety, worry, dread and fear that creep in during this somewhat vulnerable time in a woman’s life is contagious. It is only through Ahimsa that we can soften into our natural state and let go of that invasive worry and judgement to find a since of peace that both nurtures yours and your baby’s soul.
In Pema Chodron’s book, Practicing Peace in Times of War, she reflects that peace is…”a soften of what is rigid in our hearts.” I love this description for many reasons, but mostly because it is the reminder that the tighter we hold onto ideas of how it should be the more elusive the feeling of ahimsa becomes. It is only through gentleness, tenderness and good old fashioned kindness that we begin to feel that building love and compassion that is so powerful during pregnancy. So as we open our bellies and our hearts to the growth of our baby within, while releasing the mind’s judgments, we start the practice of ahimsa.