In just about every Ma Yoga class I teach, pregnant women and new moms introduce themselves and say:
I get shooting pains down my leg
My low back hurts
My wrists hurt
And usually, they’ve come to try and resolve their problem by doing one thing:
My response? Please. Don’t stretch.
Huh? A yoga teacher saying don’t stretch? But see, that’s the whole crazy misnomer about yoga. If you’ve ever done it, you know it’s hard. It takes strength. How did people get to equating yoga with a stretch?
I don’t know. I think they saw how mobile and free bodies can be when they have integrity.
But the important thing is, we already understand what the problem is, because we say it all the time:
I’m falling apart
I’ve been all over the place
I went all to pieces
We don’t say – what a great day, I was a mess! If my head weren’t attached to my neck I would have lost it – it was awesome! I was so scattered…overextended… cool.
We say – what a great day, things really fell in to place. Everything’s coming together.
So why, oh why, when things get bad in the body, do we think the answer is to do the opposite?
When we are pregnant especially, every joint (where 2 bones come together) becomes unstable. In other words, they move apart. This is what’s supposed to happen in the front of the pelvis so baby’s head can come out. Problem is, the hormones work on every other joint in the body as well: sacrum, elbow, knee, shoulder.
So especially if you’re pregnant, please, lay off the stretch. First, pull your Self together and
keep this picture in mind:
To create integrity, draw muscles and bones toward the midline, or mudya:
1.) Squeeze the inner thighs toward each other (a block or, while you’re driving, a big water bottle or jar will do)
2.) Draw the bottom tips of your shoulder blades together as you lift your heart
3.) Spread your toes to stabilize the lower legs and knees
Once you’ve brought it all home, maintain the strength and then go for the stretch!
When you pull in to your Self first, you can move that beautiful, fabulous, totally divine Self of yours out in to the world.
And mama, I promise: this feels better than any little gentle stretch you might do.