I am a huge supporter of “listen to your body,” but I have to admit that as someone who is in the Yoga and Fitness industry, its hard to take my own advice.
For the first time, I have had to drastically change my daily yoga practice (and workouts). The things I turn to in order to keep me calm, balanced and strong have really taken a hit, and I owe it to my body to listen.
After all, I am 5 months pregnant. Now hold on, I am not saying when you are pregnant you should stop doing everything fitness related, but what you need to do is listen to your inner teacher and adapt. Sometimes it’s changing stances, the way you move, taking the intensity down a notch (or 2 or 3), definitely avoiding crunches and anything that puts pressure on your belly and growing baby. With my first pregnancy (this one being Baby 2), I did weight training until 37 weeks pregnant, took our Husky mix (Chloe) for a walk everyday and continued my Yoga practice until the day I went into labour. I truly believe that continuing my workouts helped throughout my pregnancy and my postpartum recovery.
This time around my Pelvic Bone and hips don’t fitness right now (especially anything from the belly down) and even my Yoga poses have been very carefully selected so I can continue to enjoy the benefits from my daily yoga practice. So, I decided to shift my focus a little and have been placing more emphasis on my mindful practice - meditation. I never ever skip meditation in my own yoga practices as well as all of the Private and Small Group Yoga Sessions that I teach. There is something to be said for taking even 5 minutes to press the pause button on our busy lives and breathe mindfully. Now with that said, I have always found it difficult to do it on my own- instead opting for a Live class or a youTube video that will guide me to my restful state.
Throughout this time of taking it easy, I have turned to intentions, affirmations and mantras, beginning with mindful breathing and then repeating my chosen words until they land in my body in a believable way. Where did I find the words? First searching the internet, then creating some on my own to repeat to myself based on ways I would like to show up in my life and most recently I have turned to Intention Cards to gain inspiration from what is beyond my immediate frame of thinking.
I can honestly say, that as good as Yoga makes me feel both physically and emotionally- Meditation has changed my outlook on life. I feel as though I move through life with a sense of freedom and knowing. Knowing what? I am not 100% sure yet. But I have this sense of confidence, I know I have plans for things to come (stay tuned for that), but instead of the wishful thinking and hoping the things I want in life will come to fruition (hopefully), I feel as though they are currently in the process of happening. Right now.
You can head over to Google and search benefits of Meditation and you will get long lists (one article lists 141 benefits). However there are a number of scientific studies that show the benefits of meditation (again, there are many out there), but I stumbled across an article that managed to condense the list quite nicely 19 Science Backed Reasons to Meditate ; it also contains some quotes that I wrote into this blog (before I read the article), but said much more eloquently.
I am not a perfect person, but I do strive to be the best version of myself. There is a best version of every single person out there. We all have our own life experiences, places we have come from and adventures we embark on. While the person you are may not be for everyone (and that's ok), being 100% authentic to yourself will bring a sense of freedom, self awareness and confidence. Meditation is an amazing tool to use on your journey of self discovery bringing you one step closer to the best version of who you are.
Check out this article from Mind Body Green which is a fantastic starting point to bring intentions into your meditation- keeping in mind that intentions aren't necessary for meditation practices... but they certainly worked for me.