Finding Your Post-Partum Pose

Me 40 weeks pregnant and doing yoga at Garden of the Gods.
Way back when, I saw a photo of a friend doing a beautiful yoga pose called crow pose. And I thought, "I want to do that." I had only barely begun to show an interest in yoga. One of my maternity workout videos had a short yoga segment and I loved it (probably because it gave me a break from all the squats.

Pregnancy + having a baby sort of muddled my initial enthusiasm, and by the time I got back on track in January, I wasn't sure how to pursue any sort of physical goal.

After a few half-hearted attempts, I gave in and turned to outside forces: I set up a 30-day #conquerthatpose challenge on Instagram. Whether or not anyone did the challenge with me was not the point; it was knowing that I had to prove that I could progress. The challenge was for me.

I performed an ungraceful version of the crow pose 1-3 times a day. That's it. No crazy, rigorous training and no other change in my daily routine. I had some yoga/workouts going on at the same time (to help build my upper body strength and heal my diastasis recti), but the inconsistency of these made it obvious that my progress was coming from simply doing the pose itself.

When I first started doing this pose, my form was absolutely terrible (which I didn't notice till later). I was doing everything wrong. But I kept at it.

Once a day. One day at a time. Slow but beautiful progress began to appear. (There are progress photos below.)

The post-partum mom-body does not lend itself well to physical challenges. Areas of your body feel weakened beyond repair, and it's so much harder to try, to find a way to feel good in pushing yourself.

I used to love pushing myself in workouts and hiking. Pain, sweat, the works. But my post-baby body was something I couldn't quite understand. I didn't know when to push harder or when to hold back. Pain - any kind of pain - scared me. I felt weakened.

Showing up every day made the change. If you want to show up every day this month with me, I'm doing a new challenge this month: a handstand challenge. Sounds intense, but I promise even beginners can do this with me. Keep your eyes out for my post later this week!

Want to achieve your physical goals? Let me help you get started:

  1. Make your goal doable. Each big-picture goal needs to be composed of a series of smaller goals. Like an artist, you must begin with an idea of where you want to finish, but be willing to start with a mere sketch. Then you paint on one layer at a time, each color bringing you closer to that glorious finish. My end goal with yoga is a full-out handstand. My big-picture goal with exercise/fitness is to be a more confident rock climber, to be able to push my post-partum body as hard as I can and not be afraid. Let me know if you need a little more coaching on this step.
  2. Accept where you're at. You have to measure your progress according to your goals and your starting point. Your journey towards this thing that you want is going to look different than someone else's. It's going to take a different amount of time, too. Be okay with that. You're not doing this for other people; you're doing this for you. 
  3. Do your research as you go. You could end up hurting yourself if you do things too hard too fast or simply perform them in a way that jeopardizes your body. Pay attention to how you're doing (pictures or videos can help you analyze). If it feels wrong, it probably is. Look things up as you progress. Don't be afraid to adjust your course a little or admit you're doing something wrong. It's okay to start fresh.
  4. Write it down. Journal it, put it on your calendar, AND make an alarm for it on your phone. It's too easy to make excuses or forget entirely if you don't have something to hold you to it. Maybe you even go so far as to have a friend or family member keep you accountable or even do it with you!
  5. Just start. In the beginning, I was weak and unsure of how to begin. But I started, and that's the important thing. Action is your friend here. Once you have the ball rolling, then you can evaluate your form, your method, your routine, and adjust from there. You can prep and plan all you want, but half the time, you won't even understand what that information looks like until you get your body moving.
  6. Do it every day. Yep, you read that right. Every day. Make it a habit.
December '16/January '17
March 1, 2017
March 8, 2017
March 15, 2017
March 23, 2017
March 31, 2017

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