I took a Bikram yoga class the other day. It wasn’t the first time I had taken this type of class (it was the second). Let’s just say I am still a rank beginner in all things yoga. The yoga instructor said something that really struck a chord with me. He said, “Work with the body you have right now. The body you have today is different than the body you had yesterday, and it is different than the body you will have tomorrow.”
While this seems simple, it was a lightbulb moment for me. I have been involved in team sports since I was 4 years old. My active life has been driven by athletics, competition, performance and in many cases, judgment. Judgment of my performance, my technique, my effort, the outcome. Typically my answer is to “work harder.” It’s hard for me to just “be” and not “do.”
Lately I have been craving a balance that I have been lacking. I have driven so hard for so long that I feel my body and mind saying, “rest, be, relax. Move without judgment.” (Hence why I signed up for the yoga class.) My movement has always been tied to an outcome; a score playing soccer and basketball, a time or load competing in CrossFit. While I have found immense satisfaction in these pursuits, I often struggle to move with pure joy because in the back of my mind it’s about performing and proving.
Movement is a gift and an opportunity.
This newfound idea is leading me to pursue movement each day that is sensitive to my daily needs, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I aim to respect where my body is today.
In pregnancy, your body is changing every single day. You can’t compare your today to your yesterday or to your tomorrow. You must work with the body you have today. That means listening to your body, honoring where you are, and not operating from a place of judgment (e.g., “I used to be able to do this no problem, what is wrong with me?”). Our society is concerned with output: what can you produce, do, or prove. Remember that you have absolutely nothing to prove. Remember that, especially in these precious months, your movement is tied to health, well-being, and preparing to welcome your little one Earth-side. In postpartum, we also find a changing body; one that is recovering and changing into something new. Your movement is tied to health, healing, and transformation.
Wherever you find yourself in the motherhood transition, you have a profound opportunity to throw off societal expectations of output as well as self-imposed judgment of your abilities. You can move forward while exploring what your body can do this day. Move without judgment of what you did yesterday or last year, and move with joy for what you can do today.