life lessons from a yogi: working through limitations

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ince I was in high school I have always had a fitness routine of some kind.  It has changed over the years as to what activities I did whether it was cheerleading in high school, step aerobics in college, lifting weights, training for half marathons, spinning classes and of course, yoga.  I can think of two times in the past twenty years (HOLY CRAP I’m old!) that I fell off the fitness wagon – my freshman year of college and for three months when I moved to a new town and hated my gym.  Besides that I have been very consistent in my routine.  I am not saying this to toot my own horn I am telling you this so you know where I am coming from.

We had just got back from our trip to Italy this spring where we ate and drank and had a blast for two weeks.  We started a three week detox once we returned.  The workouts remained consistent, but we limited our eating to no cheese, no carbs and no wine.  So the first night off the detox we indulged in pizza and wine.  The next day I felt TERRIBLE.  I thought I was hung over.  In general I don’t drink a lot so when I do my hangovers are not fun.  I spent the next day feeling awful.  Our friends joked “maybe you are pregnant” and there is always that part of me that thinks “yeah I could be?” so that night I went home, took a test and holy sh*t I was.  

I always said that there is “no way I would stop working out if I got pregnant”.  Well little did I know that every day around 4 pm my “morning sickness” was going to kick in.  I felt AWFUL.  Thankfully I never got sick but I felt like I was going to EVERY.DAY.  Going home after work to nap for 2 hours was the only thing that made me feel better.  Then I would wake up, eat dinner and go to bed.  Needless to say, yoga did not fit into that equation too much.  During my first trimester my 4-5 time a week practice dwindled to 1-2 times if I was lucky.
How things have changed!

Then all of a sudden I started feeling way better.  So I started going back to the studio more regularly.  At first I felt great and “normal” but that slowly shifted.  I have had a regular yoga practice now for at least seven years.  My practice has grown tremendously.  I have the courage to try new things and sometimes things that make me look like a pretzel.  My body and mind have shifted over time.  And then all of a sudden it was different.  

I can’t do anything on my stomach.  My back bends are half as deep as normal.  Bending over in a forward fold, forget about touching my toes now.  Instead my feet are super wide apart and I can reach my knees.  No more arm balances, no more twists.  It’s not because someone told me not to do these things.  I don’t do them because it doesn’t FEEL good with my new belly in the way.  It doesn’t feel good on my new body.

It’s so weird having to adjust.  I don’t want to say that pregnancy is like having an injury but in some ways they are similar.  We have to retrain our brains and body to do the things we routinely do in a different way when faced with injury.  We have limitations that prevent us from doing something to the ability that we once knew.  The limitations that we face in life sometimes are not just physical.  Overcoming a mental limitation is equally as challenging.  When faced with a limitation it can be frustrating but also truly humbling.

I preach to be in the moment and live by the saying “you are exactly where you are supposed to be.”  It’s interesting now how I feel when faced with a change.  I have had a hard time accepting that I no longer can do some of the things that came naturally to me.  So I could fight it or I could accept it.
Before and after isn’t a good way to caption these photos. I prefer then and now. (for now!)

Not only am I accepting this body and every day it brings I am learning more from it.  The modifications I have had to take have changed the things I can actually still do.  I feel these things with a greater appreciation.  And these are just the little things as silly as some yoga poses.  However, it is truly the little things in life we tend to take for granted.  The old saying “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” really does hold true.  Or you don’t know the things you appreciate until you can’t do them anymore.

What I am saying is sometimes we need to take a step back and realize that our limitations are not limiting us at all.  But it is really our every day routines and patterns that limit us.  The “norm” prevents us from seeing what else is out there.  The “norm” sometimes prevents us from experiencing things in a different way.  You don’t have to be pregnant or injured or even practice yoga to see this.  Think about what you think of as limitations.  How can you instead turn these into opportunities?  And even with limitations in life, how can you accept yourself TODAY, exactly as you are?  


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