Thankfully, my first prenatal yoga class was gentle with me—not just with my body, but with my spirit. I tried yoga for the first time about a month after Hudson died, hoping that it would be another way to seek some healing. I found the physical challenge of yoga to be amazing, but the mental and spiritual challenge proved to be too much, at least at that time. So soon after Hudson’s death, I found it very difficult to quiet my mind in the way one needs to do to really benefit from yoga—in all four of the classes I attended, I ended up crying at some point or another. I found the savasana pose the most difficult—this is done at the end of the yoga practice, where you lie flat on your back and sit quietly in meditation for an extended period. First of all, it is called the “corpse pose”—you can imagine all the associations I made with that. But mostly, it was just hard to spend that time alone with my pain while also in a room full of people. During savasana in the last class I went to, which was a beginner’s yoga workshop, the instructor played a version of Pachelbel’s Canon (a longtime favorite of mine and my mother’s) with a children’s choir singing “Alleluia” along with the melody. I started to weep and could not stop throughout the entire pose—I was overcome not only by the beauty of the song but by the sadness of knowing that I would never get to hear my sweet girl sing in a children’s choir. I would never know if she would have liked singing like her mama. It is really hard to find a way to manage all that sorrow while in the middle of yoga class.
So I was more than a little intimidated to join a prenatal yoga class. I didn’t do prenatal yoga with Hudson—I was so busy with work during my pregnancy with her that I rarely made it home in time to eat, watch a few minutes of TV to calm down, and then go to bed. I wanted to try it this go round, but have been afraid of what it would be like. Would I be surrounded by a room full of chatty, happy-go-lucky pregnant women? Would the instructor constantly be asking us to focus our intentions on the life growing inside us? Would I spend the whole time crying?
As with so many things in the grief process, the dread of the experience was far worse than the actual thing. In fact, it was a pleasant experience. There were only four other women in the class, all way more pregnant than I, and no chatting at all before or after class (thank goodness). At the beginning of the practice, the instructor asked us to silently dedicate our practice to some intention and only if we wanted to—I tried to focus my energy on my love for Hudson and for the Penguin. Not once during the entire practice did she even mention pregnancy or our bellies or anything related to the fact that it was a prenatal yoga class. Until the end. Until the savasana. At that point, she read a meditation about the love between a mother and a daughter—I felt the tears spring and just let them fall quietly behind my closed eyes. I wish I could remember the final sentence of the meditation though—I thought I had committed it to memory, but now it escapes me. But the gist of it was that such love cannot be created from nothing—it is born when a child is born. Indeed.
I think I will go back.