Tomorrow I teach my first public class after giving birth to my baby girl three months ago and also since giving birth to myself as a mother. So much has come up through the cracks as I approach this date... anxiety about leaving my daughter, excitement at seeing my students, a bit of a revulsion at wearing spandex in public, a fear that my body is just not the same and probably will never be, but also this sense that my body has been broken open and so has my heart... in the most amazing way.
As I mentioned before in my last post, I am trying to streamline the process of class preparation. I used to spend hours prepping for classes, lots of practice time on the mat playing, lots of movement that I currently just can't do. Lots of time that I just don't have.
I am a wholly different being, I feel, when I step onto my mat. My belly is softer. My biceps are stronger perhaps from holding Miya, but everything else feels weaker. My skin is stretchier. I hold some more weight, and I try not to stress about it, which is hard for someone who spent her early 20s battling bulimia as a dancer and the rest of the time since reworking the notion of what it is to feel at home in her body.
But one thing is also for certain: my heart is way more open. My patience has crested to the surface of every moment and overflowed into my reality in a way that it never has before. I move slower. I pay more attention to many things that I do, like how quietly I can put away dishes while my daughter sleeps.
All of this comes with me onto my mat as I prepare for class. My movement feels uninventive, but I also feel like what I can offer my students at this point goes way beyond the physical. I want to share about being saturated in experience and breath when one's child is screaming. I want to share how handstand feels when you have a new body. I want to relate to the newness of practice again. It's incredible.
This week we are focusing on true seeing. This means feeling all the nuance of asana: where we grit our teeth and where we fall asleep in the form... but also the ways in which we are repeatedly distracted ("it used to feel this way", "I feel so weak here", "can my psoas ever just let go", "what time is my doctor appointment tomorrow") and on and on. For me, this work becomes ever more important because it has trained me thus far to be as present as possible for my daughter... but also FOR MYSELF as I navigate new motherhood. Where do I grit my teeth too hard (did I feed her too much, too little, am I doing this particular thing right?), where do I fall asleep (put away the phone and witness my daughter roll to one side for the first time!) and where do I get repeatedly distracted (chatter chatter chatter mind in the midst of the real boredom that can arise in the hours of silence or cooing or squirming or fussing in babyland).
It has been an incredible and beautiful and terrifying transformation into motherhood. I may never be the teacher I was, but it is for certain that motherhood has enhanced my awareness of presence in a way that was so fleeting before. And my compassion levels are off the charts even if the weight hangs on a bit here and there.
Looking forward to sharing more...