In college, I took a religious philosophy class I really enjoyed. I asked and answered questions often and, one day as I was leaving the class, I said goodbye to the professor. “Have a good day, Jill,” he answered. (My name is Lauren) I was already out of the classroom and didn’t correct him. I continued to ask and answer questions. He continued to call me Jill. I continued to not correct him. For the entirety of a semester. He only realized that my name was Lauren when giving back our final papers. Even then, I insisted that, while Lauren was my real name, “all of my friends call me Jill.” Yep.
Unfortunately, this story epitomizes both my fear of confrontation and a tendency toward placing others’ supposed comfort in front of my own. In the end, we were both a little uncomfortable. I do speak up more now, and I haven’t allowed anyone to call me by the incorrect name for a number of months since that class. But, when people bump into me, I still apologize. Old habits die hard.
I was aware of this tendency, but didn’t realize how it translated to my yoga practice until a beloved teacher was settling the class into savasana and encouraged us to “be particular about our comfort,” pointing out that little voice in so many of our heads that whispers, “I mean, I’m not totally comfortable. Maybe even a little uncomfortable. But, savasana is short. I don’t really need that bolster/eye pillow/to be in a completely and totally different position. I’ll be fine.”
So, I get it. A lot of times comfort is a totally elusive thing during pregnancy. Sometimes, no matter what, it’s impossible to get comfortable. But, I hope you’ll let me help you try. I can supply you with a number of bolsters, strategically placed blankets, a neck massage (seriously). That sentiment rings true for more than just savasana. While yoga is generally a wonderful thing to do for your mental and physical self, there can be times when certain things just don’t feel good. Every woman is different and every body is different, and pregnancy comes with its host of ailments to accompany each unique prenatal journey. What feels good to one woman might not feel so great to another. And, what feels good to that same woman one day might not feel so great on another day, or in another trimester.
Sciatica is a common pregnancy complaint. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon prep pose) is a wonderful pose that can help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. It feels fantastic to many women dealing with this pregnancy challenge. It does not, however, feel great to women who are dealing with pubic symphysis dysfunction, or who have acute sacroiliac pain. If there is a pose that you encounter in a yoga class that doesn’t feel so hot, let me (or your yoga teacher) know. I would really like to help you find a physical place that feels good to you. The other women totally get it. There are a multitude of props and at least a dozen alternatives that will work for you. Comfort, and, as a result, the ability to sink in and connect more intimately with this incredible ride, is paramount.
I also really hope you’ll correct me if I call you Jill.