The LOTUS life - The muddy and murky recovery of postpartum spirit, mind, and body

Post 1: Restoration of breath

So I found myself pondering the question… is it ok to sip coffee during my pranayama practice? Because after 8 months of nausea and vomiting while carrying my beautiful baby boy I would really, really, Really like to sit down and enjoy a hot, steamy, perfect cup of coffee in the only quiet 5 minutes of the morning.  Therefore, the choice is a tough one… breath or coffee.

My physical therapy geek mind knows that the breath is way more valuable, with longer lasting benefits.  Still not an easy choice.  I have been through pregnancy three times. Each time with hyperemesis, nonstop nausea, fatigue and depression.  With every pregnancy I thought, “I can beat this, I’ve got the tools, bring it on…”  Every time pregnancy won.

Everything changed, my diet, physical practice, patience and energy levels, mental focus and outlook of life, and the foundation of it all MY BREATH.  I’m pretty sure aliens invade my body during pregnancy.  The good news is they leave about 24 hours after the birth of a precious little healthy human being.  However, my body is left in a state of no clue how to operate efficiently. I am left breathing with less than half of my capacity and using my neck and accessory muscles to move my breath.  I can’t figure out how to open the back of my rib cage, especially on the right side.  It feels like my ribs have been superglued together in the back and held open with retractors in the front.  

With the awareness that I am now a breathing trainwreck, I decide to get to work.  I roll out my mat (yay! feeling excited to be back on the mat) and start with a three part breath.  Lying on my back, bolster under the knees.  I set the timer and commit to 5 minutes of breath practice. With baby asleep and older two children at school, Let’s get to work!

I feel belly expand (uggg that feels like a lot of downward pressure), next trying to move ribs, and chest lifts (finally an inhale).  It feels very foreign, not very comfortable, and super uncoordinated.  I get 2 minutes into my work and BAM sure enough baby starts to cry.  So I’m up off the mat and once again breathing like a trainwreck.  At least I have gathered some information about my body and will modify and take a different approach to facilitate an improved breath for my next round of mindful breathwork.

March 1, 2017.  2 days before delivery, huge belly, low load = havoc on the normal curves of the spine

Making this a daily practice sounds like a dream.  I’m shooting for 3 days a week.  I don’t get so overwhelmed if I make a weekly plan.  I am the mother of 3 small children.  I am dodging curve balls all day, every day.  In the practice of self kindness I will allow myself the wiggle room.  

Stay on board for more restoration of breath post 2 with appropriate modifications… and BAM the baby is crying!