on Yoga and Health
A means to
your physical, mental and
This is an article on Yoga
by Amy Hassinger.
and subsequent approaches to Yoga and Yoga's impact on her life . She's
a novelist you may or may not have heard about who's written the
novels: The Priest's Madonna and Nina: Adolescence.
Anyway, she describes her
approach initially to Yoga as an athletic discipline or sport in order
to achieve physical beauty and perfection. She goes on to discuss in
the mistakes she made initially when practicing Yoga in this manner,
it led to her pregnancy miscarriage and how she finally realized her
She now views and practices Yoga in a new light. I think you will find
this article quite interesting.
She also best summarizes
the real meaning of Yoga in her last paragraph.
to Let Go
by Amy Hassinger
I started practicing yoga
nine years ago because I wanted to look sexy. I bought B. K. S.
on Yoga, and taught myself the asanas, following his
in the appendix. Within a few months of regular practice, I could see
feel the results. I was strong, limber, and best of all, my stomach was
flat - a state it hadn’t enjoyed since puberty. I was an
But a convert to the sport
of yoga, not its practice. I treated yoga almost exclusively as an
discipline. I held each pose for the longest period of time suggested
pushed myself to progress to the most advanced poses rather than deepen
my understanding of the basics. I didn’t even bother to read
introduction, in which he articulates some of the basic philosophical
of yoga practice. Nor did I bother to find a teacher until a good six
after I bought the book. I was doing Sirsasana (headstand) for years
instruction. Once I did find a teacher, I still ignored her advice: I
inversions at home at all times of the month, figuring that the
that kept women from going upside down while menstruating was a sexist
holdover from ancient Indian culture. I did standing poses when I was
and if I felt at all pressed for time in my practice, Savasana (corpse
pose) was the first to go. When I got pregnant for a second time, I
up my athletic sequence, dismissing the idea that I might try taking
easy for a while.
Then at ten weeks of pregnancy,
I went in for routine checkup and listened in vain for that rapid fetal
heartbeat. The nurse squirted on more gel and pressed the Doppler wand
into my belly at every conceivable angle, and still, the only sound was
the slow drumbeat of my own stubborn pulse. The fetus had died inside
weeks earlier, and I hadn’t even known. Two days later, I was
in the hospital
for a D&C.
Still, a week later, I was
back at my goal-oriented practice, pushing myself as hard as ever. I
to lose the extra pounds I’d put on, weight I felt
I’d gained for no good
reason. I didn’t tell my yoga teacher that I’d
miscarried until a month
after it happened. When I did tell her, she suggested I focus on
poses for a while, to help myself heal, but I ignored her advice.
time had passed, I figured. I felt fine. And besides, restorative poses
wouldn’t help me lose any weight.
I was also determined to
get pregnant again, as soon as possible. I charted my cycle
taking my temperature every morning, monitoring my cervical fluid and
my cervical position each time I sat on the toilet. When the signs
that ovulation might be close, I insisted that my husband and I try
night. Sex became a chore, and when O-week, as we called it, was over,
neither of us was interested in making love for the rest of the month.
Over a year later, I still
wasn’t pregnant. Yet I continued to ignore advice to focus on
poses during ovulation. I’d gotten pregnant before and had a
while swimming, biking, jogging, and practicing yoga - why
couldn’t I again?
Finally, after sixteen months
without success, I went to my yoga teacher for help. She suggested I
in her therapeutics class, and there she taught me an asana sequence,
included a series of supported backbending poses, supported Sirsasana,
and supported Niralamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). She forbade me
continuing my regular practice, and generally discouraged me from
in any truly vigorous physical activity, and for once, I followed her
I was not breaking a sweat in class, but I did leave feeling healthy
Two weeks later, I found
out I was pregnant. I still am, eight months later: my baby’s
due at the
end of May.
It’s tempting to attribute
the pregnancy to my yoga teacher’s advice and my altered
though I know I ovulated just before the first session of the new
Still, who knows? There is a week between the fertilization of an egg
its implantation in the uterus - maybe those first two weeks of gentler
practice created a friendlier environment for that tiny blastula to
a home. It’s impossible to say. But whether or not I can
credit yoga for
my pregnancy, I know it’s taught me a valuable lesson. I now
see the value
of a gentler practice. Now, when I wake up feeling extra tired or with
a tickle in my throat, I’m more inclined to practice
and pranayama, rather than plowing ahead through standing poses. I now
see yoga as a source of healing, rather than solely a means toward
flexibility, and achieving a flat stomach. Yoga is about health -
spiritual, and physical - and sometimes being healthy means letting go
of a goal. It means attending to the intelligence of the body, and
into account the particular moment you’re living in.
a kind of physical devotion to the child inside of you, and yoga --
attendant, respectful yoga - requires a devotion to the body, mind, and
spirit, wherever they happen to be on a given day. Yoga’s
taught me something
about my tendency toward bull-headedness; I’m hoping
it’s a lesson I can
take into my life as a parent as well.
Copyright © 2006 -2012 Amy