Last week, Sarah, one of our beloved students finally had her baby. Sarah practiced through her whole pregnancy until two days before she went into labor. She had a fast labor that ended with a healthy baby boy. Sarah is an incredibly focused, dedicated student. She works hard and she doesn't take herself too seriously. It was a delight to teach her every week while her belly grew and her practiced evolved with her changing body.
The week before Sarah went into labor (by this point she was already days overdue), we talked about a preparatory conversation she had with her midwife. In getting Sarah ready, her midwife said, "Sarah, you do Bikram right? Giving birth is a lot like Bikram-- you work really really hard and then you rest."
Yes! That's so true. You work really really hard. And then you rest. I remember being in labor. It was a slog, 42 hours, 6 different midwives, nipple stimulation, stair walking, yoga poses. When I heard Sarah retelling her midwife's advice, it all came flooding back to me. Yes, you work hard and then you rest. In the final phase of my labor, right before I was ready to push Lucia out, I literally fell asleep between contractions. I was working so hard and I needed to rest. My body knew what to do.
In yoga, our teachers guide us into postures, encouraging us to work hard, and reminding us to rest when we need to rest. In childbirth, we do this as a means to an end, to get to the baby. In yoga, we are practicing the "work hard-rest rhythm" to rebirth ourselves, so at the end of our practice, while there is no new baby waiting, we get to welcome our new selves, rebirthed in our own way, happily worked out and fully rested.