In June of 2008, I found out I was one month pregnant. The same day, I did a yoga demonstration. I didn’t know what was really going on in my body. All I knew was there is a pebble like “being” inside my belly, and parallel with that had total faith that I could keep practicing my yoga, I could not stop-not just then.
The next thing I did was buy the best selling pregnancy book, “What to Expect When Your Expecting.” It had good information, however, in the Exercise section, it specifically said “No Bikram Yoga, the Hot Yoga, because of the internal body temperature rises”. Bikram yoga is the kind of yoga I practice, at the time I had been teaching it for 2 years and practicing for four. I knew that our body temperature only raises less than one degree in a Bikram yoga class, because of the constant sweating. A normal person’s body temperature can vary one degree throughout the day, depending on how active they are. So the advice given in that book made no sense to me and it didn’t stop me from doing my yoga.
In my yoga journey I have participated in a several championships and, at moments, I’ve practiced intensely. I consider myself a yoga athlete. Sometimes I spend 4 or 5 hours a day in the yoga room which exceeds the interest level for most modern world yogis with busy lives. Within my yoga practice I have overcome numerous challenges and I’ve watched myself transform and become capable of feats I didn’t think I was capable of. This is true physically and emotionally. Physically, I have found myself sturdy in postures I thought were beyond me. Emotionally, I found that I can breath calmly through struggles, like in yoga class.
Another thing I have gained from my yoga practice is confident in myself and who I am. I took this confidence with me into my pregnancy. At first I had very little knowledge about pregnancy and my own anatomy. This is how ignorant I was: a couple months into it, I actually asked my husband, embarrassedly, “where does the baby come out? From the front or the back?” My husband laughed! I understood that there was a magnificent human being coming through my body, but beyond that I knew very little about how our bodies fit together and what I was in for. All I knew was that for nine months he was a part of me, and that I was capable of overcoming challenges.
I grew up in Hong Kong, China until I was 15 years old. Hong Kong is a very modern city, interesting enough, even though we are brought up with Eastern culture, Western medicine common. In this city, all women go to hospital for child birth, a great amount of them have cesarian sections, like in the West. When I told my family I planned to have a natural home birth, they were anxious about it. My family had no clue about home birth. In our mind, the only possibility for having a home birth is if you’re in extreme poverty. Only people who don’t have any money don’t go to the hospital. To us denying the hospital is not a choice, it’s something people are forced into. During the years I spent practicing yoga in the West, I made friendships that turned my belief about hospitals upside down.
The understanding of my own body and the nature of all beings. Needlessly for me to talk about the yoga during pregnancy helps the strength, flexibility, and breathy technique all these physical benefit, the more was the trust of the true inner strength in our core being, I knew I was going to do this without resistance and fear. I was so ready for this beautiful human experience and able to share this with my family and friends.
In the yoga room during the pregnancy, I always thought that it’s such a blessing I can actually moved my body like that, I would be like a dead meat on my couch if I didn’t do that, beside the yoga class, I didn’t even go for a walk often. I did my yoga gently, in fact, if you ask my friends, they might not say so, because I was doing lots of advanced yoga postures, however I was doing them with full awareness without a sense of “pushing” it, that was gentle.
A few months into the pregnancy I found an amazing midwife named Yeni that both my husband and I trusted. Every time we left the appointment with Yeni, we both felt that we were doing the right thing for our baby. I couldn’t feel healthier! Near the end of the pregnancy Yeni encouraged me to gain more we