Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yoga Love

I love, love, love going to yoga class. I have been unable to go for the past two months due to the Robotics build season and I have missed it terribly. My state of mind suffers when I can't go to yoga. My flexibility definitely suffers when I can't go to yoga. My ability to commune with a large group of women entrenched in the seamy underbelly of infertility suffers when I don't go to yoga. It was amazing to go back this past Monday and realize just how many benefits yoga for fertility brings me (and those around me).
  • Yoga class allows me to truly, wholly relax. The combination of deep breathing, visualization exercises, poses that work specifically to increase blood flow to vital parts of my anatomy for conception and poses that work specifically to release tension in shoulders, neck, and hips allows for a full body/mind release. My body is stretched and strengthened and de-tensioned. My mind is quieted and concentrated on just the way air fills my core and is released--not on any of the worries and anxiety that race through my mind on a regular basis.
  • Yoga class allows me to be selfish. Even though I am in a class with a group of people, almost all of us do yoga with our eyes closed. I don't know if this is everyone's experience but it is mine--I tune out everything but my breath, the music, and the voice of the instructor. I create a private space for myself where I can nourish my body and mind. I don't have to worry about the needy dog or my psycho cats (literally, by this weekend not one but both of my cats will be on Prozac) or what's for dinner or how I haven't vacuumed in a while. I don't have anything calling to me--unlike when I do videos. When you do a video you can't truly escape the animals in the house, the dripping of water off the ice damming, the dust you can see under the entertainment cabinet while in floor poses. In yoga class I am in a world by myself, just focusing on what my body is telling me and the depth of my breath.
  • Yoga class allows me to create my special relaxation place. In final relaxation, we are encouraged to envision ourselves in a relaxing, peaceful place. I almost always use George's Pond at camp in Maine, and visualize myself floating on my back in the still water, looking up at the stars which are also reflected in the water around me. It looks like I am floating in a sea of stars, with the silhouettes of pine trees around the edges and the haunting call of loons serving as my soundtrack. It doesn't matter that I would never, ever actually float in the lake at night -- in reality that sounds terrifying to me. But in surreality, it's absolutely my go-to deep relaxation space. 
  • Yoga class totally changes my state of mind. I can go into yoga class feeling discouraged, angry, sad, and just generally in a bad mood. I almost always leave yoga class feeling lighter, calmer, and more able to deal with this crappy hand we've been dealt. It is perfectly ok for me to feel discouraged, angry, sad, and bitchy--but these are feelings that need to be worked through and released eventually. Yoga helps me to get that release for my feelings in a healthy way. It has a cumulative effect--I felt much better after yoga on Monday but will most likely feel even better next Monday and the Monday after that as I allow myself to work through those feelings and tune myself to what my body and mind need. I have cried during final relaxation while releasing some of these feelings--allowing myself to experience them intensely and then just let them go. Going weekly helps me immensely because throughout the week things can happen that bring those feelings of sadness, anger, and frustration back--but I can always go back to yoga and start fresh on Monday. 
  • Yoga class helps me to be a better wife. If I am able to center myself and feel a little less volatile and fragile emotionally, I am a hell of a lot easier to live with. I had a lot of anger from this past cycle. Anger that we aren't in the percentage of people who succeed on their first or second IVF attempts, anger at my body for failing me again, anger that we have to go through this incredibly draining process in order to have a chance of having a biological child. That anger boils up and spills out of me and regularly flays the one I love when left unchecked and unreleased. When I can get to yoga and work through that anger and release it with my breath in a guided setting, I am way less bitchy. I am back to being my normal, happy, goofy self. I am back to treating my husband like the wonderful, patient, loving, PATIENT, supportive partner he is. 
  • Yoga class introduces me to a whole community of women. I am lucky--I have wonderful friends who are supportive and listen and help distract me from the needles and hormone swings and disappointments that pepper my daily life now. But very few of my friends have experienced infertility. And so they can be supportive, but it isn't intuitive--and they probably don't want to talk about follicles and embryo quality and how to survive infertility with your marriage/relationship in tact all the time. They can sympathize, but they can't empathize. This is where the support portion of yoga is invaluable. I have met so many women who are also going through this process both through yoga support group and the support group offered by my clinic. These are women who are traveling down the same craptastic road, and have the same challenges. We can help each other deal with hurts that come from inadvertent comments or situations that are perfectly normal to most but not to women going through infertility. It's a completely safe group where you can voice the things that people outside of fertility treatment might not understand, not fully. Sometimes you can ask one question about how to deal with a situation and be flooded with everyone's stories of how they had to deal with that same situation--it helps so much to not feel alone. And I love that support is now before yoga--we can rant and rage and vent and be venomous or cry and be totally depressed and then let the yoga heal us afterwards. Yoga also helps me be a better friend to my fertile friends--I can regain the energy to not consume every conversation with tons of fertility talk since I was able to release it. While I appreciate it greatly when my fertile friends express an interest in what's going on in my infertile world, I also appreciate that it probably shouldn't be the only thing I talk about.
Yoga is not an amazing infertility cure-all, but my yoga fertility class is such a healing balm for so much that ails me during this process. It is time consuming and guarantees that once a week I am embroiled in infertility, but it is totally worth it because it surrounds me in the positive. Monday I went into yoga feeling like I just couldn't take anymore and my supply of strength had just about run out, and left feeling once again like the infertility warrior woman I need to be in order to survive this. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jess. I assume Yoga does for you, what acupuncture does for Rene. It makes such a difference, keep it up, it's good for you.

    Love, Nancy