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Teacher of April 2010 - Amanda Lai

The two distinctive lines appeared on the pregnancy test stick, clearly telling me that I was pregnant! After my check up with the doctor, I was warned by the doctor in a serious tone:” given your age and the fact that you are carrying twins, this is a high risk pregnancy, with increased possibility for high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, premature labor and other issues, so you have to be even more careful than other pregnant women.”

With this warning in mind, I had to reconsider how I practice yoga. My yoga practice was mainly Ashtanga and it was such a regular part of my life, like sleeping or eating. And I have always enjoyed the rhythm of jumping back and forward in the vinyasa sequence. But even though with years of regular practice, I’m confident about my physical health, I can’t easily just ignore the doctor’s warning. So, from that day on, I immediately adjusted my practice and stopped all the jumping.

Because I was carrying twins, my uterus was so expanded that that caused a tear in my pubic ligaments. The pain of the injury lasted for a whole month. I couldn’t sit or stand. This ever expanding belly was both familiar and strange to me. My body was changing daily with the growth of the babies. After the fifth month, my belly was expanding even faster. I had to stop practicing all the twisting poses. When I was at 8 month, my belly was so big that I couldn’t even see my feet while showering and I no longer was able to put on my own pants. Yoga practice had allowed me to become familiar with my own body and to have a certain mastery over my body. However, the huge changes that came along with being pregnant, made me realized that I needed to learn to completely surrender to the transformation. Like a beginner, each day I greeted my body anew. Before I would start my daily morning practice, I would quietly listen to my body and I would adjust my practice accordingly. Sometimes when I felt more fatigued, I would just sat quietly without practicing any poses. Sometimes when my feet were really swollen, my practice would include some inversions for relief. The daily hour and half practice helped alleviate the pregnancy discomforts and calm my worrying mind that was nervous with concerns for babies’ health.

I changed a lot after the pregnancy. The biggest change is learning to accept other’s help. I used to think that tasks are like yoga poses, to be conquered one by one, like when I could easily do an inversion, it brought a sense of joy and confidence. Because I was head strong, I liked to do things on my own, but the whole pregnancy and childbirth experience totally changed me. It made me felt like the whole world is by my side, supporting me and that is a wonderful feeling.

A friend told me once that pregnancy is a spiritual journey and I now truly share that sentiment. I’m grateful for the friends who were worried about my nutrition and insisted that I eat less stimulating food; for those I didn’t know but would offered me a cup of hot tea in the restaurant; the ones who smiled at me on the street, and the kind strangers who offer their seat on the bus; my husband who endured my bad temper during pregnancy and who had to constantly run out to buy me food; and my mom and mother-in-law, who were always cooking for me. Thank you all for taking such good care of me when I was pregnant. I was a very lucky expecting mother.

Now I am a busy happy mom. My two babies weighted only 2500 gram each at birth and now they are almost at 10 kilo. Every morning when I practiced yoga, my babies would be curious and would craw over to the yoga mat, interrupting my practice, seeing what mommy was doing. Life may not as orderly as it used to be, but it is a wonderful feeling to be a mother. I practice yoga in my daily life and I also live in a yogic world.


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