I am a yoga teacher. I teach kids yoga to children ages 3-10. Before I was a yoga teacher, I was just a yogini, utterly addicted to Bikram Yoga . I once took class 60 days in a row - lost 20 pounds, dropped the depression that stemmed from the crumbling of the 5-year-relationship with my college boyfriend, got a new job, a new car, a new life. Yoga really, truly and in all other ways changed my life. Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises practiced in a hot room. A very hot room. A very hot and sweaty room. I practiced Bikram Yoga for 6 years, more or less regularly depending on my travel schedule, before getting pregnant.
When I go pregnant, my husband said "Please don't practice hot yoga...", my doctor said "Please don't practice hot yoga...", when I switched to a midwife, she said "Hmmmm...let me ask the perinatologist we consult with." but I could see behind her eyes "Please don't practice hot yoga...". I think she would have been okay, having practiced for so long and being used to the heat, but who wants to take that chance? Besides, the fact that I don't have a thyroid makes my body more susceptible to overheating and dehydration. So I stopped practicing so as not to cook my unborn baby in the womb.
I stopped practicing for 15 months. That is a long LOOOOOOOONG time to be out of the hot room. I used to worry about going back to class after having not been for a week. Imagine my dread at returning to class after over a year. But my friends, Lara and Yasmin - both Bikram teachers, bought me a 10 class pass at my home studio for Christmas. So now I had to go back.
I went once in January. Then roughly 3 feet of snow fell and my husband went travelling for work what seemed like every week. So I didn't make it back again till last week. It was a surprisingly strong class! I didn't die, which was really the goal of the whole exercise, honestly, and actually did all the postures, except for one side of Balancing Stick and one side of Triangle. I felt GREAT!
I went back again last night. It was not so great. It must have been 10,000 degrees in that room, and 175% humidity. I realize this is impossible, but it was impossibly hot. I think I actually died three times. I am not sure what kept me from running out of the room screaming, sweat flying, hair sticking up, crying for my life. But I stuck it out. I did almost everything. Okay, that might be stretching the truth a bit, but I didn't sit out the whole class. What I did notice was my milk letting down like CRAZY all throughout class. Heat, apparently, opens the milk ducts and allows it to flow. I knew this, having often take a hot shower to relieve clogged ducts, but I didn't really put 2 and 2 together as far as the heat in class was concerned. I could have nursed every orphan in Haiti by the time class was over, and still had enough for a milk shake.
It didn't really bother me too much until we came to Rabbit Pose. I LOVE Rabbit Pose. It feels SO good on my back. I used to try to do it while pregnant, but frankly, the position doesn't leave much room for a baby-laden belly. I would literally dream about the day I could really do a full forward bend to finally release the tension in my back brought on by lugging a bowling ball around in my belly for so long. A forward bend...like Rabbit Pose.
I am not sure why I didn't notice it the first two classes back. Maybe I had nursed Lucy more recently before class. Maybe I didn't go as deeply into the pose. Who knows. All I know is that when I got into Rabbit Pose, my shockingly-full, already-enormous, covered-with-sweat, breasts slapped themselves neatly right over my nose and my mouth. I couldn't have breathed if I wanted to, and certainly not through my nose, as the teacher dictates. So much for a great forward bend. The way to pose compresses everything on the front side of your body makes it impossible to even hold your breath for length of the pose. I was defeated in my favorite pose...by my own boobs.
When I got home after class, I pumped before bed like I always do. I usually get about 5-6oz of body-temperature milk. Last night I got a solid 12oz. And I swear it was boiling.