Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boiled Milk

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 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 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.

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