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It took another person growing inside of me to listen to my body. Then I lost the baby and it felt like my body lied. I didn’t know what to believe anymore.
As a yoga teacher, I encourage people to trust their bodies every day. Yet before I got pregnant, I didn’t always listen to my body as deeply as I should’ve. I overrode cravings for meat when my iron was low and woke up too early when I desperately needed sleep. I ignored fullness signals and had that extra cookie, and ignored starvation signals when watching my weight. The minute there was another life on the line—inside me—all of that changed immediately. My body and baby were boss, and I was their faithful servant.
From the moment those two pink lines showed up on the test, I knew this journey would be fragile. With every day that I was joyful and excited, I was also terrified. We know life is out of our control, but never more than when you are growing another person inside of you. Yes, you can take care of yourself, eat the right foods, and be smart about your choices, but ultimately the decision of whether that baby sees the light of day is not in your hands. And because you have never wanted anything more in your whole life, it is the scariest feeling to be somewhat out of control.
So, I hung onto the things I could control. I listened to the people who reassured me that being nauseous and having pregnancy symptoms were a sign of a healthy baby. My symptoms became an anchor—something to hold onto. I would poke at my breasts to make sure they were still sore and test my nausea by waiting just a minute or two longer than I should to eat. I would check the toilet paper for blood, even in the dead of night. I would listen deeply to any churn of my tummy, trying to differentiate digestion from cramps. Online sites and friends regularly reassured me, “If you are not bleeding or cramping, everything is fine!” But everything was not fine.
See also Mourning a Miscarriage
When we saw the empty sac on the ultrasound screen where a fetus should have been, I was not only sad, I also felt deceived and confused. How could my body lie to me? The part that I had the hardest time understanding was my body was telling me one thing, while something completely different was actually happening.
If we are lucky enough to get pregnant again, how will I ever know the baby is OK? This is where miscarriage can be incredibly isolating. You feel like you have nothing to hold onto, nothing anchoring you. This is also where miscarriage can be an opportunity to connect to something bigger. It is a time to come together with your sisters, to rekindle your faith in the universe’s plan, and most importantly, to reconnect with yourself.
Now, I’m working on repair— physically repairing after the loss of life, and personally repairing my relationship with myself. I am working to reignite my faith in my body’s wisdom, remembering that the baby did not continue to develop because there was something wrong. I am also choosing to focus on the fact that my body got to experience creation, however brief the amount of time. I don’t know if we can do it again. I hope so. But I do know that for a few moments of my own precious life, I got to experience the gift of creation.
I found this sequence incredibly healing and helpful after my loss—a way to say, “thank you” and reconnect to my body. I hope it does the same for you.
Thunderbold Pose (Vajrasana), variation
One of the English translations of Vajrasana is “diamond-like,” reminding us that it is through great struggle and challenge that we are fortified. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your uterus to reconnect to these two parts. Transmit love from your heart, which has no judgments or expectations, to your womb as a way to say thank you and I love you.
Cat/Cow (Bidalasana/Marjaryasana), variation
Pregnancy is an incredibly primal experience, and the body has an innate wisdom on how to develop a living being. Moving the body in circles from the hips to the heart is a way to reconnect to your primal, almost animal-like, energy. It can help remind you that your body is wise.
See also Teaching Pregnant Students
Side Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana), variation
When we have lost a baby, it is easy to feel weak or at blame, and to question what we could have done to make things different. Life is unfortunately out of our control, but how we view the world and how we feel are things we can influence. Standing poses help remind us of our strength and that we will persevere. They shift us from victim to warrior. Having your arms in a hug-like shape here is a way of pulling in your energy, to refuel for the next climb ahead, which you are ready for.
See also Special Delivery
“A miscarriage is a birth, it just has a very different outcome.” This quote from an anonymous midwife really helped me. Goddess Pose is actually a common shape that pregnant women make during natural birth or to induce labor. It is a return to the divine feminine—a way to energetically birth the negativity and pain remaining after the loss. This pose is also a great way to reignite faith in the female body and its miraculous wisdom.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Utkatasana develops leg strength, which correlates to personal power. It also teaches the important action of leaning into yourself. In order to align the knee safely over the ankle and to lift the torso off the pelvis to lengthen the spine, one must literally lean back and trust that they will catch themselves. I like to call it, “having our own back.” Rebuilding trust in your body and strength after a miscarriage is important, but it also takes time. Be patient.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), variation
It is not easy to open one’s heart after it has been shattered. In fact, it may feel downright impossible. Moving in a dynamic Bridge Pose offers a gentle way to start to move energy through the body, while also passively opening the heart. When we are in trauma, whether stress or loss, the healthiest thing to do is to move. A simple breath-linked flow can have a profound effect.
See also The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Reclined Cobblers Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Ho’oponopono is the Hawaiian ancient forgiveness prayer. The words are: “Please forgive me, I’m so sorry, I love you, Thank you.” Laying in this shape with your hands resting lovingly on your uterus is the physical expression of these words. Repeating the prayer while in this pose can be doubly powerful. Even if the words feel false at first, stay with it. Remember it is not your fault. It is not your body’s fault. And the sooner you can forgive, the sooner you can heal.
Savasana, with heart mudra around the uterus
Throughout my brief pregnancy, I would trace heart shapes around my uterus with my fingers. I would also make a heart shape mudra and rest this mudra over my womb, repeating the mantra, “We love you, and we can’t wait to meet you.” I still find this comforting even though there is no baby growing inside me. It helps me remember that I got to know what it is like to feel another being growing inside of me, even if for a short while. And it gives me hope that I’ll experience that again.