Generally for most folks pubic pain shows up in the third trimester, though if you had it in your previous pregnancy, chances are good it will show up again (and earlier) in your following pregnancies. For most people this shows up as a sharp, shooting pain in the region of the pubic bone. The interesting thing about the pubic bone is its actually a joint, there are two bones that meet at what we think of as the pubic bone, and like any joint, there is connective tissue that holds the joint together.
Because of relaxin, a hormone released during pregnancy, connective tissue in the body is softening over time. As baby grows, added weight presses down on the pelvis which puts strain on this joint, and for some folks this ends up causing pubic symphysis dysfunction. It will usually show up one of two ways 1) when doing lunges or after long walks or exercise where legs are going forward and back or 2) when opening the knees away from one another in things like rolling over in bed.
We may think this fun little side effect of pregnancy wouldn’t show up until the third trimester when baby is taking up a great deal of space in the abdomen and pressing on the internal organs, but for many folks, it shows up right away in the first trimester. Increased levels of progesterone slow down the soft muscle contractions of the intestines, which slows digestion so more nutrients can be absorbed. When food moves more slowly through the digestive tract, constipation and gas are natural side effects.
This one is another doozy that new parents are often unprepared for in terms of bodily discomfort. We often don’t think about the fact that holding baby for an extended period of time can cause forearm tightness and compression in wrist joints. The combination of these two things can lead to inflammation of the tendons running through the carpal tunnel and out to the hands and fingers. As a result, folks often have debilitating wrist, hand and finger pain that is hard to manage because they can’t stop holding their babies, so it is difficult to mitigate the inflammation. Especially with new parents who may not feel completely at ease holding their new baby, there is a tendency to want to curl in and hold the baby extra tight. What often happens is they curl their hands in and around the head or the baby’s bottom creating extra pressure on the wrist joint.
Before class Saturday morning I was listening to a podcast with Pádraig Ó Tuama, a poet, theologian and healer living in Ireland. His talk was moving and spoke to many things I had been contemplating about how to come into relationship and conversation during hard times. He has a beautiful presence and profound wisdom and I highly recommend giving it a listen. Near the end eh shared a poem that made me really stand up and listen, in fact, I listened to it several times. While his lens is Catholicism, everything he was speaking to spoke to my practice and why I practice. I shared it in class and several folks felt the same way, so here I am sharing it with you. Enjoy...
This year's winter solstice marked the darkest day in over 500 years. For many of us, this feels like an accurate representation to what we're
both in our outer and inner worlds. There is a sense of darkness that feels insurmountable and unshakeable. I have spoken with many people who feel overwhelmed by our current political and social climate and feel immobilized by their feelings of sadness and grief. And yet others I have spoken to have been mobilized by their anger and struggling with where to direct that energy.
It feels like many of us are looking for tools and frameworks of how to work with what we're feeling. For me, I have turned to my yoga community and its teachings to help me bridge the gap of action with intention. And yet as I’ve started to watch what is unfolding in the community I've seen a lot of interesting dialogue around "being positive," "focusing only only on love" and I have seen many teachers and students alike coming down on one another for negativity or the righteous anger they are expressing. I have to say say, as student of yoga and human being I am troubled by this.
"The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
As we traveled through the lower chakras, we explored the elements associated with each. The first chakra is associated with earth, the second water, third with fire and the fourth with air. The throat chakra is often spoken of as being associated with the element of ether, which has a very light and etheric quality, but moving out of the throat, we leave all traditional element behind (a note here, that sometimes the throat is considered to embody the element of sound). The sixth chakra, is sometimes spoken of as embracing the element of light. While light is not an element in it the most traditional sense, it certainly has elemental qualities and given the 6th chakra association with sight, light makes perfect sense in this context.
As a society we tend to have unbalanced throat chakras. Advances in technology and social media have lead to an over-abundance of "communication" but communication that is inauthentic and doesn't provide true connection. You can see this physically manifested in the over-stretching common in so many people who spend their days at the computer. The neck is long in the back and constricted in the front, the cervical curve is lost. Energetically this speaks to a blockage in the front of the chakra (the giving side of the chakra) and a weakness in the back of the chakra (the receiving side of the chakra). We can all benefit from a little throat chakra work!
"Just as we open and heal the body by sensing its rhythms and touching it with a deep and kind attention, so we can open and heal other dimensions of our being. The heart and the feelings go through a similar process of healing through the offering of our attention to their rhythms, nature and needs. Most often, opening the heart begins by opening to a lifetime's accumulation of unacknowledged sorrow, both our personal sorrows and the universal sorrows of warfare, hunger, old age, illness and death. At time we may experience this sorrow physically as contractions and barriers around our heart, but more often we feel the depth of our wounds, our abandonment, our pain as unshed tears. The Buddhists describe this as an ocean of human tears larger than the four great oceans. As we take the one seat and develop a meditative attention, the heart presents itself naturally for healing." -Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart
Direct access tp the heart center can be intimidating and scary. After heartbreak and loss in our lives we build protective barriers and shields energetically (and sometimes even physically through tight muscles in the chest) and blowing right through these can actually create more protective layers rather then letting them gently fall away. This week, we again explore a "side door" to the heart through the 4th chakra's element of air. The quality of air is lightness, movement and openness. As we explore air in the body we look for these elements and move stagnancy and heaviness out of the body through the breath. Below are some practices for accessing air and the 4th chakra in your own body.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the 2nd chakra is ruled by the water element. Given its rule of the tides and the movement of water, the moon is deeply connected with the 2nd chakra. These practices are excellent for accessing the 2nd chakra and can also be utilized during the moon cycles each month.
Yoga teacher, sound healer and explorer of the inner landscape. Join me!