Just Being – Redefining Strength During Pregnancy

At eight month’s pregnant, I went on a Holy Yoga Retreat. The entire week was amazing and I surprisingly could keep up with everyone else. However, on the final day I hit rock bottom. Our Holy Yoga class that day was a flow series based upon strength. “I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love.” (Ephesians 3:16-17 from The Message) Therefore, the entire class would be focused on drawing strength into each pose. At first I didn’t think this would be a problem but as the hour and ½ class kept going, I began to see my pregnant body fighting me. I could no longer hold poses I once was very good at doing. I could not keep up with the pace of the class and I constantly needed to modify a pose or simply rest. By the end of the class as we laid in corpse pose, I could not stand it anymore. I felt like a complete failure. I had no strength at all; I was weak not strong. My growing belly was limiting my current stamina. As everyone else around me was relaxing after their amazing Holy Yoga experience, I made a mad dash for my room. Once there I cried. I wanted so hard to be strong but this pregnancy was making me weak or at least that is how I saw it at the time.

Later that afternoon I wrote the following poem.

What is Strength?

Muscles, might, boldness, core, being firm,
grounded, being able to push through, to overcome

So what happens when your strength is gone?

God took away my strength–

The only thing I have ever known.

The thing that makes me, me.

The quality that sets me apart

And make me look courageous.

The thing my family strives upon.

Instead of strength, God gave me another gift.

A precious, humble gift.

However, with this gift I lost the only strength I have known.

How do you love this gift and yet find your strength?

Do you change your definition of strength?

What is strength?

It is nothing about me,

It is not a part of my stature.

Strength is deeper,

It is unknown,

It is in my heart

And in my soul.

It is being flexible, open, and free.

Strength is just being.

After that Holy Yoga class, I realized that strength is much more than just physical. Strength is all encompassing–mind, body, heart, and soul. Strength does not have anything to do with how toned my body is, how many push ups I can do, or how long I can hold a yoga pose. Strength is so much more than that. Strength is deep within each of us; it resides in our personality, our heart, and our soul. Strength is seen in whom we are, not what we can do.

Although I hated every second of that particular Holy Yoga class and I have watched my body progressively weakened due to this growing miracle inside me, I no longer feel like my strength is decreasing. If anything, I feel just the opposite. My strength is on the rise each day. May you find your strength in just being too.