2010–2023 Writings
by Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Breathing for Two

Written in


Not to be annoyingly gushingly grateful, but today I feel I have so much to be grateful for. (And I am sitting at the Atlanta airport in the middle of a 5-hour layover to boot… but happy because I’m on the way back to my beloved Guatemala.) I am grateful for family, friends, love, and new beginnings, among other things.

During my month in the USA, I got the chance to visit extended family and old pals, to be visited by three dear out-of-state friends from California, Louisiana and Nebraska, to hang out in gorgeous Santa Fe for a long weekend, to go sailing with my dad — and to load up on TV (mainly The Daily ShowThe Colbert Report and I Love Lucy and Friends reruns), Mexican food, and quality yoga classes.

I got an unlimited month pass to my adored studio, Dharma Yoga, which is located at Guadalupe and 31st Street in Austin, Texas. Dharma Yoga does not offer prenatal yoga classes, but knowing that I am in my second trimester, my teachers Keith and Camilla would always give me modifications in their hatha and all-levels classes, saying, “If you’re breathin’ for two, [do this] instead…” I used to teach prenatal yoga myself, in 2004 in San Mateo, California, back when motherhood was a distant and unlikely possibility (side note: it still feels that way a lot of the time, with just five months to go).

Prenatal yoga is almost just like regular yoga, only you don’t do intense core work, deep twists or backbends, nor any poses lying on the stomach. Also, women over 28 weeks pregnant are advised not to lie on their backs for any pose, including final relaxation (savasana). Instead, we should lie on our left sides and use whatever blankets or bolsters necessary for maximum comfort. At 18 weeks, I am still able to practice fairly easily, even headstands and forearm stands. But those are not advisable unless you already had a strong yoga practice pre-pregnancy.

I like breathing for two. (Eating for two isn’t so bad either.) It is a rare and special opportunity. By breathing deeply and practicing yoga and mindfulness, I’m not only helping myself, I’m benefitting the baby. Que bendición! What a blessing!

2 responses to “Breathing for Two”

  1. Love this idea – breathing for two. When Terry Tempest Williams sat at her mother’s death bed, she syncopated her breath rhythm with that of her mother’s. She could only describe it as ‘erotic’ to get at just how intimate the connection was. Breathing for two is on life’s both ends, huh?

  2. I’d never thought of that, but yeah, breathing for two is one of the many things that comes full circle at the beginning and end of life. Thinking of you these days, Jeff.

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