I was in early labor. My mom and step-dad were in town visiting, and we were all in the family room watching a baseball play-off game on TV. I had a pen and paper in my lap so I could log the frequency and duration of the contractions.
Sometime after the 7th inning I decided to call the doctor. Since this was our fourth baby, he suggested my husband and I make our way to the hospital. As we walked down the hall to grab my purse and suitcase, our other daughter suddenly woke up and let out a blood curdling scream. I immediately ran to her bedroom and found her sobbing and holding her stomach. “It hurts! It hurts!” she cried as she rocked back and forth in her bed.
In the span of two seconds, my entire focus shifted from getting to the hospital- to getting to the bottom of what was wrong with our little girl. I was convinced it was something terrible, like appendicitis, and was under no circumstances going to leave her to go anywhere. I took her temperature, brought her a hot water bottle, plugged in a Disney movie and monitored her for the next several hours. It wasn’t until much later that I even realized that my contractions had stopped the very minute I heard her first scream.
Exhausted, my husband and I dragged ourselves to bed after she finally fell asleep at about 1am. My water broke the moment my feet touched the floor later that morning when the sun came up.. and we were “off to the races.”
Why this story?
In my life, this was hands down, the most incredible illustration of the direct connection between mind and body. I am convinced that my maternal concern for my daughter’s wellbeing caused hours of progressing labor to stop on a dime. When you think about it, that’s a pretty amazing example of the ability of our thoughts and emotions to affect our bodily functions. Of course you wouldn’t need to convince those afflicted with anxiety (and its related physical manifestations) of this connection.
My goal over the past few months has been to learn how to harness the power of my mind to help my body “run” better. Yoga has definitely provided me with a concrete method for strengthening that connection between what I think and how I feel. I am learning how to quiet myself, breathe and focus my mind. Surprisingly, yoga has also enabled me to create a calmness within that has opened much deeper “spaces” for prayer.
There are so many great yoga DVDs available today. If you haven’t tried one, I really encourage you to do so..