Archive of ‘Moments of Mindfulness’ category

National Infertility Awareness Week

April 21st-27th, 2013 is National Infertility Awareness Week and according to the CDC, 6.7 million women under age 44 have impaired fertility.  Who knew???  I certainly didn’t!  At least not until it happened to me.  Looking at me from the outside, having 4 children ranging in from age 5-20, you wouldn’t realize I had any fertility issues unless I told you.  After having 3 uneventful pregnancies resulting in 2 sons and a daughter, we thought we were done with having children.  Then, when our youngest was 4, we decided that something was missing.  We assumed that getting pregnant would be easy- after all, I had already had 3 successful pregnancies.  Not-so-much.  Of course, I was older now, but even then, I was only 30 at the time which, I think we would all agree, isn’t that old!  We tried from almost a year and nothing.  Charts, temperatures, healthy lifestyle and still nothing.  I couldn’t tell you how many ovulation predictor stick and pregnancy tests I’ve peed on!  I could tell you the best brands and how much HCG (the pregnancy hormone) they detected.  Then, we decided to see a fertility specialist. I then was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  At that time, we tried Clomid, IUI and still nothing.  Our last effort was to turn to IVF.  Of course, I had been doing yoga this whole time and meditating on it and “trying to relax”- yeah right!  Tell anyone who says, “just relax and you’ll get pregnant” to take a flying leap!  The more you tell yourself to relax, the more anxious you get!  Even as a yoga instructor!  Oh, and throw in ovaries that are normally the size of grapes that have ballooned to the size of lemons!  That makes twisting postures all but impossible!  And the hormones- oy vey!  The daily shots that I would give myself would make my moods swing like Tarzan in the Amazon and cause me to break out into sweats as if I was doing Sun Salutations in a Bikram Yoga class!

Our first attempt at IVF was only partially successful.  One of my ovaries (containing 11 eggs) was so large that it “flipped” behind one of my main abdominal blood vessels.  This meant that the Dr. would have to go through the vessel in order to retrieve the eggs.  Clearly, this would not be prudent, so he didn’t- this meant that I had to release all of those eggs on my own- talk about uncomfortable!  The other ovary was cooperative, and it too, yielded 11 eggs.  As the eggs were harvested they were graded and fertilized with my husbands swimmers.  The eggs were observed for 3 days to see how healthy they were.  At that point and time, we only had 9 of the 11 make it.  Our quality or grade of embryo was some A’s some B’s.  I had 3 embryos implanted and we waited.  I’d go back for bloodwork in 10 days only to find that I had had a chemical pregnancy- something started to take, but then didn’t.  We were devastated.  How could I have gone from having no problem getting pregnant to requiring fertility drugs???

We had to take a month off before we could try again.  At this point, we had 6 embryos left that we had frozen.  If this didn’t work, I don’t know what we would’ve done.  I don’t know that I was up to putting my body through the Hell of IVF again and pretty sure that my husband would need to be declared a saint for putting up with my chemically induced mood swings!  At this point, I viewed this transfer as our last-ditch effort so I wanted to do everything I could to make it work.  I was still practicing yoga and teaching on a daily basis.  It was then that I decided to add acupuncture.  I had never done it before and was a bit nervous as I am not a huge fan of needles, but at this point, a few acupuncture needles was nothing in comparison of the poking and prodding I’ve undergone thus far.  I went for acupuncture twice a week and truly feel that it was a strong factor in the outcome of our story…

When it was time to implant our remaining embryos, the process was a bit easier since I didn’t have to have the egg retrieval again.  At this point, we had 6 embryos frozen.  Of course, then, I grapple with the moral side of the fertility issue and what happens if they all take???  I certainly wasn’t wanting 6, but I had faith that whatever was meant to be would be.  On transfer day, only 4 of our 6 had survived the thawing procedure.  Their grades were 3 B’s and one C; not great, but not awful.  We transferred all 4 embryos and waited to see what hand fate would deal us.  Blood tests followed with no signs of HCG.  I had about lost my hope.  Then, just when they were about to declare the transfer unsuccessful, my numbers started to rise.  I was pregnant!  But, I was cautioned by the Dr. not to get too ahead of myself because the numbers were rising slowly.  My glimmer of hope began to brighten.  My rear end felt like a pin cushion as I continued to give myself IM progesterone shots for the next 16 weeks to help support the pregnancy.  In November of 2007, we welcomed out beautiful daughter, Elly, completing our family of 2 boys and 2 girls (no, we did not choose gender or anything extreme, we were just glad to have our final child).  Since her arrival, she has been a joyful light in our lives on a daily basis.  We lovingly refer to her as our “totsicle.”  She is beautiful, smart and has an uncanny sense of humor.  I look at her each and every day and realize what a true miracle she is.

For those women out there who struggle with infertility, my heart goes out to you because I’ve been on both sides of that fence.  I know not everyone who tries to get pregnant or even resorts to fertility treatments will get pregnant and I can’t begin to imagine how that person must feel.  And obviously, I can’t make any guarantees, but what I can say is that, speaking from my own personal experience, yoga and acupuncture helped me and it’s worth a shot for you, too.  We welcome you to inquire more about the yoga and acupuncture services at ZGY.  We are committed to supporting you body, mind and spirit.

Much love and Namaste’
Lisa

 

Click here http://www.squidoo.com/national-infertility-awareness-week  to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week.

 

A Place of Presence | North Carolina Yoga

By Lisa A. Muehlenbein, E-RYT 200, RYT 500

C.S. Lewis said, “This moment contains all moments.”  It’s really true, if you think about it.  Everything we have experienced in our lives prior to this present moment has shaped us into who we are today.  Every moment has had a purpose…a lesson to be learned.  The problem is, were we present enough to learn that lesson and apply it to our lives in order to live the best life possible?  Our yoga studios hold the ability to enable our students to achieve a balance and presence of mind to be open to life’s lessons.  Whether we are driving in the car, engaged in conversation with friends or drinking our morning coffee, we have the ability to be present and mindful in that moment and absorb what is going on around us.  By being open and available to the experiences we encounter, we are able to learn.  When we learn, we allow personal growth and development occur.  So, take each moment and learn from it.  Be present Be mindful.  Be hOMe.

Meditation

By Leslie Lehman, RYT 200

We have a tendency to look externally for answers. We look to the media (tv, magazines, etc) to decide how to look, what to wear, and maybe even how to act. Our life is a concoction of what others tell us to be and what we think we should be. Consequently we lock out the voice of our spirit. We have this fear of not fitting in to society’s box and being our own individual. The fear of not being accepted as we truly are drives us into being a completely different person than our spirit (our true self, without ego, doubt, fear, judgment) dictates. We would rather be someone other than ourselves because it doesn’t hurt as much if we are not accepted. The spirit is not exposed to the opinions of others, so rejection is not as pungent as when our spirit is rejected. We feel the need to develop tough skin and to hide behind walls so nobody really knows who we truly are. The fear of being uncomfortable drives us to ignore the true self. As we have grown up, you may have experienced bullying in some way. Bullying is a form of this ignorance of the spirit. The bully wants to take the attention away from his/her perceived flaws by pointing out the flaws of someone else. He/she is trying to escape from the pain of his/her own flaws by causing others pain. The bully strives for acceptance at the expense of others. He/she is living through the ego which causes a domino effect of hurt for the bully and all others in his/her path. If the bully looked inwardly and started to accept the parts of his self that he has defined as imperfections, then he can start to grow into his spirit and feel less and less the urge to hide behind his ego. Once the bully starts to accept herself, then instead of poking fun at others imperfections she could compliment them on those perceived imperfections. The bully could start the process of healing all the energy blockages self created by the negative energy he has directed toward his spirit. The bully can learn to direct her energies to helping people feel comfortable in their own skin.

In yoga we learn to look inwardly instead of outwardly for answers to balancing the self, body, and mind. As the yoga physical practice gets uncomfortable or challenging, we need to turn our attention to the spirit to find the fortitude to keep trying. We learn to quiet the bully inside us who continually tells us we are not good enough or strong enough. As we look inwardly and direct the physical body into alignment through the shifting of muscles, fascia, bones, etc, we start to appraciate our bodies and the connectivity we can gain by looking inwardly. There is no benefit in your yoga practice to comparing your body to a classmates body in a yoga pose. We all have so many different life experiences that have made our body unique and special. We all will look different in the same pose, but we are all reaping the same benefits from the pose. When we start to compare ourselves to others, we lose our focus, balance, and spirit. The bully ego takes over and causes us to doubt our bodies. As we look outwardly in yoga, we are striving to find a focal point, a point that is distinct and as small as possible to center our attention to and to quiet the ego from the desire to look around and compare. We learn to love our bodies just as they are and allow the spirit to shine through in the beauty of the posture.

Everyone of us has our own unique beauty and grace. The spirit is the embodiment of this beauty and grace. Take a few moments in deep reflection of this beauty and grace. As you look inwardly, quiet the voice of the internal bully that tries to make you think otherwise. As we learn to appreciate ourselves in every way, then pay it forward. Instead of seeing others flaws, see their beauty and let them know. We do not need to compare or compete with anyone to help ourselves feel better. The path to feeling good about ourselves is feeling good about others. Let others know how special they are and how much you appreciate them. We can all make the world a more peaceful place by appreciating the grace of others. Kindness is the best gift you can give to yourself and others. Once your mind starts turning to judgment, be aware and focus the mind on the beauty and grace of yourself and others. We can create a world of peace with simple kind words and actions. Allow yourself to give away kindness at all times, without any expectation of anything in return. Live into the greatness of your spirit and allow your spirit to warm the hearts of others and your own heart.

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