How an energy healer taught one active mom-to-be the virtues of learning to slow down.
Moving my body is what I do to release stress and feel strong and energized. So when I didn’t know I was pregnant and was doing 20-mile training runs back in October for the New York City Marathon and climbing obstacle courses while competing in a Tough Mudder mud run, I couldn’t figure out why I was slowing down so much.
That is, until I had a dream of a little baby with blue-green eyes and dark hair that felt so, well, real that I immediately drove to the store to buy a pregnancy test…which came back positive. Surprise!
And so after giving up running altogether by 14 weeks (it just didn’t feel good anymore!) in favor of walking, I had to completely change my fitness routine to better listen to my changing body. Instead of going for long runs, I’d do a three or four-mile walk twice a week, prenatal yoga once or twice a week, and swam twice a week. Sometimes I’d take the occasional spinning or weight-lifting class (using much lighter weights and always modifying based on what felt good to my body) just to switch things up.
Though at 36 weeks I’ve still managed to gain 35 pounds (and with four weeks still to go I will probably be over the recommended range of 25 to 35 pounds for a woman starting at a healthy weight), for me fitness is less about the number on the scale and more about feeling good in my body and keeping it strong for my baby during labor.
Though I definitely don’t feel like my pre-pregnant self, I often forget just how big my belly actually is until I’m in a gym class and have other women coming up to me surprised that I’m still working out so late in my pregnancy—and providing me with lots of encouragement for sticking with it.
This was the reaction I got from many people when I went on a little baby moon to Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA this week, which is known for it’s large sampler of daily fitness classes, healthy food, pampering spa, and integrated medicine consultations. The wellness resort was offering a Jumpstart to a Healthier Life program for people who want to start new fitness habits or set the healthy stage for a life transition—which for me is becoming a new mom! I figured it’d be good to take four days to focus on wellness, relax, and feel more grounded before my little guy arrived and everything changes, so I signed up. Plus, they have a babymoon special where new parents get 15% off a package stay and an extra $135 each to use on spa or integrated wellness services.
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And while I experimented with fun new fitness routines (such as ballet barre), mind-body classes (such as The Power of Breath), and spa treatments specially designed for moms-to-be (like the organic and customizable You Glow Girl Facial), what I think really had the biggest impact on me feeling more grounded and calm about graduating into the new role of motherhood upon checkout was something I totally didn’t expect to affect me much at all. It was something called a Healing Energy treatment recommended to me by one of the resort’s nurses as one of the services that can calm mom and baby in utero, and “help with the transition into motherhood.”
“Healing energy uses techniques, such as light touch and sometimes crystals, to balance the flow of energy throughout your body,” said my energy therapist named Joann. “Our body has different energy centers and by interrupting blockages, you can get emotional relief and feel more calm and at peace.”
I wasn’t sure I was buying it, but I had decided to try new things that I normally wouldn’t try during my time at Canyon Ranch and wanted to have an open mind. When Joann held a crystal fastened to the end of a string over my different energy centers as I lay on my left side on a massage table, she said I was balanced in all areas except for the center that is linked to feeling grounded, which she also said is common during a life transition. Then she held that crystal over my tummy to gauge my baby boy’s energy, and it started spinning faster and faster. “His energy is very strong,” she said as my little guy suddenly started kicking like crazy. Whether I believed it or not, it made me smile and feel more connected to my baby, getting even more excited to meet him in just a few short weeks.
Joann told me to close my eyes, and I felt her hands lightly touching my feet, my legs, my lower back, the top of my scalp. Though she didn’t use much pressure, I felt a tingling sensation as she touched my head. And then I was asleep for the rest of the 80-minute session. I awoke to the sound of a bell or chime I think, slowly opening my eyes and feeling like I’d just clocked 10 hours of the most delicious, restorative sleep.
Afterwards, I took a 20-minute walk on the trail in the woods of the resort’s ground, breathing in the sweet smell of flowers and trees and feeling more relaxed than I remembered feeling in a long time. Though I initially came to Canyon Ranch to take advantage of the huge variety of fitness classes, that Healing Energy session reminded me that sometimes the best way to connect with my body (and my baby) may come from stillness. Maybe the lesson I needed to learn before my son arrives is to create more space in my life to slow down and to just be. In my last few weeks of pregnancy, I’m going to try to make daily downtime as much of a priority as fitting in fitness to help me feel more grounded.