Post-residency recovery

by Christina on July 14, 2014

It is taking me some time to recover from residency. I’ve been out for almost two weeks now and am slowly beginning to see parts of myself return.

The first few days it was challenging to have such little structure. For the past 8 years I have been constantly busy with studying, assignments, night shifts, calls, back-up, emails and projects. There was always something to distract me. That suddenly all stopped July 1st.

Then my friend sent me this article on the importance of doing nothing.

“Slacking off and setting aside regular periods of ‘doing nothing’ may be the best thing we can do to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination and improve our mental health…

We associate it with irresponsibility, wasting our life. Most of us feel guilty if we don’t have something to do. On the other hand we get a buzz when we feel really busy. Distraction-inducing behaviours like constantly checking email stimulate the brain to shoot dopamine into the bloodstream giving us a rush that can make stopping so much harder…

The danger is we may lose our connections, not just with one another but with ourselves. If we don’t allow ourselves periods of uninterrupted, freely associated thought then personal growth, insight and creativity are less likely to emerge….

Our frenetic activities in cyberspace – a world of multitasking and hyperactivity – help us to delude ourselves that we are productive. The reality is that social media is very reactive but not very original. It contracts creativity and can impact mental health.”

Wow. Yes. Now that I am out of it I can see even more clearly how the long medical path can really suck the creativity out of us — sleep deprivation, stress, constant busy-ness, protocol-driven practices, lack of creative expression makes it really hard to keep those parts of us alive.

So in this post-residency recovery period I am working on getting my creativity back. A few specific steps to help foster this include:

  • Sleeping. I have been sleeping a lot in residency recovery/baby growing mode, but I would like to start getting up earlier and using the early morning hours for some reading and writing pre-yoga practice.
  • Baths. I have restarted my nightly bath ritual. Warm bath with epsom salts as an end to the day.
  • Getting space organized. I can think much more clearly and creatively if my desk and office space is uncluttered.
  • Vision board. For me this is a tack board with goals and inspiration that I re-hung up by my desk.
  • Carry blank notebook around. My sister recommended this and I started doing it this week. It’s helpful for the random ideas that come while waiting for things.
  • Setting up creativity corner. This is a small corner of our home currently with art supplies and a keyboard. I haven’t used it yet but at least the potential space is there.

Please share any other ideas!


Struggling with the Ashtanga practice

by Christina on June 25, 2014

I always thought I’d keep practicing the ashtanga series up until delivery. Hah! Not even close.

My practice has changed a lot. The first trimester it was because I felt terribly sick. Too much up and down made me throw up. Now my body is growing and changing so quickly and I don’t want to hurt the baby in any way.

While I still try to practice nearly every day, it’s different — I move slowly, I don’t build up much heat, I don’t jump back or jump through, I don’t do intense backbends, and I don’t really do inversions anymore.

I’ve been focusing a lot more on back, hip, and shoulder opening and strengthening.

Babymoon yoga at Tomales Bay


It’s hard to keep up a regular practice while still a resident working nights and random shifts. Less than 1 week left!

Sleepless night shifts and call room yoga is one thing I will not miss about residency.


It was interesting to find this article by Betty Lai on the Ashtanga Practice during pregnancy.


Some interesting highlights:

  • Don’t practice first trimester
  • Don’t practice in too much heat
  • Step instead of jump-throughs or jump-backs
  • Avoid engaging bandhas
  • Modify postures to keep feet hip distance apart, not together
  • Do not do twists
  • Avoid poses that put pressure on the uterus
  • Avoid poses on back
  • Backbends are okay if they feel okay
  • No inversions in the third trimester

“Inverted postures such as headstand and shoulderstand are strongly discouraged at this stage [third trimester] because they may adversely affect blood flow to the baby, place undue pressure on the placenta, and increase the risk of the umbilical cord becoming wrapped around the baby’s neck. One must consider that not all babies are “athletic” enough to extricate themselves as the amount of relative space in the uterus decreases; or perhaps in women who have had multiple pregnancies and the uterus is more spacious, it may be easier for the baby to flip around but remain in a breech position. The last 8 weeks of pregnancy are a time to encourage the downward flow of energy and the correct downward positioning of the baby’s head to facilitate labor.”

Come July 1, once I am no longer a resident and my time will be my own again, I’ll start going to prenatal yoga classes… and look forward to getting back to the intensity of the traditional practice post-baby.


No glucola for this baby

by Christina on May 26, 2014

Such a great article that my midwife sent me:

I never wanted to do the glucose tolerance test (the screening test for gestational diabetes), where you drink 75 grams of pure sugar on an empty stomach, and then sit and wait in the lab to have your blood sugar checked 1 hour and 2 hours after the ingestion.

Of course, it is important to know if you have diabetes because it is not at all good for babies. But… I really did not want to take that test and was sure there had to be a better way. Why? I never eat or drink pure 75 grams of sugar, I knew ingesting that would make me feel sick/nauseous/dizzy, and I worried my result would be elevated when my body got suddenly flooded in all that sugar.

When I asked my previous hospital provider if there were any alternatives she said no. Luckily I got a different response from my home birth midwife – she agreed with my concerns and had another option:

She gave me a glucometer for the weekend to check my blood sugar before and after a regular meal that contained 75 grams of carbohydrates as well as protein, fiber, and fat.

My husband and I made a nice Saturday morning out of it. We woke up, checked our fasting blood sugars on the glucometer, made pancakes with syrup and berries, and checked our blood again 1 hour and 2 hours after eating (and we both happily had both fasting and postprandial levels under 90).

I think this was a pretty good solution, at least until the medical community comes up with a better test.

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