Karly Treacy’s how-I-got-my-body-back-after-baby story is not like the ones you read about in gossip magazines. For Treacy, getting her body back in shape after having three children wasn’t about losing weight from her belly or toning up her arms—it was about strengthening her pelvic floor.
“A few months after my third child was born, I went to my doctor to ask about a bit of skin that was hanging near my vagina. I found it annoying and it got in the way during sex. He informed me that he could not trim the skin because it was my bladder. Due to lack of the strength and flexibility in my pelvic floor, my pelvic organs—bladder, bowels and urethra—had prolapsed,” Treacy told The Chalkboard in a recent interview.
Faced with the prospect of major surgery, Treacy decided to take matters into her own hands and use her yoga practice to heal and strengthen her pelvic floor. Now completely recovered, she teaches new moms about how to rediscover their bodies post-baby with workshops and classes, in addition to teaching yoga throughout the LA area.
We sat down with her to learn more about her journey, how yoga changed her body and life, and how she juggles life as a momma and a yoga guru.
You went from marathoner and yoga skeptic to full-on yogi—what was the “a-ha” moment that made you change your tune?
I didn’t really have an “a-ha” moment per se. Rather it was the culmination of several moments that allowed me to arrive at the knowing that this practice is an essential piece to my well-being.
I only began a yoga practice as a means for stretching for my marathons. It all started with a Patricia Walden VHS some 20+ years ago. Over time I realized that the yoga made my body feel good. I ran faster, I slept better, I felt happier. Over more time, I noticed that the only time I wasn’t physically or mentally running away from life, thoughts etc. was when I was on my mat, breathing, balancing and focusing on just what was happening in that moment. This awareness was the sinker! I’d already been hooked in, but to have access to something that could soothe my body and mind in my living room was a gift!
How did your identity change once you adopted yoga into your life?
I don’t think my identity has changed from adopting this practice. I understand myself and have more compassion for myself and others than perhaps I might without the yoga, but overall, I think I’m the same old me.
You’re also a mom of three! What was your yoga practice like as you transitioned from “maiden to mother?”
The transition into motherhood is what really forced the compassion issue for me. I have been an athlete for as long as I can remember. There is no place for striving or pushing yourself when you’re pregnant. I slowed down, I checked in with my body more than I had ever done and I realized how much more there is to gain moving slowly and with attention. This is when my yoga practice became karma in action. You can literally feel the consequences of your actions when you move in this way.
Was there ever a time when you thought, “This yoga thing doesn’t fit into my life anymore the way it used to?”
For the longest time, I thought I could never teach yoga. It was always a part of my life, I had great appreciation for the benefits of the practice and openly shared my love for yoga with my friends and fam, but I didn’t think that I would/could teach. I was a food loving, non-vegetarian who uses curses words regularly, needs wine and coffee, and doesn’t understand chanting…. I was/am the furthest thing from any kind of yogic guru. I spoke about this with my teacher in Boston and she said that all of the reason for me not to teach are exactly the reason I should. She said, “as I experienced, this practice is a gift to all. Your people will find you and they will be so grateful when they do.”
I love teaching yoga. I feel gratitude every single day that I get to teach what I am passionate about. That said, it takes up a lot of my practice time and doesn’t quite allow me to fit in my yoga like it did in the past!
How do you stay dedicated to your practice as a busy mom?
Oh man! I used to be able to practice every day, twice I day if I wished. Maybe a little Vinyasa flow in the am and a little Yin at night…those were the days! Now, I get to a class as often as possible and when I can’t, I do a little home practice. Even if it is just 20 minutes. Taking the time to slow down, feel my body and breathe is necessary.
If you could tell new moms one thing, what would it be?
If I could tell new moms one thing it would be to ask for help. We live in a society where we are all expected to be perfect, to have all of our shit together, to have a marriage, family, career, yoga practice, HIIT workout, organic, grass-fed, pasture raised, farmers market fresh, home cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner and not say we’re busy and/or exhausted because that implies that you don’t know how to self-care and that is currently frowned upon. This list is long and most of us want most of it. It takes a village and it seems we are all currently operating as islands. We have to get to a place where we lean on one another, ask for help, outsource to each other so that we can attempt to have it all. Whatever “it all” is to you! #strongertogether