Why Prenatal Yoga?
I love teaching prenatal yoga. And I would love to share a little about how I came to love it so much.
I need to rewind a little to begin with:
My early adult path took a very masculine form, studying engineering, working in a workforce that was 10% female at most, and feminine qualities were hard to connect with – they were almost was something that was external to my work persona, the two difficult to reconcile. I married at 30 and was pregnant almost immediately, and found the changes in my body very difficult to deal with.
I had enjoyed yoga through my twenties, and searched and searched for prenatal yoga classes during this pregnancy, but found none that I could attend, so instead began to amass books on the subject and use them for my own practice. However at that time I still found that the demands of my working environment were something I felt I should continue to deal with “as before”, and in retrospect was obviously so stressed, so full of cortisol, that the stresses were causing my baby to grow slowly, and ultimately to go into labour before he was ready.
My birth experience was completely traumatic for me. I had a mental image of myself as someone tough, strong, with good pain tolerance, tenacious; but the universe had some other experiences to show me. My body progressed through labour well until I had dilated to about 3cm, but my baby was not coping – his heartrate was dropping and staff were concerned about his oxygen levels, so there was an epidural, an emergency C-section, some disgracefully disrespectful hospital staff, and a frightened and nauseous mother on the operating table. And then a 5lb beautiful boy.
I felt initially destroyed by the birthing experience, and that I had failed; but I did feel a transformation into the fierce mother mammal. I found that breastfeeding was easy and amazing for me, nurturing this little life, willing him to the growth that my body hadn’t given him in the womb. Also, initial healing from the feeling of failure came from the gratitude that we were both alive and healthy. In restrospect, I wish that I had had a wise supportive female presence – i.e. a doula – with me to reassure, guide and empower.
Pregnancy number 2 came 18 months later. I was a little unsure about going through the process for a second time until I had some blood spotting at 13 weeks, at which point I put myself on bed rest and willed that baby to stay there. He did. Birth experience number two was similar in many ways to number one, but so much more empowered for me. My yoga practice had deepened and strengthened since baby number one, and continued all through pregnancy number two. My first experience of chanting was with baby number two in my belly, wriggling at the vibrations. Yoga and meditation kept me so much calmer through the labour process and the interventions that come with trying for “VBAC” (vaginal birth after caesarean). I felt stronger and more empowered. Even though I chose surgical intervention, I chose it from a place of strength and being informed, rather than one of pain or fear.
“Scars are made of the strongest tissue in our bodies even though they are the result of deep injury. What if the moments of the greatest wounding in your life were also places where the Divine crossed your path and life was born? What wound in your life could be a passageway to your purpose? How could its healing provide a connection to the healing of the world?” From 'I will not die an unlived life' by Dawna Markova
Fast forward past yoga teacher training when my babies were little, and already offering yoga classes and prenatal yoga myself, in 2012 during some additional ‘yoga practices for women’ training, I chose to also train as a doula. I spent an intensive few days in a hot, womb-like room, sharing stories of birth experiences and wished-for babies, learning about how to support women through labour, childbirth and beyond. I could feel the palpable healing at a cellular and soul level, with that community of wise women in that womb-like room, to my own personal, traumatic experiences of giving birth and how I could pass that healing on to improve other women’s birthing experiences, maybe even make them sublime…
No, not ‘maybe’…
My Mission Statement
My dream, my mission statement, is through my Radiant Goddess Pre and Post Natal Yoga classes, I will make women’s pregnancies radiant, their birthing experiences sublime, and heal the world by bring peaceful, calm, fear-free babies into the world.
And thus was birthed “Radiant Goddess Prenatal Yoga”.