Pregnancy is an intense experience for a woman to go through.
Being pregnant is so personal and a woman’s body goes through so many changes, and many of which are uncomfortable. Depending on the way a pregnancy is going along, depending on a woman’s state of mind, career, work, relationship, you name it, can all change the way a woman handles her pregnant body mind and spirit. Some women naturally enjoy and celebrate pregnancy while others find it very hard to go through.
I think it is so important to hold space for women no matter what their take on their pregnant state is, or how each day presents itself.
Women need support.
I have a few viewpoints on pregnancy. I have taught prenatal yoga since 2005. As a pregnant yogi, I have experienced 2 miscarriages before giving birth to my 2 sons who were conceived naturally, while my sister was pregnant by insemination, lost twins in her 5th month of pregnancy and later gave birth to her two children.
I have watched so many friends trying to get pregnant, some who were ultimately unable to get pregnant, unable to find the right partner, some who tried, age up then finally got pregnant and some who gave up their unborn babies because the time was so wrong, who felt guilty, some who felt deeply isolated throughout their pregnancy and birth and who felt really lonely because families and friends were not near, friends who have miscarried and even one beloved soul sister who got pregnant from an affair during her marriage where she was suffering from neglect and an emotionally unavailable partner. There are also friends who have no interest in having children but are often pressured to explain why or encouraged to - “why not, you should do it!”.
No one knows what a woman goes through during these private journeys. So many women suffer quietly because being pregnant and having a baby is supposed to be the most beautiful time of life (and it for sure can be - but it doesn’t always feel ok).. No one knows exactly what a woman is working through or sitting with but the woman herself. Many are juggling another small child, or two, are older as I was, or working their tails off, this is real life stuff. Then there are those who have a very easy situation and are in the best place in their lives to have an enjoyable experience. I also have noticed a lot of comparison among pregnant women and mothers.
I have watched students who were tall with such tiny bellies who didn’t look very pregnant for much of their pregnancy and some who were short, fuller figured and who carried a lot of amniotic fluid, making their bellies appear quite full.
Pregnant women come in all shapes and sizes, and to be honest for what we go through might not be so zen or yogi like. But the truth is, it is a sensitive time that can really be challenging for most women. Watching your body change is a necessary phase which for some, isn’t such a big deal while for others, makes them feel very vulnerable and sensitive (never overly sensitive - this is impossible, we feel what we feel and there is no rule book or measuring stick for our feelings). .
Women feel better connected, relaxed and supported during pregnancy with yoga and mindfulness practices.
I was a regularly practicing yogini through my first and less so thorugh my second and I can tell you that being on the mat regularly with my first made a difference in my comfort levels overall, especially on an emotional level.
I also worked way too hard on the mat during my first pregnancy, which gave me 4 finger separation (diastase, when belly muscles separate) and my pelvic floor after birth was very weak. The recovery period after 2 cesareans was quite hard for me as in my shoes, I was working quite a lot. It made my recovery longer. I didn not have the support or knowledge I needed at the time and this is what made me fall in love with teaching pregnant moms. To help others to get what they need and to share knowledge that can make all the difference in a woman’s prenatal (ad post natal) experience. This is close to y heart.
Over the years, I have enjoyed pouring all the goodness of the practices into the women I have worked with. It has been a lovely experience providing a safe haven for respite for woman traveling through the journey of pregnancy and beyond. Teaching yoga to moms to be, I must admit, are my all time favorite classes to teach.
I see prenatal yoga from all sides. Having had the experience of being a pregnant woman now with 2 children of my own, teaching prenatal yoga to beautiful moms and now training yoga teachers to share yoga, mindfulness and ceremony from a place of thorough understanding and love, is a unique place to be.
I am looking forward to sharing all I can in our Prenatal Yoga for Wellness YTT soon, which covers practical aspects of teaching prenatal yoga. This is an honest course which teaches ceremony, celebration, and how to effectively hold space for women in all ways, no matter what their pregnant experience brings to the table. You will learn yoga, pranayama and mindfulness techniques that help women through pregnancy with tools for physical aches and pains as well as emotional and mental balancing.
We will stay focused on compassion, teaching them about healthy boundaries, life change acceptance, self care and appreciation, self understanding. Compassion is at the very heart of this nurturing course.
Most mothers sacrifice more than they will ever speak of. If we can better nurture and support the mothers of our world, the whole world benefits.
Even if you have never been pregnant, can’t or don’t want to get pregnant, but are a yoga teacher or wanting to be supportive of pregnant women, or to learn about prenatal yoga for yourself, you are army welcomed to come.
You can fine information on my 20 Hour Prenatal Yoga for Wellness Teacher Training Course, to be held at Jiva Yoga Saigon in September in the link below.