Friday, August 7, 2009

Teaching Prenatal Yoga

Last summer, after the first level of general teacher training, I completed both prenatal and post-natal yoga teacher trainings at Tranquil Space in Washington, DC. And the truth is that I fell head-over-heels in love with prenatal yoga.

I learned so much about pregnancy and childbirth. I learned about the options available to pregnant women. I learned about their bodies and specific needs. I learned about home birthing and midwives and birth partners. I watched "The Business of Being Born", which, if you have any interest at all in the topic of how the birth industry has become just that--an industry--then it is a must-see. I read book after book after book on these topics. In fact, while I am not pregnant and I don't practice kundalini yoga, Gurmukh's Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful made me want to run right out and do both. I also observed two prenatal yoga clases, one at Tranquil Space and one at Flow Yoga. They were very different in their approach, though I appreciated both.

I was amazed by the physical strength and grace of pregnant women as they go through a yoga practice. Another pleasant surprise was the sense of community they created. After class, they would all gather around to discuss doctors, hospitals, baby toys, parenting classes, etc. They would have lunch together. In a city where you pass by a million strangers every day with no contact, these women were reaching out to each other to form a bond over a shared life milestone. It was beautiful.

I'm not sure why I was so drawn to prenatal yoga. It might have been that many of these women were discovering the power of yoga for the first time, or rediscovering the benefits of it to their bodies. It could be the sheer excitement that surrounded them as they expected to bring another life into the world. It could be that I have always had an interest in yoga for every body, no matter weight, shape, condition, age, etc.

Many of you know that I am considering doing the 200 hour Yoga Alliance certified training either this Spring or the next. I really hope that following that I can teach prenatal yoga. I feel like that is where I am being called, if that makes sense. In fact, I've been researching midwifery and being a doula for a few months now. Who knows? It could grow into something much bigger.

There is a good general article on the benefits of prenatal yoga called "Labor of Love" over at Yoga Journal.

{Photo credit: KimLowePhoto}


Sara Avant Stover said...

Hi Lauren,
I know what you mean. I also teach prenatal yoga (classes and teacher trainings). This is one of my all-time favorite things to do. There is such magic and love in the room everytime. Have you seen the documentary "Orgasmic Birth"? If not, I highly recommend it!

Melita said...

this is a fantastic post. i understand having calling to do something. that is exactly how i feel about the whole massage therapist, yoga instructor, wellness center dream. you have to do what makes you happy. we only have a short time on this earth, we might as well make it fun. :)

i wish you well on your journey of prenatal yoga and becoming a doula. that is very exciting and i can't wait to hear more about your journey! hugs!

Anonymous said...

Lauren! I feel real peace and truth emanating from this post. It gave me goosebumps.

You are SO onto something.

Forgive my, perhaps premature, excitement, but WOW! This could also bring your writing into focus. Imagine what you could blog about (and maybe BOOK about) as you go through all this education and change and evolution. It could be amazing. And women certainly need more and better guidance on pregnancy and birth than what most of them are being given!

Kiki said...

Lauren, this is so powerful! Every word of this post just breathes with your joy and commitment to this.

BlissChick hit the nail on the head when she said that this might be the way to bring your writing into focus. You said you fell head-over-heels in love with this type of yoga and teaching it - of all the specializations you could have earned (therapeutic, restorative, etc.), this was the one that called to you. Don't discount that as a possible vocation!