Birth in Awareness
- A handbook of prenatal yoga
Be prepared and deepen your understanding of pregnancy and birth. Discover the depths of how yoga can greatly influence and assist women on the journey of transformation into motherhood.
For yoga teachers, doulas, midwives, obstetricians, mums, dads, parents to be, anyone interested in birth and yoga!
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Why prenatal yoga?
With the information age in full swing, we have access to more research, ideas and concepts than ever before. When I gave birth to my first son in 2006, the rise and rise of accessible internet and information were in the early stages. There were few prenatal yoga class options where I was in Melbourne, Australia. Birth preparation classes were pretty much limited to hospital courses. Fast forward to 2014 when my second son was born. The birth preparation classes, information available, prenatal appointments and required tests had changed considerably. There are a wide range options, and with that choice comes decisions and in birth women are becoming more pressured to make the right choices.
We can google all about pregnancy and birth from our office desks in between client meetings. An app can let us know standardised information about our baby’s development. We can spend a weekend doing a compressed childbirth preparation session which promises to teach everything needed for birth. Even take an online course if that’s more convenient. Arm ourselves with knowledge, with the belief that information is power.
This is a relatively new wave of thinking in childbirth. There is a belief that we can go into our birth confidently and in control if we have the knowledge. That we should be empowered by birth and that knowledge will give this power.
In birth, there is so much uncertainty, yet, certainty is often equated with a good outcome or confidence. That we can stay in control of our births if we read the right things and do the proper research. There is pressure on women to have an empowered birth experience and share their story.
Yet some women do not feel empowered by their birth experience. More often than not, birth does not go according to plan. Most times when things don’t go as planned in birth, it is not the fault of the mother, or the baby or the mother’s body. It is generally not known. Something unexpected that can’t be explained.
What prenatal yoga helps us with is how to be in uncertainty. The one element that is present through pregnancy, birth and postpartum that we can’t google or conduct a test to get an answer to.
Each birth is different and the unknown elements arise moment to moment. Contractions are experienced by each women in a unique way. For some women, they are long and painful from the beginning. For others quick and pain free. Then there is everything in between.
Prenatal yoga can prepare women to be in the moment, each moment, without striving for a particular experience or outcome.
Practicing yoga takes one out of the ordinary. In ordinary life we use the same resources, the same way of thinking and responding that we do all the time. Preparing for birth requires something all together different.
Birth is extraordinary. Labour and birth takes women out of the ordinary and practicing prenatal yoga prepares women for this.
Building confidence in birth and the self means that although one doesn’t know what is going to happen, there is belief in the self and one’s resources. Information is important and we are fortunate to have access to such vast amounts but with birth, we need to move from a linear way of thinking. When combined with self awareness there can be an opening up to what is happening moment to moment.
Being and staying in one’s centre takes deep self awareness which practicing yoga can develop. Prenatal yoga matters and within these pages I have mapped out what it is, how and why it works and what makes prenatal yoga so very useful through pregnancy and birth.
I have taught prenatal yoga and attended births for over ten years and this book is a culmination of what I have learned through my studies, my teachers and mentors, the classes I have taught and my yoga journey so far.