The path of least resistance

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Women’s intuition. As I go out in to the world and share this method of Maternity Moves with more pregnant ladies, often they’ll get to the “a-ha” moment, usually all by themselves. Oh I get it, I’m working with the contraction! Indeed – you are! I came across Vidyamala Burch during the Mindfulness & Meditation Summit and she spoke eloquently about managing her own chronic pain. While birth isn’t actually chronic pain, it can sometimes feel like there isn’t an end. A simple task for you that is offered by Vidyamala:

  1. Closing your first
  2. Observe your breath
  3. Now breath
  4. Feel how your fist wants to unravel and open

Throughout the work we teach, our hands are active, the fingers are reaching and yes it’s hard work sometimes. But, then comes the release, the feeling of being longer, more expansive and softer. By opening up to the pain, we find the moment of pleasure, being in the moment and taking each moment as is comes.

Roshni x

Why start a yoga practice when pregnant?

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The physical body ‘Annamaya Kosha’ tends to be the primary focus during pregnancy. The pregnant body is regularly checked and monitored to ensure both mother, and baby, are growing as they should be. Those surrounding the mother, pay attention to her physical changes, the size of her bump, or whether her physical shape can determine if it’s a boy, or a girl. If a pregnant lady begins a yoga practice, or continues her practice during pregnancy, she will be given the tools needed nourish her energetic body ‘Pranamaya Kosha’ as well as her ‘Annamaya Kosha’ the physical body.

In yogic terms, a mother’s journey into motherhood begins within the ‘Pranamaya Kosha’ the energetic body. One of the 5 organs related to the pranamaya kosha is the reproductive system where new life begins. This new life force ‘the baby’ requires a lot of energy especially in the first trimester, which is why mothers tend to feel tired and lethargic. It’s the body’s way of naturally letting mother know, slow down, rest, or find other ways to sustain me. This is one of the reasons many women begin a yoga practice for the first time, when they’re pregnant. But unlike Pilates or other antenatal classes, Yoga, turns our attentions inside the body and allows us the chance to rediscover our natural way, whilst our physical body goes through a natural change in process.

The yoga practice will reintroduce mother to her breath ‘pranayama’, remind her how to use it, rediscover the breaths relationship to her body, gain physical strength and energy. During Pregnancy there is an energetic shift in the body. Prana, is linked to the element ‘water’, which runs through her internal road map ‘nadis’, like a current, providing life and vitality to the body. The mother carry’s more water and her blood count multiply’s. In addition to the water element, the term ‘earth Mother’ indicates the pregnant lady is going through another energetic change linked to the earth. The earth element tends to slow us down, become heavy or tired. A yoga practice can highlight this energy shift and show us how to embrace it by finding new connections through our feet, hands and pelvic floor. This way we can utilise this energy to ground us and become more earthed. These changes can be an advantage and pregnancy gives us access to them.

Overall pregnancy is the most active and transformative time in a lady’s life and yoga will teach mother how to embody this change. Who knows, pregnancy could even be a golden ticket to experience some of greater depths yoga has to offer?

Written by Denyce

New beginnings

Here in London as the first day of the year is a few hours from it’s end, these words from Susan Coolidge’s poem ‘New Every Morning’ remind us to take the opportunity that each new day presents to begin again. The turning over in to a New Year is ever a reminder of this. You may be looking forward to new beginnings within your own families or striving to nurture the relationships that already exist. Personally I’m aiming for a daily meditation and getting back to daily practice which with work and life is always a challenge! In the meantime, we wish you good luck with all your 2017 goals. 

Roshni x

Women’s Voices

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I attended the ‘Women’s Voices Conference’ which works towards to inspiring, empowering, and demonstrating, the importance of women centred care, in our maternity services. I’m not a medical professional, but I was interested in understanding more about the charities and organisations providing support to pregnant women.

The day itself was a coming together of a variety of women (and a few men), who were either clinical midwives, student midwives, doulas, charity representatives and keen campaigners, all working towards improving women’s rights throughout pregnancy and birth.  I was unaware just how much support there was for women, but I felt incredibly inspired by all of the women that part. If you wish to find out more, please follow the links below.

Maternity Moves for All

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I have recently started a new course teaching at The Well Woman Centre here in Barcelona (Tuesdays 10-11h). Rather than the class being specifically for pregnant ladies or new mums with babies, the group welcomes all maternal stages. In the first class I taught pregnant ladies ranging from their first trimester to their 37th week and new mums with 3 week, 7 week and 4 month old babies! It was certainly a real mix but it created the most fantastic vibe and supportive atmosphere. 

The class is adapted to meet the different needs of each stage and is effective for whichever place the women are at. I know this from direct experience having used this method throughout the pregnancy, birth and post-natal period with both my children.

So what exactly is it? The Maternity Moves method is a pratice based on yogic and Tai Chi principles. At its heart are two simple yet precise movements which both originate from the sacrum (back of the pelvis). This delightful scooping physical movement has many benefits and encourages activity in the spine, the pelvis, the feet, the legs and the pelvic floor. It is the root of all the standing and seated work that happens in the class.

These simple movements work to softly break down tensions in the body, allowing us to feel and then listen to our bodies and then to let go of tensions to bring us back to our natural state. It facilitates space across the lumbar spine and pelvic region and naturally activates the pelvic floor. It brings softness to your belly and whole body. This is great for pregnant ladies; more space for baby and more ease for mama, and for post natal ladies, as in order to reconnect internally (the deep core muscles) we first need soften the external ones.

This method also helps us to find connection; to ourselves, our breath, our baby, the floor, our own femininity, not to mention connection to others around us. To me, this is what yoga is all about, connecting with others wherever they are at, meeting and learning from them. I can see this connection happening in the classes I teach at The Well Woman Centre. Seeing women coming together and bonding through shared experiences. After all who remembers better than a brand new mum how it feels to be pregnant, and being around mums and their new borns is a great experience for those about to have their own. It’s a unique dynamic and one I’m proud to be part of.

Jo x

Natural Women

I watched the above tribute to Carol King who co-wrote the above song. I love this song! (I love music) but this song features heavily in my childhood memories as my mum often played Carol King’s version from the ‘Tapestry’ album. Yet, last night after watching soul legend and original performer Aretha Franklin sing it,  it was suddenly given new life. The lyrics resonated so much to me, as a women and mother I felt like I’d been given new ears to hear it.

This led me to think about the importance of being ‘natural’ which means “in accordance with nature” and it got me thinking about the term often used during pregnancy ‘natural birth’. The term ‘natural birth’ means “unmedicated approach to labor with minimal routine intervention”. However, as we already know mother nature doesn’t always allow this to happen and intervention is often required for the safety of both mum and baby. But isn’t that nature’s way of saying ‘Hey! Can you give us some help please?  What puzzles me (and saddens) is when a women shares her birth story and seems somewhat ashamed to say they’ve needed intervention or had a c-section. Almost as if they’ve under achieved.

Regardless of a women’s birth journey, no woman should ever feel any more or any less of a women because they didn’t have a ‘natural birth’. Every women is unique and her self worth should always be preserved.  We are all women embarking on a journey of some sort and one of the most challenging is motherhood. Let’s not get too hung up on ‘natural birth’ or ‘natural mother’ let’s focus on being ‘natural women’ together.

Denyce x