Chantal Russell reflects on her experience with Prenatal Yoga.
My interest in prenatal yoga began a few years before my first pregnancy. I had been teaching yoga for many years, and knew that I wanted to become a mother. When the opportunity to take a prenatal yoga training arose at my local studio in Toronto, it seemed like an obvious choice.
Little did I know at the time, that choosing to do the training would alter the course of my life profoundly. When I signed up, I expected to learn the basics about pregnancy and how to modify yoga poses. What I received instead, was a deep immersion into the wellspring of women’s wisdom. An eye opening invitation into the power and intelligence of mother nature herself.
Just as there is a rhythmic cycle to the turning of the seasons and the phases of the moon, there is also a natural divine blueprint that governs pregnancy and childbirth. As women or yoga teachers supporting pregnant students, learning the phases of pregnancy and labour can help us understand and align more deeply to each part of the cycle. This allows us to participate in the journey, or encourage our students to do so, in a more joyful and empowered way.
An empowered birth is one where you are an active and inspired participant, wherever and however it unfolds: at home, hospital, birthing center, or the car en route. A woman’s body knows how to birth a baby. It is every woman’s right to give birth in a way that feels safe and supported; where she is free to choose how to birth her baby into the world.
It is important for women to remember that there is no “right” way to be pregnant or give birth. Just as each person is unique in their own way, so too is every pregnancy unique, deeply personal and cloaked in majesty. Yoga teaches us to celebrate both our diversity and commonality. It invites us to affirm the particular way in the Divine has taken form as our individual experience and the universal process of childbirth.
Oftentimes a woman feels she has failed if her ideas around getting pregnant or even childbirth do not go according to her plan. Yoga teaches a woman to let go of expectations and to remember the baby too is part of the process and may have a different plan.
For me, giving birth to my son was the single most empowering day of my life. Although it did not all go according to my well laid “plan”, I was empowered by my yoga practice and prenatal wisdom to carry me through it. Having an empowered birth strengthened me and taught me to trust my body. It awakened me to the deepest love and through it, I discovered true healing, the power of resilience, and the regenerative beauty of life.