Baron Baptiste’s methodology is called “Journey into Power” and I can think of no better way to describe the journey to labor and delivery. This Prenatal Yoga series has been lovingly created to provide a safe haven to explore motherhood in its earliest stages. Classes are centered around yoga, meditation, and self inquiry. Physical postures (asanas), flowing sequences (vinyasa), meditation, and breath-work (pranayama) foster comfort, relaxation, and adjustment to the physical, emotional and mental demands of pregnancy and parenting. Yogic philosophy and increased mindful awareness can be invaluable tools during the birth, as well as when caring for your new child. Inquiry and a connection to community address a mother's own special needs during this life changing moment in your life.
Erin Stewart is a RYT 200 and prenatal certified yoga instructor and high school English teacher. Erin became passionate about teaching prenatal yoga after the birth of her daughter, River Allen. It was then that she realized just how empowering a yoga practice is for labor and delivery and was inspired to share this mamas.
She is madly in love with her little town of Beacon and will convince anyone who will listen to live there, too. She is passionate about the color teal, cookbooks, and always in the mood for a ladies night and a glass of prosecco! She loves practicing yoga & mindfulness, reading, sipping coffee on her front porch swing, and cooking dinner for her little party of three.
Here are some ways my yoga practice influenced my daughter’s entrance into the world.
1. Breath - throughout birth, I was able to regulate my breathing in a meaningful way (ujayi). In yoga, that moment you want to come out of a pose is when true yoga begins. While giving birth, there are so many moments of resistance. Breathe into the resistance; learn to find ease in moments of struggle.
2. Meditation - this is the practice of being truly present. Learning to slow down and take notice. Notice the sounds, the smells, the light around you and check in to the self. Babies and mamas need this mindfulness in such an intense and life changing moment. Meditation allows us to recognize our emotions and thoughts in order to better respond, rather than react. I even used this practice when nursing, and even now as my little girl sings to herself while she colors. I use it when I am hating my commute to take in the color of the sky, the smell of rain on hot cement... You may have more time, but you'll never have this moment again.
3. Asana - giving birth is a marathon whether you give birth for 18 hours or 20 minutes. It is the most intense feat you could undertake and it REQUIRES endurance. Yoga is a practice of balance between strength and ease -- sthira sukha. Holding postures then releasing mirrors contractions (about 1 minute long) and the time in between contractions (about 5 minutes). When to power up and when to rest is vital in both yoga and birth (and life).
4. Inquiry - part of a Baptiste yoga practice is self inquiry. Asking self excavating questions that allow for reflection and understanding of who you are. Becoming a mom does a number on your ego and identity. It’s humbling and empowering. It is fearful and courageous. It is isolating and yet you're not alone. We must take time for ourselves both during pregnancy and after giving birth. Try to understand your feelings on your own terms in order to be more present in the here and now. To find compassion for and nurture yourself (not just your little one).
5. Focus (dristhi) -. when I was giving birth, my main point of focus was the date (River's birthday) written on a white board directly across from me. This intense gaze reminds me most of finding dristhi in Eagle pose, a balancing posture. During contractions, when pushing, and those early months with new baby - you must have focus and find steadiness and equanimity. Put your eyes on what you want to have happen and be for it!