A couple of updates for anyone listening out in bloggy-blog land…
David D. and I are co-leading 108 sun salutes at Tula on Saturday June 20th at 5pm for the Summer Solstice. Sign Up Here!
Keep an eye out for details about the February 20-27th, 2016 Belizean Retreat Rhiannon and I are co- leading.
Hope to see you on the mat this summer!
Photos by Whitney Fitzpatrick
Oh the parallels of Yoga and Doula.
Sometimes I think ‘what the hell am I doing? Another career path? Another thing!?’ But it’s all connected. Breath. Support. Creating a safe space. Moving your body intuitively. PATIENCE. Oh my lord patience. I feel a little weird writing about my lesson in patience when I was not the one birthing the baby, but birth will teach everyone involved again and again that we are not in control. The baby will decide when they are ready and we should all STOP WORRYING.
My first birth as a Doula was a humbling experience. Like most things in life reading and studying can’t completely prepare us, we have to do it to fully understand. Watching a mother’s determination and hard work to bring her baby into the world was indescribable. The universe presented me with the best birthday present ever, a reminder of what a birth-day means.
There are always a couple of mamas that come every single week to my Prenatal Yoga class at Cocoon Care and we grow close during their pregnancy. When they have their babies I am obviously overjoyed for them but I miss having them in class. I recently visited one of my favorite prenatal yogi friends, Lavina, and met her beautiful baby, Ayaan.
I also met Lavina’s mother and father-in-law who are visiting from India. Lavina was pleased with her birth experience and said that the wave squats and horse breath that we did in Prenatal Yoga helped her through labor. I teach wave squats and horse breath in every Prenatal class and was thrilled to hear her yoga practice helped in birthing her son.
This idea I am writing about today isn’t new but it is something that has been clearer to me lately. The idea of really teaching something, compared to conducting an activity. Maty (the wise yoga lady I studied under in December) touched on this in her Dharma chats. She pointed out that there are yoga teachers who really teach poses and look at their students and try to help them, and there are teachers that turn on music and call out poses. I’ve been struggling with this because I understand the philosophy of staying out of the way sometimes especially with more experienced students, using less words and letting students discover sensations in their body and not being overbearing, but I also think a majority of people that come to their mats in a public yoga class need guidance and most of them want it. As a teacher it’s easier to call out pose names and facilitate a nice flow and not tell someone in your class that they need to use a prop or modify. It’s easier to turn on mood-altering music so people don’t have to sit in silence and it’s ‘safer’ to stay out of the way even if you see a crazy-looking chaturanga, because you don’t risk upsetting someone with a correction or an adjustment.
On the other hand I love taking classes that are flowy and fun and where I don’t feel inundated with instruction. I don’t want to have to ‘think’ so much or feel bossed around and I want to be in my body and I want to feel good. I understand that strict alignment principles are essential and they help you stay out of your head and in your body, but sometimes I want to organically move and breathe and have permission to undulate my spine like a tribal goddess, ya know?
I suppose like anything in life there is a balance in a yoga class that has to take place for me as a student (and as a teacher), where I am invited to modify and follow my intuition but also have guidance and a helpful eye, or hand, from the teacher.