Becoming Mother Yoga & Mindfulness DVD with Nadia Raafat
As a Birthlight teacher and mother Nadia Raafat's personal experience motivated her to place a greater focus on mindfulness within the practice of birthlight yoga. The combination works beautifully as a holistic preparation for birth.
Dear sister yoginis
I am happy to share with you my Becoming Mother DVD - a five class programme of yoga and mindfulness for pregnancy and birth.
I have been teaching yoga for pregnancy, and childbirth preparation classes, for ten years - and have supported women through childbirth and the postnatal period as a doula for seven. I have also had four babies of my own, all with very different birthing expereinces.
Through my own birth expereinces, and the ones of the women I attended as a doula, I began to realise that one of the greatest obstacles to a positive birth experience was the mindset of the birthing woman. I watched labouring women struggle with mental distress; fear, despondency and resistance. I noted that most women experienced this resistance at some point during their labours. I certainly recognised it from my own birth experiences. Despite 3 of my 4 births being positive home births; they were not without periods of profound mental and emotional challenge. Childbirth, as we know, is dramatic, visceral and intense - even when it’s being gentle.
At the same time as making these observations I began training in Mindfulness. As a teacher I know that Yoga is inherently a Mindfulness practice; however, I started to appreciate the importance of the psychology of Yoga being spelled out and discussed in Mindfulness classes. Key aspects of the Yogic state; like Open-Heartedness, Non-Judgement and Acceptance were experienced and then reflected upon. The intellectual framework really helped me to articulate and clarify my personal experiences. This was a crucial step for me in opening and deepening my own practice.
It was not long before this Mindful aspect permeated through to my own pregnancy yoga classes. I began to spell out the Mindfulness lessons I felt were most useful to pregnancy and childbirth through a combination of meditation, reflection and discussion. Until then, like most teachers, I had been teaching an hour and 15 minutes of asana, breath work and relaxation, within which all this teaching was implicit. What I realised was that, whereas I had imbibed the yogic philosophy over 14 years of practising and teaching yoga, many of the mothers in my classes had no yoga experience and just three months to prepare for the birth. These lessons needed to be spelled out and made explicit.
Pregnant women respond so well to meditation - especially as they approach their due period and the hormones start to flow and build. The meditative state is the ideal state for the early stages of labour, when the hormones are still building in the body and the birth trance has not yet established itself. I feel strongly that if women are shown the pathway during pregnancy to establishing a confident clear connection with their inner space, and the stillness therein, they will be much better equipped to navigate the choppy waters of the birth journey. Practising meditation regularly enables the practitioner to start to recognise their own mental patterns, and in doing so, grow beyond them. This process is the same for the birthing experience.
It is from this learning that the DVD was born.
I feel very blessed that I was able to bring this DVD baby to life. It is a wonderful visual record of my own last pregnancy, which I shall cherish, and a product that I am proud of bringing together three of my favourites practices; yoga, meditation and free movement.
I hope you enjoy this DVD and can use some of it in your own teaching and that you share it also with your pregnant mums.
Birthlght Perinatal Yoga and Baby Yoga teacher
Nadia's DVD is available to purchase from the Birthlight online shop £18.99 (UK postage included)
Nadia previously shared her birthlight baby yoga story
For your chance to win the DVD simply email your entry to email@example.com with the subject line "becoming mother competition" by 28 February (don't forget to include your name and address). Good Luck!
As the founder of Birthlight, it is my personal delight to endorse Nadia’s DVD. Her five classes of Becoming Mother Yoga are simply and exquisitely beautiful, mindful and effective. Together, they convey all that a woman needs to align herself with the rhythms of her pregnancy and to welcome her baby ahead of her birthing experience. The calm setting and the positive affirming narrative ideally support the graceful moves and gentle breath awareness filmed from various angles in a real time flow of practice. As both body and mind open, the connection with the growing baby deepens. Allowing and surrender become words we can accept as the mind’s resistance and doubts are eroded. Finally, the body makes way for a birth dance. Filmed in her fourth pregnancy, Nadia’s DVD presents her integration of Birthlight Yoga and Mindfulness with a mastery that is an inspiration to all viewers.
Francoise Freedman founder of Birthlight