From Mother to Birthlight Yoga Teacher
I have recently completed Part 1 of the Well Woman Yoga course in London with Francoise and a group of other amazing women all from different yoga backgrounds. During the course I paused to reflect on my own Birthlight journey, which started as a mother.
As a keen yoga practitioner I continued my practice whilst pregnant with my first child 14 years ago. As there were no local pregnancy yoga classes I sought out resources to guide my practice, stumbling across Francoise's pregnancy yoga book. Using the book I practiced daily, feeling connected to my baby, loving the way the yoga may me feel. I was able to use lots of the breathing and movements during labour and whilst the birth was not as I had planned, (mainly due to being induced and a very aggressive midwife) I was very pleased that I had those self help techniques to call upon to help make it the best experience it could be at the time.
When my daughter was four months old I discovered a Birthlight Baby Yoga class which we both absolutely loved. It was pure joy and deeply resonated with me and I left the very first class feeling inspired that this was what I was destined to do one day. In the meantime I explored my yoga further, completing a BWY foundation course and gaining a baby massage qualification. I then fell pregnant with my son and continued my yoga practice, having a wonderfully calm second birth, which was helped immensely by the yoga techniques. When my son was eight months I talked my husband into a family trip to Center Parcs in Suffolk. The only catch was that I would disappear each day to do my Baby Yoga teacher training course, which was conveniently located very close by. I had felt very relieved to be accepted onto the course as despite the fact that was not a yoga teacher, Birthlight were very inclusive.
I subsequently set up my first Baby Yoga classes from my home. These were very small groups who soon became very close friends. Over ten years later, my classes are still going strong, having left my lounge and moved out to a local hall to accommodate more mums. I still have fond memories of those early classes and my husband still sometimes reminds me of the week, all those years ago, he got left at Center Parcs literally holding the baby! I later trained in Birthlight Toddler yoga to accommodate those mums who were keen to continue once their babies were crawling.
Drawn to helping women achieve the best birth experience for them, I went on to train as an antenatal teacher with the NCT and taught couples birth preparation courses. I still felt a very strong draw to the pregnancy yoga, which had helped me so much through my pregnancies and births. In 2012 I started the Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals diploma, and learnt so much from the amazing Wendy Gadsden and Alison Fiddler. I was so excited to set up my first pregnancy yoga class. I felt that I was able to use my background of antenatal teaching and the knowledge gained on the Birthlight course to offer classes that were accessible and empowering to all women. Four years later, I have three weekly classes, which are a joy to teach. I truly feel honoured to be a small part of the amazing journey these woman take from pregnancy to motherhood and have seen many return with their second or third pregnancies. Last year I started offering the Birthlight Postnatal Yoga classes, alongside the Baby Yoga. It's wonderful seeing so many women coming back with their babies and forming strong friendship networks.
I became increasing inspired to attend the Well Woman training course, as so many women were sad to move on from the classes once their babies were too old. Many have said how much they missed the pregnancy yoga, even commenting that they want to get pregnant again just so they can come back and enjoy the relaxation! I feel these women will really benefit from a nurturing class, which I hope will be a prefect continuation from the postnatal classes, supporting reproductive health and an overall sense of well-being in a supportive environment. The Well Woman yoga course has not only equipped me to offer this but has imparted so much more. With the Well Woman principles underpinning all the other Birthlight teaching areas, I feel my all my other classes will also be enhanced through the undertaking of this amazing course.
I am so excited to begin my new Birthlight chapter so thank you Francoise and all the other amazing tutors for the wonderful work you do, enabling teachers to make a difference to so many women's lives.
Our next Well Woman courses are:
Sarah Bickley - Birthlight teacher