It's never too late, there's always a way
Me, thirty beautiful women, and an army of stuffed animals. This is the scene I beheld whilst the Tuscan afternoon introduced the first of a week's worth of sessions in postnatal yoga and connectivity training with Birthlight last summer. My participation in the course was part of the life-changing 300hr Rainbow Yoga Teacher Training including every speciality from Fertility Yoga up through Pre-Natal, Kids, Partners, Seniors Yoga and Disability Therapy. I was happy to learn about the possibilities for yoga as a connector between parents and infants, but might not have registered for a course on the subject of its own merit. Oh how grateful I am that this module crossed my path. What a revelation!
I'd never considered the astonishing developmental assistance that yoga could bring to our baby human family. But from the first hour of Birthlight's introduction, my mind was expansively opened to the vital role that post-natal yoga plays in the maturation of both parent and child. The triad of enlightenment encompasses yoga for the baby itself, giving attention to their cognitive processes, physical augmentation, and coordination training. It delivers the gift of healing to the body of a mother who has recently undergone an incredible change, and allows the father to practice undeniably priceless techniques that will serve him all throughout the upbringing of his heir. And in terms of creating community, Birthlight fosters a safe place for families to not only bond with each other, but the other remarkable members of their tribe including neighbours, relatives, and newfound friends who can offer support on every level as we evolve the species collectively.
Particularly interesting were the immediate and practical results of my Birthlight training. One example still makes me smile every time I think about it. While I was home in Texas for Christmas the following winter, I had the joyous pleasure of meeting my newest niece, little four-month old Landry-June, the first infant I'd had the opportunity to really interact with since the training. She was immediately delighted to rest in my arms in the 'Tiger in the Tree' hold, especially after having been handed from relative to relative at our family gathering, each one holding her in the same traditional posture. She coo'd and ooh'd at the change in perspective and smiled big when we explored the 'Swinging Branch' that this belly-to-forearm position allows. I had a new and natural confidence transitioning her to a forward facing posture when we met new aunties and cousins, and she was perfectly content to stroll with me, exploring various interactions with space and direction, singing 'Sally the Camel...' while the rest of the family was loading up the car. Such an upgrade from waiting in a stroller or simply bouncing up and down while gazing behind me, over my shoulder!
Later in the visit, I was with my mom when it came time for a changing. I took the opportunity to make a few bi-lateral connections between Landry's alternating hands and feet, as well as bend her chubbly little legs up into her belly for a circular, digestion-aiding rotation. Talk about effective! That little princess proceeded to fill the diaper over twice as much as when we laid her down, just due to a gentle massage of the tum tum! She was absolutely delighted with herself, so once she was in a fresh nappy, I gave a little massage of the extremities and then down the spine. Oh how her gummy little smile beamed at that! She wriggled and fluttered, absolutely delighting in the muscular stimulation. I was able to show my sister-in-law a few simple exercises and massages that Landry obviously enjoyed, and won some super-star uncle points for finding such immediate ways to connect to my precious new member of the Hart collective.
Now, back in Paris, where I make my home with my partner and utilise every aspect of my Rainbow Yoga certification for a spectrum of different yoga offerings, a world of opportunities has opened up for me. I am able to step in and teach for studios who are in need of a substitute for some of the few Parent-Infant classes offered here, as well as conduct weekend workshops for groups that are interested in starting post-natal yoga gatherings. I am particularly interested in developing a group with additional emphasis on inviting dads who desire some special time to connect with their newborn pal, as well as offering opportunities for same-gender parents to bond with their adopted children. The beauty of Birthlight is the absolute inclusivity taught in every aspect of the program. 'It's never too late, there's always a way.' An anthem I am proud to embody and spread.