The Birthlight approach is based on the principles of Yoga, nurturing a deeper understanding of ourselves and our relationship with others. Our aim with Well Woman Yoga, as with other Birthlight adaptations of classic Yoga, is to help women, both before and after childbirth -and also women who for any reason have not engaged in having children- to relax in the enjoyment of simple movements with breath awareness. A stable base of wellbeing is formed through centring and grounding, embodying the concept of asana as being comfortable in one’s seat and finding movement from this grounded base. Women can then move easefully into exploration of who they are and their journey to create a more vibrant and harmonious persona, forming a deep-rooted foundation for future physical and emotional security among their families and friends.
Yoga therapy promotes the body’s own natural healing resources by using a series of ancient physical and mental Yoga techniques. Certain conditions particularly those caused by stress can be alleviated by restoring the proper functioning of different parts of the body. Recent research has shown that anxiety and back pain respond well to programmes of simple Yoga exercises and techniques. Yoga for medical conditions is more effective than general yoga because it tailors the practices to specific and individual needs. Gentle yoga is a self-empowering therapy that sets the tone for a balanced approach to care and wellbeing for women and their families, enhancing discrimination between necessary interventions and cultivating the ability to perceive and address needs when they arise.
Birthlight Well Woman Yoga, like all other Birthlight yoga-based courses, gives priority to harmony and positivity as foundations of wellbeing and harmonious interactions between women and their loved ones in their particular social and cultural environments. Inner peace, ‘shanti’, is not only the foundation of wellbeing but also the fountain of joy ‘ananda’ that overflows into the nurturing of self and others. The intimate relations between mothers and daughters are given special importance in the Well woman yoga taught on this course.
Birthlight Well Woman Yoga aims to teach self-nurture, if not already present, with the aim of taking charge of oneself, as even older women may still need to do this to fully grow into themselves. We want to convey to women that it is never too late to do this, to make changes and that everything is possible towards a transformation. Many women need to de-programme the old before they can re-programme the new. Their ‘story’ and expectations can be modified by transcending fear in order to overcome genetic inheritance or medical diagnoses. Some factors such as terminal illness may be immutable but the related quality of life and attitudes can be positively influenced through Yoga.
Yoga is a wonderful discipline to help women own the various facets of their feminine identity, from vibrant sexual beings to the nurturing aspects of the Divine Mother and the destructive powers of Kali and Durga. In the safe space that yoga creates, women can explore dimensions of themselves that are not allowed to surface in their day-to- day lives at work or even at home. At Birthlight we acknowledge that that a woman’s brain, heart and pelvis function differently to a man’s and that women’s bodies and physiology are changeable, that women are adept shape-shifters who undergo many transformations during their lives. Our Well Woman practices accompany and support women during these changes, aiming to re-create a new centre and balance after each transformation.
Greater wellbeing and fitness results in a growth of ‘shakti’ a feminine power that is both physical and spiritual. Return to health is coupled with an expansion of spirituality and an alignment with the simple moral rules that underpin Yoga, the ‘Yamas’ and ‘Niyamas’. In this way, the yoga therapy presented on this course is truly holistic.
Biomedicine has been dominated by chemical and physical manipulation, and the overriding tendency has been to exclude conscious involvement of patient and doctor in the healing process. By contrast, Yoga, with its important emphasis on awareness, can play a key role in treating both the symptoms and the causes of disease, which yoga believes exist on the mental as well as the physical levels of our being.
Well Woman Yoga offers women resources that can help them prepare for conception, gain optimal hormonal balance, pelvic strength and overall energy between births and also to experience minimal discomforts in the menopause transition.
Birthlight’s Yoga for pelvic tone and healing of chronic conditions is an original therapeutic extension of practices developed for pre & postnatal Yoga. There is increasing evidence too for the effectiveness of Yoga therapy for stress related conditions. Once disorders have manifested and perhaps become chronic, through a combination of deep relaxation and specific gentle movements it is often possible to reach the quiet inner space where we can address the source of illness, humbly and with trust in the spontaneous healing recovery process inbuilt in our body-mind-souls. This is a space of transformation, grace and acceptance of whatever may unfold if conditions are long-standing or even life threatening.