I began my Perinatal Yoga Diploma with Birthlight in 2017 when I was in the 2nd trimester with my son and began teaching other pregnant women from my 7th month of pregnancy and was able to complete the full course work once my son was born and became a toddler. I am now in my fifth year of teaching this specialisation and it’s been such an incredible journey!
Since completing my training with Birthlight, I’ve moved from teaching in a local community hall, to teaching privately in people’s homes, in local studios and now running hybrid prenatal yoga courses from my very own garden yoga studio in Ealing.
For me, it’s about creating a safe space for women to feel supported during their pregnancy and postpartum period. To ask questions and get tailored advice, to learn about birth ecology in an empowered way, and to understand that they can give birth on their terms, with informed consent.
How women respond to these classes
As a yoga and birth preparation guide, the most rewarding thing to hear is that your students have actually used the tools that you’ve suggested outside of a class, course or workshop the yoga studio or an online class. Pregnancy yoga classes and birth preparation workshops are rewarding containers. I feel blessed to be in a position to hold space and where women often share the details of their birth experiences with me – what tools they used and how it helped them to stay calm and create a more stress-free environment. No matter which direction their birth takes, these women have felt empowered to use pranayama breathing techniques, positioning postures and other tips I have shared with them, and been able to find trust in the strength of their bodies. Such an honour!
And so can you! As a Birthlight student, you have the power to create that too!
Imagine meeting the babies of the women you have supported, receiving a message from a woman that you have guided to thank you for the time she spent in your classes when her baby is only a few days old? To have the absolute trust of women during one of the most mentally and physically challenging, yet beautiful, times in their life.
To know that you’ve helped women have a better experience of birth the second time around than they did the first, before they worked with you.
It is an amazing feeling. Rewarding spirals of joy keep on flowing from the Birthlight well! To prospective, new and current yoga teachers looking to deepen their offerings. I challenge you to serve. How can you better serve your community? How do your interests, specialities, and experiences align with what could support the members of your community and the people attending your classes?
How we can continue to support women moving forwards
Together, we have the power to create enormous change. But it takes every single one of us to see the change we so desperately need.
In the UK, Women of Colour are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and following birth than Caucasian women. “The inequalities observed in previous reports remain. Black women still have more than five times the risk of dying in pregnancy or up to six weeks postpartum compared to white women, women of mixed ethnicity three times the risk and Asian women almost twice the risk.” *
This is a painful reality that many practitioners, teachers, and mothers are unaware of.
We need to create inclusive environments that welcome all women and all birthing people. At least that way, we can equip women, no matter their race, with the knowledge they need to speak up about their experience of pregnancy and birth, and with the tools to help them stay relaxed during labour and childbirth.
Research has shown that women who are more relaxed (thus less stressed) are more likely to experience shorter labours and overall better births. And as yoga teachers, we have the power and the resources to help equip them with the tools they need for a more relaxed birth, no matter what happens. To teach them the skills they need to avoid stress throughout their experience. To know that they are supported and that we truly care about their welfare.
This is how we can really start improving lives from the womb going forwards. By supporting women. By being inclusive. And by remembering the self-confidence that we can help these women to create.
One thing that I offer at Bija Garden – and that has been really effective – is offering a sliding scale for participants, where possible. Those that can afford it have the choice to pay a little bit more that will then, in turn, allow a free space to be offered to someone who would otherwise be unable to attend for financial reasons. This is one thing that I would encourage all yoga teachers to consider adding to their classes.
It’s also important that we’re obvious about the inclusivity of our environments.
This comes down to seemingly basic things such as the skin colour of the emojis we use, the words that we use in our marketing, and making a point of including people of all genders, culture, and race in our class photos where possible.
Birthlight Trained Yoga Teacher
Tzaddi is an Artist, Yoga Teacher, Producer and Spiritual Guide from London with over a decade of Yoga experience. Her background in Arts & entertainment helped her define her body as an instrument, and her journey with yoga has helped her appreciate and refine herself as a vessel, in a truly holistic sense. Tzaddi trained in Birthlight Perinatal Yoga in 2017 and holds many other qualifications.
Birthlight Perinatal Yoga Course
Upcoming courses: April in Belfast / November in Zurich