Train to support all women journeying through pregnancy, birth and postnatal recovery with specially adapted Yoga that will enhance their health and wellbeing throughout their pregnancy, help them prepare mentally and physically for labour and birth and restore balance and strength through their postnatal year.

Overview

Birthlight’s Perinatal Yoga teacher trainings offer original adaptations of classic yoga practices for women from conception through to the postnatal year. Yoga is deployed holistically to enhance women’s body and mind transformation throughout maternity. We train both yoga teachers and maternity professionals who go on to offer successful regular Pregnancy Yoga classes and workshops in yoga studios, community spaces, hospitals as well as midwives integrating the practices into their care on labour wards, in birth centres, routine appointments and home visits. Nurture, calm strength and balance are our priorities.
Find a Course

Perinatal Yoga Training Areas:

Course TitleTeacher TrainingStand AloneCPD
Perinatal Yoga Diploma X  
Postnatal YogaX  
Birthlight Yoga for Mat. ProfessionalsX  
Childbirth Preparation for Birth Partners XX
PBAC (Yoga for Positive Birth after Caesarean) XX
Birthing Lightly with Yoga  X
Yoga for Perinatal Mental Health  X

Yoga offers a wealth of embodied resources that resonate with both ancient wisdom and recent findings on the physiology of birth. We strive to enable women to give birth with minimal intervention while acknowledging that this is not always possible. 

‘Mothering the mother’ provides an essential foundation for a woman’s self-confidence and ability to nurture her baby, creating cascades of wellbeing all around her. Nurture, with emotional wellbeing rooted in body-based practices, is Birthlight’s priority.

HISTORY

Birthlight Perinatal Yoga teacher training started with a pioneering module in the first Diploma of Yoga Therapy offered in London by the Yoga Biomedical Trust in 1995. A decade of experimentation by Françoise Freedman consolidated the integration of prenatal yoga, yoga for birth including birth partners, postnatal and parent & baby classes. Birthlight is acclaimed internationally as a trainers’ trainer in Perinatal Yoga.

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Perinatal Yoga Diploma

COURSE OUTLINE

Divided into 2 parts this in-depth but easily accessible course will equip you with yoga elements and adaptations beyond standard current teachings of pregnancy yoga and postnatal yoga. Coursework is ideally completed between Part 1 & 2 enabling you to deepen and refine your understanding and skills on Part 2 and is carefully read with detailed feedback given to further develop your teaching practice.

You will learn the classic components of prenatal yoga:

  • The benefits of specific prenatal yoga
  • Yoga philosophy for maternity
  • Fundamentals of pregnancy specific anatomy
  • Fundamentals of pregnancy and birth physiology
  • Asana modifications, variations and adjustments including how to adapt or leave out classic poses and why
  • Relaxation and breathing exercises for pregnancy, birth and beyond
  • Practices for early postpartum recovery
  • Use of props, safety guidelines, do’s and don’ts
  • Preparation of class materials and how to set up and manage your class

You will also learn:

  • Specific adjustments of Asana for each of the ‘four trimesters’ (starting with the neglected first trimester and continuing through to the first 12 weeks post birth)
  • Integrated use of the breath in all practices with reference to neuroendocrinology and maternal mental health
  • Birthlight’s unique ‘micromovements of yoga’ for pelvic stability and elasticity
  • Applications of yoga to a body-mind childbirth preparation- whatever kind of birth may be planned (from the studio to the birth space)
  • Understanding common pregnancy complaints and how to help women to avoid and alleviate them
  • How to empower women of all levels of fitness and body types, with advanced sequencing for experienced practitioners
  • Yoga walks and dance ignored in Western style yoga
  • Teaching in circles and using a wide range of pair and group practices that create friendship and ease in pre/postnatal classes
  • Applications of yoga “off the mat” at work and at home through pregnancy
  • The Ayurvedic perspective on Pregnancy and birth, including a special self massage for pregnancy

WHO CAN ATTEND THIS COURSE?

Certified yoga teachers trained with a reputable school of yoga. The full diploma certification accredited with Yoga Alliance Professionals is open to 200h certified teachers as a Postgraduate course. Applicants without a yoga qualification must evidence a long personal yoga practice.

FORMAT AND DURATION

Face-to-face – Part 1&2 4 days face-to-face + 2 days face-to face with online resources
Blended: Combined Face-to-face & Live online Various combinations of livestream Zoom & face-to-face days with online resources
Diploma accredited with YAP + Postnatal: 2 days face to face or 2 days Livestream Zoom &1 day of practice review Livestream all with online resources

More information on the meaning of the terms used for the format (e.g. classic blended, livestream blended, etc) can be found on our FAQ page.

These courses consist of face-to-face and/or livestream contact hours plus an online learning component. There you will find our exclusive course materials developed through years of teaching experience by the Birthlight tutor team.

Study materials include:

  • a comprehensive digital manual
  • explainer videos and presentations of anatomy and physiology
  • class recordings

Discussion groups, quizzes and practical assignments are part of our live delivery of courses online or face to face by experienced tutors.

ASSESSMENT

You will be assessed with quizzes and informal teaching practicals through the course. To gain your certification you will also need to document and teach 10 case-study classes, 6 classes with a group and 4 with a 1:1 student. 

QUALIFICATIONS

On successful completion of the Perinatal Yoga Diploma course, you will be qualified as Birthlight Certified Teacher in Perinatal Yoga and can list yourself on our international Directory of teachers.

Successful completion of Part 1 and 2 Perinatal Yoga plus Postnatal Yoga together (80 hours) satisfies the requirements to register with Yoga Alliance Professionals as having specialist training in Perinatal Yoga.

The Birthlight Perinatal Yoga Diploma has also been approved for teachers’ registration with CNHC (Complementary and Natural Health Council). Diploma holders can register through Birthlight. Birthlight Perinatal Yoga is in full conformity with NICE guidelines for maternity care. 

WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THIS COURSE

Birthlight aproach is very rewarding. The sistem is gentle, but so powerfull. All the tutors that I’ve met were so profesional and full of knowledge. I feel very gratefull for everything I learned. I did my first part with Kirsteen, and she has been mentor one can only wish for. Belinda has been such an inspiration. Thank to them both from the bottom from my heart!”

-Lana, (Kirsteen Ruffell’s & Belinda Staplehurst’s courses – Perinatal Yoga, 2020)

The part 2 of the Perinatal Yoga training has really helped to consolidate what I learned in part one and I feel I have more knowledge than before on the topics we covered. I feel excited to start teaching again as we have learnt such a wealth of practices which can help pregnant women, and which really helped me in my own pregnancy and labour. I love the birthlight approach of giving emphasis to practices which will really be of benefit, helping women to be well throughout their pregnancy.”

Rachel (Belinda Staplehurst’s course – Perinatal Yoga, October 2020)

“I would suggest this course not only for yoga teachers , but for every woman who want to better understand their anatomy and prepare for healthy pregnancy, birth and post recovery. comprehensive knowledge about pregnancy , all changes happening in the body during each trimester and practical advice how to adapt your body to these changes with lots of different practices from yoga, meditation, working with voice.”

Anna Panina, 2020 Perinatal Yoga course, Moscow (tutored by Jane Collins)

‘Outstanding course. I arrived as a yoga teacher and mother, and also with a history that includes personal training where I specialised in Perinatal and Postnatal women. I was looking for the best course I could find. I wanted it to be thorough, safe, well researched. Birthlight has that strong foundation combined with 30 years experience. It was not the cheapest, not the quickest, and certainly not the easiest. But with the coursework and the 2 part training it really allows you time to consolidate, to try things and to come back to the support of your tutor and peers while it is still new to you. Birthlight has additional resources and information online which you can access while studying and beyond. I would thoroughly recommend this training. It is well worth the time and effort.’

Lisa Weller, 2019 Bristol Perinatal Yoga course (tutored by Kirsteen Ruffell) 

‘The perinatal Birthlight course is rooted in yoga philosophy and offers in-depth training to include a thorough understanding of how the body changes throughout pregnancy, a full range of yoga sequences and ways to alleviate symptoms. The training helps you to support women as they prepare for birth. The Birthlight training is holistic and aims to empower women through the yoga practices offered.Balance of theory and practical. I now have a really good understanding of A&P, ailments and how yoga can be of benefit and different yoga sequences. I feel we have an excellent toolbox of resources that we can use.’

Sue Mathews, 2019, Bristol Perinatal Yoga course (tutored by Kirsteen Ruffell)  

‘The course is really full with information. An excellent mix between theory and practice. good to have so much time between now until June to experiment and train and come up with new questions out of the practice.I can recommend birthlight perinatal yoga teacher training from the bottom of my heart – it’s a safe method to teach all types of pregnant women. all the important topics in a pregnancy are treated and considered. the method communicates and encourages lots of power and trust to the pregnant women and is a great preparation for giving birth.’

Nadine Jäggi, 2019 Perinatal Yoga course, Zurich (tutored by Gisela Collazo)  

Birthlight is a fantastic organisation, headed up by the wonderful Francoise Freedman, who has an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge in the area of pre- and post- natal wellbeing.  What I really appreciated about their approach to teaching pre- and post-natal yoga is that it is very holistic and really equips you to condently support women both during and after their prenancy and to help prepare them for labour and birth.  The training is about much more than just modifying traditional yoga poses, and it gives you a very thorough understanding of the anatomy of pregnancy and birth.  It also integrates theory and hands-on practice in a very effective way.  I am very happy to have trained with Birthlight, and it has enabled me to successfully run both pre- and post-natal yoga classes for the last seven years (with some women now being on their second pregnancies with me!) and hopefully for many more years to come!

Sarah Burgess, 2013 Perinatal Yoga Course, London (tutored by Kirsteen Ruffell)
Postnatal Yoga Certificate

COURSE OUTLINE

This course covers the postpartum and early postnatal period (the fourth trimester, first 12 weeks after birth) through to the end of the postnatal year. Holistic adaptations of yoga at this pivotal time support mother-baby bonding and promote women’s long-term health and wellbeing.

You will learn the classic components of postnatal yoga from a holistic perspective:

  • The benefits of postnatal yoga
  • Yoga philosophy for the transition to motherhood
  • Fundamentals of postnatal specific anatomy
  • Fundamentals of physiology (postnatal hormones and maternal emotions)
  • Progressive sequences from birth to the end of the postnatal year
  • Asana modifications, variations and adjustments
  • Relaxation and breathing exercises for childbirth recovery and beyond
  • Use of props, safety guidelines, do’s and don’ts
  • Preparation of class materials and how to set up and manage your class

You will also learn:

  • Specific adjustments of Asana to meet each woman’s needs
  • Integrated use of the breath in all practices
  • Birthlight’s unique ‘micromovements of yoga’ for pelvic stability and elasticity
  • Applications of yoga to alleviate common postnatal ailments
  • How to empower women of all levels of fitness and body types (chair yoga, isotonic practices to wall), with advanced sequencing for experienced practitioners
  • Yoga walks
  • Teaching in circles and using a wide range of pair and group practices that create friendship and ease in postnatal classes
  • Applications of yoga “off the mat” for use while caring for babies
  • How to include babies in postnatal classes

WHO CAN ATTEND THIS COURSE?

Certified yoga teachers trained with a reputable school of yoga

A yoga teaching qualification is recommended but not mandatory for:

  • Baby Yoga teachers
  • Baby Massage teachers
  • Maternity and baby health professionals
  • Other professionals working for women after birth

FORMAT AND DURATION

Birthlight offers a short course option (2 days) and an extended course option (3 days) in 3 formats: face to face, blended and online. The extended option is strongly recommended to those who wish to specialise in teaching postnatal yoga.

Face-to-face Blended2 options: 2 days face-to-face OR 3 days face-to face with online component.
Face-to-face & Livestream Blended2 options: 1 day Livestream Zoom + 1 day face-to-face
OR 1 day Livestream Zoom and + 2 days face to face all with online component.
Diploma accredited with YAP+ Perinatal training
  

Study materials include:

  • an online printable comprehensive manual
  • explainer videos and presentations of anatomy and physiology
  • class recordings
  • printable handouts.

Discussion groups, quizzes and practical teaching assignments are part of our live delivery of courses by experienced tutors. Individualised support and assessment of recorded teaching videos uphold Birthlight training quality standards.

ASSESSMENT

You will be assessed with quizzes and informal practicals through the course. To gain your certification you will need to submit a case-study documenting 4 successive sessions (group or 1:1) and a recorded video (10 minutes) of your teaching as specified by the course tutor.

QUALIFICATIONS

On successful completion of the Perinatal Yoga Diploma course, you will be qualified as Birthlight Certified Teacher in Postntal Yoga.

The full diploma in Perinatal Yoga accredited with Yoga Alliance Professionals (open to 200h certified teachers as a Postgraduate course) include Postnatal Yoga (2 days option) as a module.

Note: Course graduates who do not hold a yoga teaching qualification can list their qualification and teach postnatal yoga in the context of their profession but they may not call themselves Yoga Teachers.

WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THIS COURSE

‘Just wanted to share with you all. Yesterday during my community rounds I met two first time mums both quite traumatised about how their births unfolded not as they had imagined. I explained the closing ritual but not with those words more just by explanation of what I’d do physically and the philosophy behind the practice.Both mums had just come home from hospital the evening before and were still in their bedrooms so the surroundings didn’t need to be changed.
I offered the touch therapy as I called it and explained that it is used in other cultures as a way to seal oneself after the body’s opening that happens during birth. The mums’response was “I’d take anything that helps” and that’s what they both replied. So I did what you taught us Belinda, baby held by dad and mum lying flat with a thin pillow under her head. Amazing responses, neither wanted to get up after the practice so I encouraged them to not move until they wanted or had to. Both described the feeling of being totally relaxed and very still. We all noticed that the babies went quiet too. The breaths lengthened and the bodies softened and emotionally they could say to themselves ok we’re moving on now to the next part of this journey. I’m going back on Friday to see them again. My manager has jiggled my work rota to facilitate that. AMAZING thank you Birthlight from me and the mums.’

Midwife, Belfast 2022

An inspiring course to continue the Birthlight magic to postnatal women

Postnatal course 2019, London

FURTHER STUDY

Course TitleTeacher TrainingStand AloneCPD
Birthlight Yoga for Mat. Professionals*  
Childbirth Preparation for Birth Partners **
PBAC (Yoga for Positive Birth after Caesarean) **
Birthing Lightly with Yoga  *
Yoga for Perinatal Mental Health  *

 Within the Well-Woman training area, the Fertility Yoga, Yoga for Public Health , Yoga for the Prevention and Repair of Pelvic Girdle Pain and Yoga for the Prevention and Repair of Diastasis Recti complement Perinatal Yoga.

Aquanatal Yoga brings Perinatal Yoga to the pool with highly accessible aquatic yoga practices.

Within the Baby Yoga Training area, Yoga to support Breastfeeding is complementary.

Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals (Parts 1&2)

OVERVIEW

This parallel programme to Perinatal Yoga stems from twenty years of collaboration with UK midwives. Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals incorporates NICE guidelines on effective antenatal classes (2008) to promote the physical and psychological wellbeing of pregnant woman so that they can approach birth positively. The course is designed for practitioners with a personal experience of yoga but without a yoga teaching qualification.

HISTORY

After training with Francoise Freedman in 2003, Wendy Gadsden, midwife at Northampton maternity hospital, set up a pilot integrated antenatal programme including Birthlight pregnancy yoga, aquanatal yoga and birth preparation with yoga. Successful outcomes were presented at the MIDIRS 2004 Conference. In 2005 Wendy started a Birthlight Yoga service within the NHS at Northampton, leading to the development of the first Yoga for Maternity Professionals training course at the Whittington Hospital, London, followed by courses in New Zealand and Australia. In 2014 Wendy and Francoise co-presented on ‘Birthlight Lightly with Yoga at the International Midwifery Conference (Prague). Wendy lost her battle with cancer in 2016 but her memory is live in Birthlight and the course continues to evolve.

COURSE OUTLINE

The course is practice-based, with theory integrated in practice. Part 1 imparts the safe use of yoga adapted for pregnancy in maternity care (antenatal classes or one to one clinics). Part 2 details yoga-based resources for use intrapartum and the fundamentals of early postnatal recovery.

Course contents include:

  • The principles of yoga applicable to each trimester of pregnancy
  • The benefits of yoga for pregnancy (research review)
  • Specific anatomy of pregnancy and birth complementing the midwifery curriculum
  • Adaptations of yoga postures and breathing techniques for safe teaching accessible
  • to all pregnant women
  • Various relaxation practices aiming at promoting women’s wellbeing and enjoyment of their pregnancies
  • Techniques for increasing natural oxytocin from 35 weeks onwards
  • A repertoire of specific yoga practices (mudra, vocalisations, visualisations, ‘instant relaxations’, ‘micromovements of yoga’ that can be integrated in antenatal classes (in clinics or in personalised sessions and on labour wards).
  • Ready sequences and class plans for specific pregnancy issues and ailments
  • How to facilitate intrapartum care with yoga (foetal presentation, active ‘labour circuits’, birth positioning, preparation of the perineum to avoid tears)
  • Birthlight set of 5 steps to early postnatal recovery
  • Yoga practices to support your wellbeing as a maternity professional while empowering women and birth partners to welcome their babies.

WHO CAN ATTEND THIS COURSE?

The course is open to:

  • Midwives
  • Doulas
  • Antenatal educators
  • Hypnobirthing instructors
  • Birth counsellors
  • Complementary therapists with a specialist interest in maternity

FORMAT AND DURATION

There are 3 options for this course: face to face, blended or online

Format Duration
Face-to face Blended3 + 2 days face-to face with online learning component.
Combined Face-to-face & Livestream Blended3 days livestream Zooom + online learning component
2 days face to face with online learning component
Fully live online3 + 2days livestream Zoom + online component

These courses consists of face-to-face and/or livestream contact hours plus an online learning component. Participants receive access to this online learning component upon purchase. There you will find our exclusive course materials developed through years of teaching experience by the Birthlight tutor team.

Study materials include:

  • a comprehensive digital manual
  • explainer videos and presentations of anatomy and physiology
  • class recordings

Breakout rooms, group discussions, quizzes and informal practicals are included. As much as possible this course includes tutoring by a qualified midwife. Individualised support upholds Birthlight training quality standards.

ASSESSMENT

You will be assessed continually with quizzes and informal practicals through the course. To gain your certification you will need to submit a documented case study of 4 teaching sessions (group or 1:1). Alternatively, a recorded video (10 minutes) of your teaching can be sent to your course tutor for assessment.

QUALIFICATION

On successful completion of the course, you will be certified as a Certified Teacher in Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals.

Please note: that certified teachers in Yoga for Maternity Professionals cannot advertise themselves as ‘certified yoga teachers’ unless they have obtained a general yoga teaching qualification.

The Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals Certification course was formally accredited with the Royal College of Midwives until they stopped offering accreditations to any courses during the pandemic.

Part 2 has been allocated 15 elective educational points from the New Zealand Midwifery Council. It has also been awarded 18 MidPLUS points from the Australian College of Midwives Professional Development Committee.

WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THIS COURSE

‘I feel this course should be incorporated into ‘compulsory education’ for midwives and student midwives. It brings both midwife and woman back into their bodies, balances, facilitates and encourages the normal and emotional factors that need to be in place to promote normal birth, and pregnancy wellbeing. I loved doing this course and the journey it took me on surprised and empowered me.’

Paula – Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals, Auckland, NZ  2012

‘I absolutely LOVED the Birthlight teaching course in Whittington last week, highly recommended for maternity professionals or yoga teachers, mums to be, or anyone who wants to find out more about this wonderful pre-natal Yoga world! Your teachers Wendy and Alison were an amazing team; we had fun and learnt loads! Thank you Birthlight.’

Antonella Torti – Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals, Whittington September 2012

‘Teaching Birthlight pregnancy Yoga has brought huge benefits to my midwifery practice, not only for me but also for the women I care for. I am able to offer practical, safe, empowering suggestions to help women ease the discomfort of pregnancy with simple Yoga techniques. Women who attend the pregnancy yoga classes develop a body awareness and trust of their bodies that appears to support then to labour well and reach their outcomes of achieving a natural birth. Teaching Birthlight Yoga has added to my midwifery tool kit. There have been several occasions during labour where I have been able to use the Birthlight Yoga techniques to support women during long, difficult or posterior labours. After the birth Birthlight yoga techniques have been useful to recommend for supporting and improving pelvic floor tone, and for facilitating post birth recovery.’

Claire Eccleston – Birthlight Yoga for Maternity Professionals, Hamilton NZ 2010

FURTHER STUDY WITH BIRTHLIGHT

There are currently 3 CPDs linked to this course :

Birthing Lightly with yoga CPD1 day Livestream OR 1 day face-to-face
Yoga for Perinatal Mental Health1 day Livestream OR 1 day face-to-face
PBAC (Yoga for Positive Birth after Casarean)1 day Livestream OR 1 day face-to-face