Our lovely daughter was married on Saturday and I do wonder where all the years have gone. It is thirty one years since I gave birth and gazing back through the years I realise how ill-prepared we were!
My latest copy of the lovely OMYOGAMAGAZINE has a super section dedicated to pregnancy and new mums. I found all the articles interesting and informative and for anyone who is pregnant I recommend it as a good place to begin your journey into yoga and pregnancy.
As I mentioned in my previous blog I was pregnant whilst living in Kericho, Kenya. We lived 7,000 feet above sea level and it was often chilly and wet. We were surrounded by tea estates and large stands of eucalyptus trees and conifers. Colobus monkeys were regular visitors to the trees and their beautiful black and white fur flowed around them as they leapt from one high point to another.
It was beautiful, it was tranquil and the air was clean and fresh. However, being pregnant so far from home and family was unnerving and, due to the altitude, even more exhausting than normal. It would be fair to say that I realise now I was healthy and strong! At the time I simply felt nauseous, weepy and totally feeble…
It seems from this distance that I expected, as did others, pregnancy to be no big deal. I was surrounded by strong white Kenya women whose families had been farming and surviving in Africa for decades. There were no special antenatal classes and seeing my doctor in Nairobi involved a six hour drive at best. I only recall going three times! The general feeling was that I was unlikely to die, it was a completely natural occurrence and there was no need to panic, worry or become neurotic! In short it was like shelling peas! I was also given invaluable advice by one of the tea-planter’s wives, ‘You only need to know two things my dear; you are unlikely to kill your baby whatever you do and if they choke simply hold them up by their heels and slap them on the back.”! These were the sort of women who were to be found outside on a sun-lounger when the spray-plane was spraying the tea bushes with zinc, the rumour being that it would increase your sex drive!
And so, as I read through OMYOGAMAGAZINE I realise how much yoga has to offer the pregnant woman. I was completely ignorant. Sheila Kitzinger was very current in the 1980s and my mother sent me her book and cassette tape which taught me how to deal with contractions using a panting breath. I have not encountered that form of breathing in my recent reading!
I flew back into the UK six weeks before my due date which is definitely not allowed nowadays. There was a feeling that I had been rather foolhardy being pregnant in deepest, darkest Africa and the doctors, nurses and midwives were rather cool and distant. It was decided that I would be induced! Once again I realise how ill-informed I was but at this point let it be said in a very loud voice…my midwives on the day were wonderful, caring women who stayed long after their shift to urge, cajole and love me through the whole experience.
It never occurred to me that I would ever be interested in teaching yoga to women during their pregnancy. Indeed it has taken me many years to come to this stage of my life where I feel comfortable enough to offer support at this amazing time in a woman’s life. It felt important to choose a training which was residential so that I would be totally wrapped up in all things pregnant. I chose Sally Parkes’ Training and it proved to the perfect choice for me.
I downloaded my latest copy of OMYOGAMAGAZINE during our training at The Dru Yoga Centre in Wales and read with delight the article Sally had written. She was delighted too!
Our training began on Monday afternoon with Sally. There was also a day and a half spent with Dawn Morse, a great A&P teacher. Sally is full of wonderful knowledge and I learnt such a lot from our days together. I was one of nine and each woman present had so much to offer the group. We covered a lot of ground; from a gentle yoga session for women completely new to yoga to a strong class for regular students.
Time was spent talking and learning about the changes that occur, physical, emotional and mental when pregnant and how each trimester has it’s own flavour. We had time to plan, practice and teach each other. There was also time to spend structuring and taking part in a class specific to the needs of a very new mum and on a wet afternoon we watched a DVD of Baby Yoga and massage.
Just outside the door was beautiful scenery. The Dru Yoga Centre is based at Snowdonia Mountain Lodge which is not far from Bangnor. It’s a wonderful place to stay with amazing vegetarian food and everyone there is so friendly and hospitable. Learning is so much easier when surrounded by such beauty and an evening walk along the valley completed my days.
I still have assignments to complete but I feel so much more confident and my knowledge has grown hugely. I have Sally and Dawn to thank for their enthusiasm, passion and love of yoga. Hopefully, I can now empower and support women during this very important time.
The lovely Sally Parkes and Bonny.
Thank you to,
A great group of women. Big thanks to Court for a taster session of Broga, huge fun!
Naturally there are lots of other topics covered in OMYOGAMAGAZINE this month; recipes, yoga poses to learn and revisit, yoga for men, meditation and as always a joy to read.
And so I will leave you with my few words and hope you all have a super September….