I’m taking prenatal teacher training at the Prenatal Yoga Center. One of our first assignments was to interview a mother who had practiced yoga during her pregnancy and ask her if she thought the practice helped her through labor and delivery.
I interviewed “M.” Her favorite part of prenatal yoga? It was talking about her sexual and reproductive organs and going deep into the anatomy of the pelvic floor. Other moms voiced the same opinion. One mom said she felt great saying “vagina” as loud and proudly as she wanted.
Several said that prenatal yoga classes helped them, as first time mothers-to-be, find a community of people going through the same life-altering event that they were. They were comfortable sharing stories about choosing what kind of birth to have and complaining about aches and pains without any judgment.
Many revealed that their anxiety about labor was relieved greatly through learning how to control their breathing and they were excited to learn poses they could take into the delivery room (or bedroom if they had a home birth).
Sure a prenatal class has versions of Warrior I and Warrior II with perhaps a pigeon or supta badha konasana thrown in. But it wasn’t those tried and true poses that made the women interviewed so sanguine. It was the feeling of commonality, reduction of stress and heightened sense of self and empowerment that turned them on and had the most lasting effects.
If we just listened to the maternal wisdom inside ourselves, these lessons from modern day goddesses could be incorporated more in all our practices.
-Brette Popper is Publisher and Founder of YogaCityNYC