Alongside the yoga postures, breathing and relaxation practices, a key element of my Pregnancy Yoga and Birth Preparation classes, Women’s Wellness Yoga Workshops and Yoga Therapy sessions is creating a safe space for women to connect and share their true experiences of their femininity. Life is busy, and we face so many competing pressures in daily life, and there is so little time, space and opportunity to share our inner experiences of femininity.
How many of us struggle with our menstrual cycle and fertility, with pain, fear, anxiety and difficulties caused by PCOS and endometriosis. Conception may happen easily for some of us, yet for others, behind our smiles and daily busyness, we are holding much pain, grief and anxiety as each month brings our bleed time despite our best hopes for conceiving a much longed for baby. Difficult journeys to conception bring challenging experiences of pregnancy too, for sure we are excited, but much stronger emotions are those of fear, apprehension and disbelief. Yet there are so few safe spaces in our culture to share this tenderness and vulnerability.
Similarly, our culture pertains that we keep our pregnancy news to ourselves until at least the 12 week scan. Where does this thinking originate and who does it serve? For it requires us to carry on as normal, as though nothing has changed, despite the life changing emotions and exhausting physical symptoms we may be feeling. This cultural tradition is steeped in fear of miscarriage and the overwhelming grief this brings…we have so little ways of talking about and dealing with pregnancy loss, and this is only reflective of how our wider culture is so unskilled and unable to talk about death and all of the fear which this provokes. Therefore as women, we can find ourselves emotional and vulnerable, experiencing so many conflicting fears and emotions alongside our physical symptoms, and dealing with all of this alone, or just with the support of partners who often feel overwhelmed and out of their depth too.
Yet when we find a safe space within which to be able to share our feelings, our griefs,fears and vulnerabilities, we begin to realise that we are not alone. For behind the smiles and happy social media pictures we come to realise that we all hold within us these unexpressed experiences and vulnerabilities. And it is from sharing them, in a safe, tender space, like the discussions at the start and end of the yoga practices, that we deepen our relationships and all grow in compassion, understanding, empathy and connection. So often as girls and women we are taught to compare and to compete with one another, we can judge ourselves and others, without meaning to, feeling inferior and anxious, yet when we share our experiences of pregnancy, of loss and of hope and anxiety, we come to realise that, whatever our lifestyle or background, there is always so much more that will connect us as women and mothers than that which is different.
For we are all walking a shared path…. of hoping to be a good enough mum, of hoping our babies will be safe, healthy and happy, of hoping things will go okay and stay okay. And as we come to realise we are not alone with these feelings, we can breathe a sigh of relief and let go of some of the tension we hold, habitually within our bodies and minds. We can give ourselves permission to let go a little, to breathe, to soften and to let ourselves be held by the Earth beneath us. These elements lie at the very heart of the yoga I teach; that we are one, that we are walking a shared path in learning to love ourselves and our babies, and we can make this path easier by being kind to ourselves and others, letting go of judgement, comparison and criticism and being a little kinder and more gentle to ourselves and each other. One of the most beautiful elements of the Pregnancy Yoga class is the friendships mums create and the kindness and support which flows between them, creating a network of friendship and companionship which holds one another through the intensity of labour and continues as the babies grow. These friendships are so important…. being able to share experiences, moans and laughs with others who understand and are walking the same path.
My forthcoming book Milestones of Motherhood is a space to explore these inner landscapes of mothering; a place to bring together, validate, share and celebrate the things we feel, think and experience as mums, to honour, value and celebrate this journey and recognise what a huge amount we do, feel and think about, and how valuable this work is. I look forward to it being available soon 🙂
For more details about the pregnancy yoga classes, and to book your place on a monthly block or try a taster session please get in touch.
07906 188 345