Sunday, February 27, 2011

Practice Being Still

To My Favorite Yoginis,

Next week is a major Holiday for yogis all around the world. It is Shivaratri, the celebration of Shiva who in Indian mythology is Lord of the Universe. There are many facets to Shiva, and volumes are written by religious scholars interpreting Hindu scripture on attempts at attaining him. The Shiva that I wish to explore with all of you is the one that will help you endure childbirth. It is the Shiva that as my Guru says is "always supremely serene, quiet, and still".

If you attempt to hold what moves inside of you while giving birth, you will be sorely misguided. If however, you attempt to hold Shiva, that aspect of the Self that is still, then you may better endure childbirth's wrath. Too, you just may realize an opportunity of a life time.

In our last yoga class, here is how Heather Benway experienced stillness;

“My physical experience of stillness come from a firm and grounded stance, in which my feet are in full, stable contact with the earth. My emotional experience of stillness comes from focusing on the breath. It helps me to calm and sometimes even quiet the mental chatter that distracts me from the moment.”

Elsa Partan shared her experience of stillness too;

*My experience of stillness is a blank mind and a feeling of relaxation.
* I can best hold my experience of stillness by breathing deeply, closing my eyes.
*During class, I also felt very still when sitting back to back with my partner during the exercises and when I was experiencing a good stretch.

Come to yoga and practice being still.

In love and light,


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jessica Shares Her Birth Story

Dear Ones,

It is brave for Jessica to come to prenatal yoga and share her story. It is a heroic act because sharing her story is a form of self honor. Let's get real, women don't just have this incredible, intensely demanding, complex, extraordinary experience and go home and forget about it. We don't. Maybe we would like to, but we don't. Nor do we go home and give our entire being over instantly to our new born babies. It doesn't work like that.

The reality is that we go home and roam in a body that now houses these bold, heavy earthbound sensations. Open achy hips and throbbing thighs that feel robbed of their sockets. The smell of fresh, mucous blood and the salty beads of sweat formed on our brows during pushing. Cooling ice chips, and the machine by our bedside that echoed the reassuring sound of our babies running, thumbing, beating heart beat. We examine the sounds we made, voices of loved ones and care providers, and our feelings about how close we came to having the birth that we imagined. Finally, over time, we can allow our feelings/thoughts/sensations to fade, drift into a memory and put it to bed.

So when a woman comes and shares her story, she is making a statement about who she is. She is honoring herself for being more than a physical body, that she has emotions and thoughts that require processing, integration, and assimilation. Then, if she is so moved, she may wish to follow the story deeper. Like me, I never put my story to bed. To the contrary. I followed the pangs in my heart that called me ever deeper to know more of the origins of birth. Jessica too began to explore more when she described her experience of natural childbirth as "survival". It can be a fitting description of birth, survival, one that I wish to explore more in my next posting. What do women have to gain from enduring natural childbirth? How can we contain what we have attained? Stay with me as we go deeper into childbirth.

In love and light,