Pregnancy and Yoga: A Match Made in Heaven by Sue Elkind

The birth of a child is one of the most monumental moments in a mother’s life.  It is not only awe-inspiring to witness this miracle of creation so intimately throughout pregnancy, but equally transformative for a woman to experience her own birth as she steps into the threshold of motherhood.  This shared journey of growth and discovery changes a woman forever.

My first pregnancy came one year after I ‘birthed’ my first yoga studio in Los Angeles.  Opening our space had been a labor of love, one I tirelessly commited to like any new mother instinctively would. When I realized I was pregnant, I was grateful that the studio had sprouted into a beautiful community of support to help water its growth.

It was joyful for me to experience how seamless the great teachings of yoga supported my pregnancy.  Diving deeply into the practices of asana, pranayama, chanting and meditation became a sacred play of deepening connections to both my body and my baby.  Yoga was truly the ‘glue’ that helped me stay conscious to all the changes taking place– strengthening the areas that were becoming unstable; opening the muscles that unconsciously held tension.  My practice became a gift that continued to guide and support me even during the extraordinary moments of Luca’s birth.

As a yoga teacher & trainer, I was excited to share my experiences and began to teach prenatal yoga classes during my pregnancy. I also began teaching prenatal yoga in our teacher trainings. Eventually, as my wealth of knowledge grew, I began to develop longer prenatal yoga courses, and I turned my training manual into a book. When Yoga Alliance added certification for 85-hour prenatal trainings, my program was one of the first to be accepted.

My greatest gift during my pregnancy was meeting my doula (support), Anna Verwaal, who inspired me to expand my perspective about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood.  She asked me questions that challenged the norm, and introduced me to authors, midwives, shamans and doctors who also courageously veered off the ‘traditional’ path. I was given books to read like Dr. Grantly Dick-Read’s Childbirth Without Fear; Dr. Sarah Buckley’s Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices; and Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth.  I am forever grateful to her for her early guidance which has definitely brought more dimension into my trainings and life.

Even after fifteen years of teaching prenatal yoga and training hundreds of teachers internationally, I am still amazed at how pregnancy and yoga are a match made in heaven.  I feel blessed every single time I have the opportunity to empower a woman in her pregnancy and/or support her as a new mother.  I also know that as more yoga teachers learn and share this valuable information, we have the potential to evolve a whole new generation of conscious beings, one birth at a time.

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