This is the last installment on a six part series. If this is your first time joining in, start at Part 1 to journey through with me. I hope this series has been as helpful to you as it was for me to write it. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments!
We have reached the end of the line. Today marked the completion of the class part of my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training.Today was all about the postnatal mother: or the fourth trimester.The morning we spent discussing what that looks like emotionally and physiologically, and did a practice designed to help women and babies in this time.
The six months after baby are a critical time to modify and adapt a yoga practice because the mother’s body is recovering and healing. It takes time to get the body back to where it was structurally before the pregnancy, and a lot of attention is paid to the pelvic floor and inner leg line: strengthening and stabilizing the pelvis. Birthing a baby causes the pelvis to become unstable and loose, so during the postnatal period the aim is to support and strengthen that region of the body.
Postpartum classes are about healing, so in this practice it is beneficial to get the woman down near the earth, so she may be grounded and get back to a healthy place, Being low to the earth helps to stabilize hormonal imbalances, and gives a feeling of support. During a woman’s pregnancy, it is all about elevation: carrying a baby high, lengthening through the body, defying gravity, so that when it comes to the postpartum period that is a good time to counteract that.
The afternoon passed in a blur: we did our final teaching workshop where we practiced teaching and applying the things we learned, and then we did a quick partner practice that could be beneficial for couples. Before I knew it we were taking a group picture and saying “see you later.”
Certainly the class was nothing like I thought it would be. Going in I thought we would just be discussing how to modify a practice for a pregnant woman: avoid the headstands and lying on the belly, don’t offer this posture in this term, etc.
The experience instead felt more like sprouting from a seed. Nestled in my knowledge of yoga and the practice, this training was a deluge of water and new light: it wasn’t re-framing the picture, rather drawing an entirely new masterpiece altogether. The training went back to the source: we were introduced to new pranayama and meditation practices, asanas and flows, and how to support mothers every step of the way. There are so many complexities to take into account when teaching mothers. How do you make space for these women? How do you ensure you are offering a safe and healthy practice that meet their physiological needs? How do you meet them in their emotional needs? Teaching prenatal yoga is a holistic approach: you are not just assisting the physical body, but the whole being.
So I am 30 hours closer to my RYPT… Now what? Over the next few months I will begin processing what we learned and start peeling back the layers we only began to touch upon in class a little further. There’s a six page paper to write, classes to observe, 24 hours of home practice, and six private sessions to teach. Once all of this is done, I need to teach 30 hours of prenatal classes and submit a video of my teaching before I can qualify for my RYPT-85… The paper that says I know what I’m doing.
Since there is no prenatal classes currently offered in my community, I am in uncharted territory, and am so excited to bring everything I have learned to the moms in need! I have been in talks with the YMCA about offering classes, and plan on contacting the Crisis Pregnancy Center and public library to possibly set something up. It is my belief that the people who need yoga the most are the ones who can’t afford it, so I hope I can change that with the knowledge I have gained through this experience.
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing and like one of my fellow yoginis in the training so aptly described it, I want to help empower women in their “God-given, love-making, baby-building machines!”