Years ago, when working behind the desk at a popular yoga studio, the sounds and sights of the pregnant women leaving the prenatal yoga classes caught my attention. Their round bellies and glowing faces moved through the doors as they chatted and laughed away, oblivious to everyone else in the room. Something special was happening with them, something more than just having a baby. Now that I’ve had a child of my own, I understand what is behind that special glow that was in the faces of those women all those years ago. They were courageous women stepping into their own great potential, deepening their relationships to the divine, to themselves, and to the unborn children growing in their wombs. Yoga was the medium through which they achieved such a connection. Yoga is synonymous with union. There is perhaps no more profound time for a woman to explore her potential for union than when her body, mind and soul are devoted to the union between herself and the unborn child inside her. My own journey toward that union began with Kundalini yoga nine years ago. Then two years ago when I became pregnant I embraced the practice of prenatal yoga and became a teacher. As part of my yogic exploration, I decided to have a home birth. Setting a commitment to my prenatal yoga practice would empower and prepare me to accomplish this. I practiced almost every day during my pregnancy, except during my first trimester when I spent weeks on my couch meditating through waves of nausea. Yet, the more I practiced and truly allowed myself to immerse my being and that of my baby into the yoga, the more connected I felt to something vitally powerful within me, something other than my growing baby. I discovered a connection to myself as a divine creator. Through the breath, the postures, the mantras and the mudras I practiced, I confronted fears and insecurities about birth and motherhood and was able to work through them. The benefits of my practice were put to the test during the birth of my daughter. The pain was excruciating, unlike anything I’d felt before. However, the moment my water broke, with the help of my midwife, I moved instinctively into my yogic breath which guided me through the sensations. With each breath, I drew closer to myself, and with each contraction my baby drew closer to my arms. In those moments, the yoga I had practiced for so many years was my guide and friend. I was indeed in union with every cell of my being, with my spirit and with my daughter who I knew felt guided by me. I had the strength, courage, and vision to guide her and birth her. Women have given birth every day for ages and will continue to do so for centuries to come. When a woman commits to any type of yoga practice during her pregnancy, she allows herself to move into a deeper experience of herself as a creative being which gives her a more profound awareness of the birth of her child, no matter how or where she chooses to give birth. Recently, I encountered one of my students who had just given birth. After withstanding 42 hours of labor, she was able to give birth naturally. She had expected an easy labor as a result of all the yoga during her pregnancy. But she came to understand that, in fact, her yoga practice was her guide despite her expectation being incorrect. The yoga and her breath had seen her through the birth; and she was so grateful for it. It never ceases to amaze me how women I know who practice yoga throughout their pregnancy walk away with a deep and profound insight into themselves and a deepened connection to their babies. The moment I looked into my daughter’s eyes for the first time, it was like I had known her throughout eternity. I believe part of that connection was established because every time I practiced yoga, she breathed with me, she moved with me, she mantra-ed and mudra-ed with me. Her sparkling consciousness let me know I had done something right. And the next time I get pregnant, you will see me bounding out of yoga class with a round belly and a glowing face, laughing and smiling away, oblivious to everyone around me.
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