Prenatal Teacher Training weekend 3 recap

by Andrea Dixon

What an amazing weekend. The community this group has created is a joy to be a part of!

Sara joined us to kick off our weekend with a discussion on mindfulness, using the text, The Miracle of Mindfulness, as a starting point. It was a rich, emotional and tender discussion, and it brought up ideas and concepts that we returned to throughout the weekend. Later in the weekend, we did other mindfulness exercises, including the Raisin Meditation (from Mindful Birthing, one of my all-time favorite books).

Throughout the weekend, we did several writing and reflecting exercises designed to encourage students to identify their core values and unique gifts. We explored how self-awareness and reflection can help us come from a place of authenticity and strength in our yoga teaching , and how it is an important piece of our commitment as yoga teachers (and as awakening humans!).

We talked about the ways yoga can help women prepare for birth, specifically with optimal fetal positioning, and what can be incorporated into a yoga class geared specifically for labor preparation.

On Saturday, we had a prenatal class open to the public. During the check in almost everyone said they had back discomfort of some sort, so I taught a class to bring length, space and release to the muscles of the back.

Our asana focus for the weekend was seated poses. We talked through, and practiced, a variety of seated poses, variations, and hands on assists. There are “classic” prenatal seated poses, which often feel good, but depending on what’s going on in a woman’s hips, might not. One of the biggest complaints I hear from my pregnant students is of achy and painful hips. Depending on what’s going on, hip opening poses might feel best, or back and hip stabilizing and strengthening poses might be what’s needed. As always, how a pregnant woman feels in her body in different poses is the best indicator of what is going to be most helpful.

Erika Grace from Grace Pelvic Health came to talk with us about pelvic floor anatomy, the different dysfunctions that can develop, and the range of challenges that pelvic floor physical therapy can help. She debunked some myths about pelvic floor exercises, and I think everyone had at least one “a ha!” moment!

Sunday morning, the teacher trainees taught a class with a theme of openness, and focused on opening the hips, addressing hip compression and tightness. Sunday afternoon, students planned the classes they’ll teach our final weekend in April – we’ll have 2 groups of students teach a full class, each with a different focus.

We reviewed the breathing and pranayama techniques we’ve covered, and practiced a couple different nadi shodana variations. We rounded out our day talking about the benefits of restorative poses, the various factors that contribute to women often not sleeping well (and/or experiencing extreme fatigue during pregnancy). We’ve been incorporating restoratives into each of our weekends. We reviewed those that we’ve covered, experimented with some new ones, and closed out our day with a mini restorative class. And just like that the weekend was done! Hard to believe there’s just 1 more to go with this lovely group of women.