SADHANA OF BIRTH: STARDUST AND MAGIC
The transforming journey of becoming a pregnancy yoga teacher and doula …
About eight years ago when I was pregnant with my second child I undertook training to become a doula – a birth support person – with the Australian Doula College in Sydney. At the time I was working on my book ‘The Yoga of Birth’ and although I’d been teaching Pregnancy Yoga and Mums and Babies Yoga classes for many years I wanted to dive deeper into my understanding of pregnancy, birthing and this area of deep and powerful women’s work.
I had been fortunate to have a very straight-forward and positive birthing experience with my first son but I was well aware that this was not every woman’s experience of birthing and that the overly medicalised system of birthing support often stacked the odds against natural birth or an empowering birthing experience. I wanted to be able to help women to have more choice and where interventions were needed, as sometimes they are, to enable women choose them proactively and mindfully from a place of empowerment and gratitude not fear.
The doula training was everything I could have hoped for and more. I knew I would learn about the stages of birthing and a great deal more technical information than I knew before but I didn’t expect such a profound and transforming journey to unfold.
I’ve long loved the idea of ‘sadhana’ which means ‘conscious spiritual practice’, bringing beauty and awareness to the everyday and to all that we do, and what I learnt in doula training was a great deal about creating sadhana – creating sacred space – a means to support women in the joy and beauty as well as the grit and tears of childbirth. I learnt that even when machines are beeping and heart rate monitors are dropping or falling with scary alarm, coming back to the breath and back into the body can save women from trauma and enable them to step up to challenges they thought would overwhelm them completely. I learnt that the beauty of birthing is deeply and intrinsically linked to the fragile sentience of our time on this planet and that death and birth are sisters – not in a frightening way, but in a way that reminds us of the extraordinary miracle of life. As my teacher Sharon Gannon at Jivamukti Yoga says ‘the first thing you do when you come into this world is to inhale. The last thing you will do when you leave this world is to exhale. The breaths in-between are your life.’
In completing the attendance of births and supporting women as part of my doula training it has been my honour and my privilege to see some human beings take their first breath in this lifetime – tiny lungs drawing prana in for the very first time – what a potent reminder of the beauty of life.
I was very fortunate to be trained by Renee Adair the founder of the Australian Doula College. Renee is a woman who has attended hundreds of births and gotten her hands dirty literally and metaphorically in the messy world of both the politics of birth and the birthing space itself. She is an activist, a sage, and one of the kindest people I know. When she teaches and trains doulas I see her often moved to tears despite having taught this same content for years and years. She’s never complacent or on auto-pilot. She also swears like a trooper and doesn’t suffer fools gladly! The world of birthing is her calling undoubtedly and I was honoured to be trained by her and still count her as an important mentor in my life.
I’ve been trying for years now to collaborate with Renee to offer some trainings and workshops together crossing over the work of sadhana, pre and post natal yoga and birth support. When I opened Everyday Sadhana we met again to discuss possibilities. We just decided to go all out and offer the best and the most of what we both have to bring to the table as educators, mothers and women who are passionate about making a difference. We sat down and looked at the industry gold standard for pre and post natal yoga teacher training (Yoga Alliance and Yoga Australia criteria) as well as the full curriculum and requirements for doula training. We wove together a training that will offer certification in both. We decided despite our own personal busy-ness and time demands to teach the whole thing ourselves for this first year at least.
And so it is born. Starting early March 2017, we’re offering 12 women only the chance to train with us and become pregnancy yoga teachers and doulas, three of these spots have sold already before we even put the training onto the website.
Although we expect to offer the training again in 2018 it won’t be taught entirely only by Renee and I in future years and the price will likely not remain as low. We just want to offer the training as something extra special and magical in its first year because we know this little acorn is going to to grow into a mighty oak tree in years to come. We’d love for you to join us in this first round as we embark on this wonder-filled journey of star-dust and magic together.
All details about this training are at www.EverydaySadhana.com.au
Please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
by Katie Manitsas