I have been practising yoga since 2010 and I have been hooked ever since my first class.At the end of 2015 I became pregnant with my daughter, right in the middle of my yoga teacher training! I absolutely loved my yoga practice and I must admit that I found the physical changes and limitations of pregnancy quite challenging, added to a full time job and the requirements of the teacher training course syllabus. It wasn't until I was 7 months pregnant and on a retreat in France that I finally admitted to myself that I was going to have to let go of the old me and embrace the new me which meant starting specific pregnancy yoga classes on my return - I immediately kicked myself for not joining sooner! I pretty much decided there and then that as soon as I could, I would start to teach mums to be so that I could pass on the wonderful experience that I had in those classes and to give them time to really embody the techniques that are so useful for labour, birth and motherhood.
In 2017 I undertook Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training at Whitespace Studio with the incredibly knowledgeable and talented Dawn Wright, who is a student of Uma Dinsmore Tulli who really is the main voice in pregnancy and women's yoga. The course was really thorough and based on up to date research as well as years of experience and a live teaching exam. I love to read about all things pregnancy related and am always looking for ways to add to my knowledge and understanding.
After the birth of my daughter in 2017 I felt that there had been so much that I did not know about the birth. I had taken the approach that my body would know what to do on the day and would be able to just get on with it as long as I listened to the medical professionals around me. To some extent that is true, your body is definitely designed for the job, but I was left with the feeling that if I had known more about what was happening I would have been able to get out of the way of my body and let it get on with it. I began to read everything I could on birth and knew that next time it could and would be different. Cue 2019 and pregnant with my son I took a hypnobirthing course with my husband (more for his benefit than mine!) and I began to prepare for the big day. The birth was fantastic - hard work, yes, but fantastic nonetheless. The contrast between my two birth stories is something that I often hear, I was unprepared first time around but the knowledge i had by the second time made all the difference. Preparation really is key.
With this first hand knowledge of how different your birth experiences can be I trained with Katharine Graves in August 2020, at a time when due to the fast changing COVID rules hypnobirthing is more important than ever to empower and prepare women for birth.
Hypnobirthing not only explains the science of birth, breaking down the mysteries and stigmas that have been built up by modern media and the horror stories that we are taught from a young age, but also teaches us exactly how to relax and let our body get on with it, putting our over-thinking analytical brains to one side, and letting our deeper, limbic brain take over, following our primal instincts.
Teaching yoga and hypnobirthing really does feel like I have found the perfect fit for one another and for me. It is a job that I am passionate about and excited to share this passion and help as many women as I can on their journeys through motherhood.
My Classes and Teaching Style
Pregnancy is such a special time. Although it might not feel like it right now, 9 months is not a long time! Any opportunity to savour it and lay down foundations for birth and for connections to your baby should be taken.
My yoga classes are kept simple and accessible, there is no need for any previous yoga experience. Week by week I get to know my students so that I can tailor the class to suit individual needs as much as possible. Class content is varied each week, but using simple content that can be practised at home. We will use a combination of breathing techniques, gentle yoga poses and guided relaxation techniques, all of which can easily be recreated at home. We will also be using some of the relaxation techniques from my hypnobirthing classes as part of the yoga class.
Hypnobirthing is taught as a standalone course over two Saturdays. The course is taught as a group, with your birth partner joining too. I will teach you in a clear and logical way what hypnobirthing is (hint - it does not actually involve any form of stage hypnosis and I will not be at any point be clicking my fingers and saying "you're under!"), I will teach you about the physiology of birth, how to work with your own natural abilities and how to work with birthing professionals to have a birth that you will remember for years to come for the right reasons.
I firmly believe that pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing are a perfect match fit with each other. Both work best when practised regularly and both practices work well together and benefit each other. Yoga helps prepare you physically and hypnobirthing prepares your mind. Most other hypnobirthing courses are delivered in a classroom format that you then take away and practice alone at home, whereas my yoga class gives you that weekly practice space to top up your homework as well as the opportunity to make regular contact with other mums and ask me any questions.
I think that birth gets a 'bad press' with images in the media and on TV only expressing negative aspects and horror stories, without the balanced view of the calm and wonderful birth experience that is equally as possible. Positive birthing begins by listening to and understanding our bodies - a skill that has been forgotten in our busy lives. Yoga is the perfect place to re-establish that connection and tune into the natural power our bodies contain.
Katharine Graves Hypnobirthing Teacher Training - August 2020
Mother & Baby Yoga
Sally Parkes Teacher Training - June 2019
Align Your Baby
Online Course with The Hypnobirthing Midwife - January 2018
Whitespace Yoga Studio, Stony Stratford - October 2017
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training
Whitespace Yoga Studio, Stony Stratford - June 2016
Associate Level 1 Member of Yoga Alliance UK