Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Pregnancy Yoga?

Whew. Last week I finished my Khalsa Way pregnancy yoga teacher's training with Gurmukh and I am ready to start teaching. I've done yoga since high school, and always liked it, but I can't say it was life changing until I became pregnant and took a Khalsa Way class. Khalsa Way is yoga for pregnancy that was inspired by Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) and developed by Gurmukh, with his blessing.

What does that mean? Essentially, it means that it is a spiritual discipline as well as a mind-body approach. In our training we really focused on the inner knowing that a pregnant woman has, and how to use the yoga to increase her intuition and her confidence in her own body's abilities.

Classes also give mothers a chance to talk, share information and feelings, and rejoice. This 10-15 chat at the beginning of class creates community that is one of the reasons that women who have taken these classes become and stay friends for years afterward. (I met one of my good friends in Gurmukh's yoga class and our daughters--6 days apart--are best friends.)

In addition to strengthening exercises that prepare our bodies for birthing and breastfeeding and carrying our babies, we also dance. Dancing with my baby was always my favorite part. The babies dance in the womb with you. There is

Each Khalsa Way class also includes a meditation. Meditation is important because it helps women learn to conquer their minds (often the biggest obstacle in labor) and deepen their connection to their creator, their own creative wisdom, and their babies. This is what I so longed for when I was pregnant.

Our faith often talks about the importance of meditation, but since mediation is something that can't be taught, it's largely up to us to venture into that unknown and find out what works for us. And I must say, regularly practicing pregnancy yoga is when it finally clicked for me. My mind, which doesn't normally slow down, was able to "tune in" and I have received some of my clearest personal revelations while meditating in yoga class or in my at-home practice.

People of all faiths are welcome to Khalsa Way classes and every person is encouraged to apply the spiritual messages or mantras to their own beliefs. I have met all kinds of women at Khalsa Way classes, from orthodox Jewish women to agnostics to me. That's the beauty of it.

If anyone is in the Los Angeles area and wants to try my class, I will be teaching out of my house until I get a space or until some other opportunity comes up. I am also available to come to your house for group or private classes. I do a "by donation" payment system, because I think everyone should do prenatal yoga regularly, regardless of their ability to pay. So bring what you can. I'll even accept tomatoes from your garden (organic, of course). Contact me if you'd like my location info. Sat Nam.

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