As you may know, I’m a big fan of yoga generally and particularly during pregnancy. All through my pregnancy I’ve practiced yoga, both at home and with local studio The LifePod – something I’ve enjoyed immensely.
I asked LifePod founder, Lauren Falconer, if she’d do a Q&A for the blog. A yoga instructor, calmbirth teacher, doula and health coach, I’ve benefited greatly from Lauren’s knowledge, advice and humour – I hope you do too!
How did you come to yoga teaching? Was it something you always wanted to do?
I came to yoga through acting. I was training at a Drama school in London and fell in love with my yoga practice. When I returned to Sydney I knew that I wanted to explore this whole fascinating world further and enrolled in an Advanced Diploma of Health and Yoga. It wasn’t what I had planned to do, which is so often the case for us all… life is a series of unexpected gifts and this has certainly been a big one.
Had you planned to work with prenatal yoga? How did that evolve?
I had no plans to work with pregnant women, this was again another unexpected blessing. The first yoga school that I worked for asked me if I would be interested in teaching prenatal classes. I had a policy at that time to say yes to everything and learn as much as I could. I began teaching and never looked back, it was the best decision I’d ever made. I have such an affinity with pregnant women, and going through my own pregnancy gave me the most wonderful sense of knowing and empathy for women walking this remarkable path. I love being with pregnant mothers, it really is my gift to hold that space for women and create a nourishing environment that is so beneficial during this time.
Do you find there are many overlaps between yoga and calmbirth®?
I find that yoga is a wonderful compliment to the calmbirth course but nothing can replace that incredible weekend of preparation. It truly is the missing link in the way that we are preparing as a culture. Birth takes preparation, much the way preparing for a marathon would take. Not to mention that partners benefit so much from doing this course. I felt so much more confident going into labour knowing that my husband knew the importance of me feeling calm, safe and protected, knowing that he understood the physiology behind the way my body worked and what it needed to birth our son with ease. I bring a lot of these teachings naturally into my prenatal yoga classes which is of massive benefit to mothers.
Did yoga (and calmbirth) help you with your pregnancy and the birth of your son?
Absolutely! I would have had a very different experience had I not prepared with calmbirth, yoga and had a doula. All things contributed to an amazing birth. I felt confident and excited leading up to the experience and had the capacity to trust my body, I knew that it was capable of doing all it needed and was so supported with an incredible team of people who knew what to do, what to say, and how to be. I’m so grateful for listening to my intuition when it clearly spoke to me and said, ‘you need to prepare!’.
Why is yoga so beneficial during the preconception and prenatal period?
Prenatal yoga is not just about doing certain postures and knowing the ones that women can and can’t do, it’s about creating a space for women to feel nourished, safe, empowered and loved. It’s about knowing what to say and how, intuiting what will support this group of women today. A prenatal teacher must know about birth and how a woman’s body works, what hormones, what sensations, what fears and doubts may be coming up and how to offer support and guidance.
Prenatal yoga provides a space for woman to become more comfortable with their bodies, to help prepare for birth, practice their breathing and positions that they may use in labour, developing their strength and capacity for intensity. It enables then to open and surrender to the profound changes that are occurring on so many levels, and encourages then to listen to their inner guidance, their intuition. As I say so often in my classes: “We are here to fine tune your ability to relax, now, during birth and when you have that little one in your arms.” This is on the top of the ‘benefits’ list – our capacity to relax.
It is so important during preconception and pregnancy, to focus on filling up our own cups and pay special attention to our emotional wellbeing. Everything functions with much more ease when we are calm and relaxed, not to mention these little ones are in the current of everything their mothers experience. What a gift to our babes and our planet, to practice yoga and become more peaceful mothers!
Thanks so much Lauren! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions AND appreciate what a wonderful prenatal yoga teacher you are!