lisa August 15th, 2007
A word from the author.
I started taking Lisa Askem’s pregnancy yoga classes when I stopped work at 30 weeks and was big with twins. They were a wonderful experience. They usually started (and stopped regularly) with a big chat where someone would start pouring their hearts out over some worry or bad night that they’d had the night before. Then others would start joining in offering a suggestion on how that person might sleep better propped up or on her pillows, or with a pillow between her legs, and other female foibles or fears would come out. I remember one woman saying “Don’t go into hospital without some cleaning wipes to wipe down everywhere before you lean on it” – that’s the level of detail we went into! Then we would do some simple poses and a long, long relaxation, and all come out of the session chattier and lighter then when we had gone in. For all this Lisa would preside over the session, never haranguing the group to get on their knees and perfect the pose, but allowing the energy of the session to go in the direction it wanted. Sometimes lots of yoga would be done, sometimes just a little.
As a result of that experience, the importance of yoga in the preparation for birth was a vital chapter in the book ‘Stand and Deliver!’ that I wrote later after the twins were born. As well as connecting women back into their bodies (and their babies) in a language that doesn’t exist in NHS examination rooms, yoga also promoted a sense of community among pregnant women that was hard to find – even in the NCT classes. It prompted me to explore further and go and research the Active Birth Centre in North London and talk to women there about how yoga had helped them to achieve the birth they wanted. I had a long, hushed conversation with a woman who had a breech birth at home, with two ambulances and a host of medical staff waiting worriedly outside her bedroom door as she asked all of them “To stay outside and don’t touch me!” I was struck by the sense of confidence this woman had had in her own body to go right against all medical advice, against all the wishes of those around her, because of a greater sense of intuition about what she and her baby could achieve. The midwife was allowed in finally to catch the baby (without touching the labouring mother) and the baby was being shown off to all the jaw-dropped women sitting around on bean bags at the Active Birth Centre. It takes yoga to develop that core strength and confidence to know you own mind and body and to trust in yourself what you can and can’t do. So as well as the Government giving money to pregnant women for fresh, fruit and veg, why don’t they offer Yoga class vouchers to women as well? Even if they were too far gone to perform a decent ‘Cat’ posture, at least they’d remember the Baby Wipes to take into hospital.
I wish all the pregnant women visiting this website a brilliant birth.