Yoga, body breath and spirit with your midwives

Emily and I both practice yoga. It is part of our midwifery selves. Because we share that, we decided to interview each other about yoga and midwifery and what it means to each of us as midwives. I interviewed Emily first:

Dinah: When did you start practicing yoga?

Emily: During my fourth pregnancy, 10 years ago. I saw a huge difference right away in the way I felt physically and psychologically with my stress levels. When I started yoga, I was feeling heavy. I started yoga. There was an instantaneous difference. Before I began I had back pain. After I started, it was gone. There wasn't any more. Learning to breathe helped me with stress. It gave me more energy. It was just a cleanse.

Dinah: What was the story of your yoga practice after that?

Emily: We moved to a small town. There was a yoga teacher there but she left. That's when I started self study. I read lots of books. I wanted to bring the benefit to others. I started to train and then to teach yoga. Later, when I got into midwifery, there was no time to teach yoga but I continued to practice at home and sometimes went to classes.

Dinah: How do you fit yoga into your life now?

Emily: Being able to do it at home and having taught it, I can do it any time. The kids like to be part of it so we do it together.

Dinah: For you, how do midwifery and yoga go together?

Emily: I was a midwife before I had knowledge of midwifery. Yoga not only makes me flexible and gives me strength, it makes me very aware of my body. The breathing helps with relaxation and reduces stress.

Then Emily and I had a conversation about  the spiritual aspects of yoga. Birth is a spiritiual as well as a physical event. However this aspect of yoga can be a stumbling block for some. Emily and I agreed that spirituality is important to both of us. Emily is Christian and I am Jewish. Yoga has roots in Eastern religion. We both understand that all three religious traditions are very different. However, spiritual connections can be shared, and yoga can be a bridge between them.

Then Emily interviewed me.

Emily: How did yoga start for you?

Dinah: I started yoga during my first pregnancy 31 years ago. I went to yoga class and couldn't believe how incredible it made me feel. It did impact my pregnancy and birth, but more than that, it revolutionized my life.

Emily: Describe your yoga journey.

Dinah: I moved to the U.S. 27 years ago and there was no yoga to be found in North Texas. Sadly, it faded from my life. Then, while I was in midwifery school I found a yoga teacher at last and when I opened the birth center, the first thing I did was bring her in to teach prenatal yoga at Lovers Lane Birth Center. It was the only prenatal yoga class around!

Emily: What makes your yoga important for your midwifery practice?

Dinah: I so agree with you that body awareness and breath awareness are so much part of natural birth. As for benefits to myself as a midwife, I have taken in the script of yoga with words that assist me to talk and support women in labor. I breathe with them as I would in yoga practice, and support them to accept, surrender and be present with their bodies. I believe I would not be the same the same mother, the same midwife, or even the same woman without yoga.