photos by Sarah Stirk
The experience of being pregnant with my first child 10 years ago was a turning point for me. I’d been a yoga teacher for a few years already and had been practising yoga since my late teens as I’d found it a very effective way of treating the aches and pains that go with being a musician (when I’m not teaching yoga, I’m playing the violin for a living). I had a very energetic yoga practice rooted in the Astanga Vinyasa and Iyengar traditions. But something about being pregnant felt so very different, both physically and mentally, that I realised things needed to change.
I slowed down my practice and learnt to meditate, and, luckily for me, also discovered the yoga of Vanda Scaravelli. Hers was a very different approach to yoga, working with gravity, releasing tension and rediscovering the natural ease of movement that we’re all born with. I found it to be great preparation for labour, and my first baby’s birth – intense, exhausting, immensely challenging and hugely empowering – left me wanting to shout from the rooftops about what amazing companions yoga and birth can be. It turns out there was an organisation that already knew exactly that – YogaBirth – so I undertook a further two year teacher training course with them. I've since had two more babies, both home waterbirths and experiences I will treasure forever. I love working with pregnant women, witnessing the changes that take place as they blossom in confidence week by week. Right now is a very exciting time to be involved with birth, as birthing women are beginning to stand up, both literally and figuratively, and empower themselves to have the best birth they can.