Posts tagged active birth
Connecting with your unborn child
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Connecting with your unborn child
by Louise Palmer-Masterton

In 2006 I had the very good fortune to spend some one-one time with Frederick Leboyer, author of the seminal text ‘Birth Without Violence’ his 1974 book that changed the face of obstetric practice.

Monsieur Leboyer, who sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 98, was a former obstetrician who ultimately eschewed modern obstetric practice and turned to writing the story of birth from the child’s perspective. In Birth Without Violence, for the first time in history, he painted the infant's view of birth - coming from the quiet, calm womb into bright lights, noise, stress and separation (when immediately after birth the child would be taken from its mother to be prodded and ‘tested’).

Before Leboyer childbirth had always been about the mother, the procedures, the hospitals - everything but the infant, and whilst his book was initially opposed by his fellow obstetricians, midwives and mothers themselves did take notice, and slowly but surely things began to change. It is now commonplace that delivery rooms are quiet, low lit places, infants are now allowed to rest with their mothers immediately after birth. These and many more changes can be directly attributed to Leboyer’s book.

Back to my meeting Leboyer. It was even more fortunate for me that at the time of our meeting I was myself 5 months pregnant, and because of this he rather took me under his wing.

He was in his late eighties when we met, and a rather wonderful, slightly stroppy french man, with a very big twinkle in his eye.

He taught me something which went on to become the basis of what we teach at CAMYOGA in pregnancy yoga, pregnancy trainings, and our active birth workshops.

He said..

“Every day, from when you are 6 months pregnant, take 15 mins out of your day. Find a quiet place to sit and meditate. Once you are settled and focussed, take your attention to your baby. Really bring all of your focus to your baby.

Then let your baby know that you are there, and that you are listening.

Then you simply spend some time ‘listening’ to your baby.”

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He told me that if I did this every day from 6 months my baby would know me, and be connected to me, and feel safe in being born. He told me she would not cry when she was born. And guess what? She did not, and she has scarcely cried since. She was the most chilled, relaxed baby who has grown into a remarkable child. 


This article was originally written for the September 2017 issue of OM Yoga Magazine

Three Questions: Rachael Moore

5738_756088144418888_1458938958_nThree Questions: Rachael Moore

What yoga teacher has had the most influence on you?

RACHAEL: I have been lucky enough to have met and been taught by some really amazing teachers over the last 16 years . Each one in their own way has had an impact not only in my own evolving practice but the way I develop as a teacher myself. I really do believe you are drawn to particular teachers/styles of yoga at certain times in your life that will enrich and evolve your practice as well as yourself as an individual. My very first yoga teacher was Camyoga's Iyengar teacher Karen Stamper. Karen had a huge impact on me as she was responsible for igniting this little flame in me that has lead me to where I am today. My first pregnancy teacher Francoise Freedman was also hugely influential in demonstrating to me just how powerful and transformative the practice of yoga could truly be. More recently, vinyasa flow teacher Claire Missingham and Beverley Nolan have continued to inspire me with their knowledge and passion for this beautiful, ever constant but evolving practice.

Which is your least favourite yoga pose?

RACHAEL: Hmmm, tricky! I think that actually depends on whats going on for me at the time and as cliche as it sounds, the ones you don't particularly enjoy are usually the ones that can offer you the most ! Core strengthening poses are always challenging for me, as are arm balances for the simple reason that they are hard work and extremely humbling!! However, the flip side of that is that there is always somewhere to be aiming for, to keep you interested and switched on to the sensations in your body as they arise. It is a constant voyage of discovery so whats not to like!

What is the best way to build up strength for chaturanga? I find lowering down slowly really difficult as my arms are quite weak.?

RACHAEL: Chaturanga is a really strong demanding pose and although visited frequently in a flow class is often not 'taught' in a step by step way. To avoid injury, Chaturanga demands huge core and upper body strength as well as careful attention to alignment. Whilst building up towards the full pose, there are a few ways of building the upper body strength required. One way is to practice against the wall. Stand a few feet away, arms level with the chest. Slowly lower toward the wall, bending the elbows so the forearms are at a right angle and the forehead comes to the wall. Hold for a breath (or two!) and then slowly press back. Gradually build up the number of times you can comfortably repeat this. Other ways to build the necessary strength is to come to plank and before lowering, lower the knees to the ground before lowering your body or come to the knees, chest and chin variation both of which develop your strength and awareness of alignment. Dolphin (forearm dog) and forearm plank are also great for building core and upper body strength. In terms of your alignment, always ensure your wrists are in line with your shoulders and never 'behind' as this can cause huge stress in the wrist joint.

Rachael Moore teaches Yoga Flow, Pregnancy Yoga, and Active Birth at Camyoga. Click here to view her weekly classes and here for details of her next Active Birth Workshop.