I don’t remember when I first heard the word yoga, but I was interested in many things as a teenager, and when I got a subsidized membership to the West End YMCA in Toronto at 17, I decided to try it out. What I remember is sitting in a circle, being led by a Kundalini instructor clad all in white, with his head covered. I had tried Judo as well, but yoga was much more my speed! I appreciated that it was a practice for myself individually, without the pressure of evaluation or competition. After that first foray I attended various yoga classes on and off for another 18 years, and began to practice at home and on vacation. I even spent a weekend at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp in New York state with a friend, which was a really incredible experience.
During those same years, I completed two university degrees, including a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Midwifery) from Ryerson University, and I gave birth to two children. During my first pregnancy I practiced yoga almost every day, and felt healthy and strong, despite the challenges of being a practicing Registered Midwife at that time. I added hypnobirthing and meditation to my yoga practice, and all three helped me prepare for and have a gentle, natural home waterbirth. In my subsequent pregnancy I practiced yoga again, but found it more challenging and practiced less frequently. I had another amazing home water birth, but I felt the delivery was lengthened by a baby in a poor position going into labour, which I attributed to my lack of yoga practice after about 35 weeks of pregnancy.
When I was on maternity leave for the second time, I decided to take the plunge and attempt Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga by Sarah. It was a big decision and certainly a challenge as I had a toddler and a 5-month old baby, but with the support of my partner I was able to successfully complete the training (with quite a few lunch-time trips to breastfeed!). A year later I began to teach Childbirth Preparation workshops and Prenatal Yoga at Yoga by Sarah, continuing at Lost’n’Found. Since I didn’t return to midwifery practice it’s a delight to share some of my knowledge and experience of pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period with clients. I especially enjoy sharing things I wish I had known as a new mom! In every class I do my best to encourage clients to love themselves, connect with their babies, move intuitively, challenge themselves, respect their bodily limitations and manifest the birth of their dreams. We still do poses like warrior two and triangle, but these poses are connected to a larger purpose for mom and baby. Yoga can bring calm and energy to a stressful and tiring time of life (pregnant or otherwise), and I fell blessed I can share the practice with others. For me, any day when I can do yoga is a good day.
Written by: Daya Lye