By: Krista Blakelock – Inspired Yoga Teacher | Birthing Expert | Kitchener Doula, Avid Traveler
After participating in my first yoga class in 2008, I was immediately hooked. I loved the focus required, the quiet space that I could go to within myself and also the challenge. I admit I was not the “zen hippie” that people perceived when I spoke about my new found love of yoga. When I was in a class I truly felt that I should push further, hold the pose longer, fold deeper and do the most extreme variation of the options demonstrated; but within, my mind was never sincerely connecting to my body. My practice has changed a lot over the years and so too has the connection I feel between mind and body.
In 2012, working as a doula enabled me to practice yoga in a very different way. Mom’s who were active prior to their pregnancy were asking me for options so that they could keep their body moving without too much intensity. Other women simply wanted a way to relax and lengthen out their backs and chests, and stretch their hips. Showing clients various poses took me for a loop. When I taught, I was incredibly attentive to alignment, depth and length of breath, their changes from week to week and how steady they could be in a pose. Moms were so happy to do shallow lunges and feel blood and oxygen pulsing through them and to baby. I was in awe of how content and proud they could feel even though in my personal practice, they technically were not in Virabhadrasana, Warrior 1 pose.
I continued with my own intense practice, but would teach clients slow, flowing sequences. My observations of how great they felt when they did supported hip rotations, neck and shoulder rolls, and a modified Surya Namaskar was reinforced week after week and slowly I began giving myself the same allowances to slow down. The real difficulty for me was to be still in a pose and convince my mind that it was totally okay. Allowing my body and mind to come into alignment and really soak up the benefits of a pose has had incredible benefits and I have to believe enables me to teach more honestly.
I regularly return to the quote by Richard Bach, “You teach what you most need to learn,” to remind myself how important it is to marvel at my breath, what my body does for me each day and how it feels to really connect with the sensations and changes within. Today, I am thankful for each mama who has brought life into the world, because through my interactions with them I have been able to come to life within my own mind and body in a very new and vibrant way.