Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A Labour of Love...

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GUEST POST BY DENBY SHEATHER

Pregnancy is a journey all on its’ own. 

Although it isn’t season-specific, you will experience flavors of each element from conception to birthing that will give you a deepening sense of connection to not only nature, but to yourself and your baby. 

The contractive Autumnal essence as you surrender to your pregnant body and let go of thoughts and feelings that no longer serve you; the juiciness of your growing body that reflects the earth element and deep nourishment of your baby; the depth of water and winter energy that invites us inside our own psyche to discover how all life is inter connected and flowing continuously; the fiery surges and flare ups from changing hormones and shifting emotions, and the eventually complete expansion, of spring energy that symbolizes rebirth, new growth and personal transformation.  

Pregnancy is one journey you will have to make on your own, regardless of how much support, self help books, birth plans or drugs you have lined up. It’s about finding and owning your power, which incidentally is your ‘birth-right’ as a woman.  

Pregnancy is all about you and how you connect with your baby from the very beginning to the very end. 

Millions of women experience this rite of passage of course but when you yourself are swelling in the belly and ankles, it feels like you are the first and only woman faced with the challenges and realities of growing a baby and then getting them out of your body!

From the moment we conceive our bodies feel and move differently. We may not be able to describe it exactly, but we immediately sense that we are not ‘alone’, that something has shifted deep within. It’s like our intuition suddenly switches on and amps up and despite a myriad of outer distractions and busy lifestyles calling us, we feel an urge to slow down and acknowledge the possibility that we may be pregnant. 

It is a calling that too often many women miss however. Or we feel but then ignore it because fear gets the upper hand. We get into our heads and allow mind to dominate which in fact creates the opposite of what we truly want to manifest deep in our heart and soul – a memorable, empowering and hopefully natural, birthing experience. One that takes you beyond yourself and into the arms of the Divine Feminine.  We go into story – mostly other peoples’ stories of trauma – and take on stuff that doesn’t support us, clouding our own script and taking us further away from trust and instinct. 

Fear takes our power away from us. It gives it to our Doctors and partners instead. But if we can learn to transform our fears and let go of all preconceived ideas and beliefs around birth, then we open the doorway to bliss. It starts with finding out about your own birth, how you entered the world and identifying any holding patterns in your heart that may block your ability to connect with all the love and trust and power within you. Talk to your mum, you may find that you not only get some valuable insights about your own behavior and attitude around birth but it can help heal any trauma that she may have been holding onto around her own experience. And as you are preparing to birth yourself from Woman to Mother, that’s a beautiful thing to share. 

Energetically, pregnancy and birth is an ancient dance between the elements of contraction and expansion.

Even though our pregnant bodies and emotions are expanding and swelling in more ways than one, this is the ideal time to contract – to contact our internal world, to contract and clear old trauma, buried relationship scars and beliefs about our sexual and feminine selves. If we do this work then we enter the birth space with clear intention and the resolve to release and fully expand.  Birth is the culmination of all our thoughts, feelings and preparation, on all levels, condensed into several hours of mind, body and spirit expansion.  It’s when you fully let go, expanding into your ripe sensual body and connecting with the energy that is your divine birthing right! 

Birth is one of natures’ ways of calling us back to Centre, of stimulating our awareness via the most obvious instruments that we have: our bodies and our hearts. It also calls us back through food, via our belly centre, which is why you need to nourish yourself as your tummy blooms and surrender to the wonder of your body and what it does, without your conscious participation, to grow a human being. It’s mind-blowing really. 

It is a calling that too often many women miss, not just because it can be very subtle, but because we ignore it and let fear get the upper hand. We get into our heads and allow mind to dominate which in fact creates the opposite of what we truly want to manifest deep in our heart and soul – a memorable, empowering and hopefully natural, birthing experience. One that takes you beyond yourself and into the arms of the Divine Feminine. 

Fear takes our power away from us. It gives it to our Doctors and partners instead. But if we can learn to transform our fears and let go of all preconceived ideas and beliefs around birth, then we open the doorway to blissful birth. It starts with finding out about your own birth, how you entered the world and identifying any holding patterns in your heart that may block your ability to connect with all the love and trust and power within yourself. 

There are many toolkits of support, classes and therapies available to help you navigate your pregnancy and birth journey, but none so powerful I believe, as yoga. Yoga is our connective thread to the Divine, like a life line, our private umbilicus, and regular practice throughout your pregnancy will nourish your body as it changes, help alleviate common discomforts as they surface and deepen your connection to your breath, your baby and your belief that you are capable of birthing your baby from a space of power and courage. 

Contrary to popular medical opinion, you actually birth your baby from your heart, not your vagina or your belly. If you anchor yourself in your heart you will be able to deal with whatever manifests during your labor. Nobody can predict for certain what will happen once your waters break - that is up to the goddess and the karmic story your baby has chosen - but you can create a *calm birth, one free of pain and fear (yes! It can and has been done), by staying in your heart space and mastering your mind. 

The moment you go into your head, you hand over your power, the pain can intensify and the need for drugs will increase. And once you’re out of your body, you lose touch: you disconnect consciously from your baby who needs you to be strong and present and you deprive yourself from experiencing the indescribable bliss that is birth, as nature intended. If you’re in your heart, your fears will dissolve, your cervix will dilate and your baby will feel safe enough to release from your body. And in the instance where caesarean is necessary, being in your heart will never serve you more profoundly, keeping you emotionally strong and brave and connected to your baby. Birth is not a competition between vaginal and c-section - I view them both as natural, valid processes - and as long as you are in your breath and in trust, you can minimize or better process, any feelings of failure or disappointment if the latter eventuates. That will support how you and your baby bond as well as help you feel nourished and healed on all levels.

Breathe deeply and your labor will be full of love and light.  

Birth blessings,
Denby 

About Denby: When Denby discovered yoga in 2000, she felt the universe had finally revealed her true purpose in this lifetime. She felt blessed and inspired and left behind a successful career in the Film and Television industry to be in service to others as a yogi and teacher.


She started her yoga journey by completing an intensive 2 year Ki Yoga Diploma teacher training course in 2002 with Master teachers Jack Marshall and Richard Paton and simultaneously began studying a variety of natural therapies at Nature Care College, including Energetic and Spiritual Healing, Kinergetics, Bowen Therapy and Massage. Since then she has completed Pre natal and Mother and Baby Yoga training with Suzanne Swann, (inspired by the teachings of Active Birth pioneer Janet Balaskas); the Hatha/Purna Yoga Diploma with John Ogilvie at Byron Bay Yoga; advanced workshops with Donna Farhi, Tara Judelle, Kathryn Budrig, Lisa Masters, Simon Borg-Olivier and Duncan Peak and birthed a beautiful son, Max, who is her greatest teacher and friend.

She continues to hone her skills as a therapist specialising in pre and post natal yoga; is a certified and registered Level 3/Senior teacher (Hatha and Ki) with YA, a Reiki Master and an Alumni Ambassador with lululemon athletica. Ever the perpetual student, Denby is inspired by leading yogis including Shiva Rea, Donna Farhi, John Ogilvie, Simon Borg-Olivier, Tara Judelle and Francesco Garri Garripoli and guided by the teachings of Gangaji, her husband Eli and the luminosity of healer Caterina Pellegrino-Estrich. Denby is currently studying Cranio-sacral therapy and distributes the incredible DoTERRA organic essential oils through the studio.
Denby is now one of the most sought after yoga therapists on the Northern Beaches, well known for her insightful, compassionate and natural affinity with teaching and healing.
All of Denby’s classes incorporate remedial yoga sequences and seasonal insights that build physical structure, emotional foundation & energetic integrity. The more subtle and energetic aspects of Ki and Hatha yoga are woven within these sequences designed to open the heart and encourage a deep exploration of habits, behaviours and memories. Shifting weakness into strength through this system of corrective yoga helps restore balance on all levels and helps awaken the complete Self.
With over a decade of teaching experience and exploring this relationship between the seasonal cycles, the five element theory and body/mind/spirit, Denby has founded the innovative vinyasa-style practice that she calls ‘Ki FUSION Yoga’, a unique style that reflects her own personal journey with yoga, energy and motherhood.


She encourages students to let go of the physical and mental struggle connected with trying to find the ‘perfect pose’ and instead, to find and feel the energies within each pose, with ease, attention and a sense of adventure. Their practice then follows the path of self-inquiry and self-expression, rather than just being a physical activity. Students come away from classes feeling that they have been ‘held’, opened up and safely challenged, at their own level.

“I am humbled to witness the amazing commitments my students make to themselves, each time they step onto their mats. They are all my brave yogi warriors!”
Denby’s other calling in life is writing and she is currently working on two pioneering books, “AWAKENING SHAKTI: HEALING THE WOUNDED FEMININE THROUGH YOGA, RITUAL & SEASONAL WISDOMS”, and “KI FUSION YOGA: DISCOVERING YOUR YOGANATURE”, both to be published and available as ebooks in the new year. (*Both titles/concepts subject to copyright and trademarked.)
Her popular Ki Yoga Active Birth poster, the first of its kind, is now available for sale and the 5 seasonal Ki FUSION posters and DVD’s will be released later in 2012.

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