Welcome to our second installment of Thrive Birth Talk. This week we are joined by one of our yoga instructors, Lisa Flato, to talk about the merging of yoga, art and food in her Mindful Mama workshop. If you’d like to hear more about one of our workshops, or have a specific question for one of our instructors, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Birthing!~ Kelly Gray, Director of the Wisdom and Movement Center
Kelly: Tell us about the essence of your Mindful Mama workshop.
Lisa: I created the Mindful Mama workshop as a way for pregnant mamas to have a place to gather and share communally in the experience of being pregnant with the myriad of changes we all go through. I firmly believe the practice of yoga while preparing for labor, delivery and motherhood is a powerful way to connect deeply with your baby and yourself. It’s a time to tap into and cultivate your intuitive power, as well as the benefits of physically preparing for the work ahead. We also take the time to create a piece of art, inspired by birth and motherhood. I had this vision that the mamas may want to create a sacred space in preparation, and the art created during the workshop would be a part of this space, in their home or birthing place.
At the end of the workshop we share in a meal that I have prepared. I’ve always enjoyed cooking for people, and I truly love to nurture the mamas in this way.
Kelly: Many of our readers know the benefits of yoga and meditation for the pregnant mind and body, but can you tell us more about the importance of art and sharing food?
Lisa: In our busy hectic world, I feel one of the things lacking for some of us is an expression of our creative selves. The feelings and desires to make, dance, sing, and create are ever present, but the actual act of taking time out for it can be challenging. I want the mamas to have a piece of themselves that they can take home. An expression of how they are feeling. To experience joy, laughter and deep connection in creating art from their hearts. Sometimes the project is to draw, collage, sculpt and sometimes it’s more of nurturing themselves with a homemade aromatherapy rice soak. It’s always a piece they’ve taken the time to sit and think about, to craft with their hands, and simply to sit with.
And what better way to nurture someone then to feed them? Mamas are spending so much time and energy, literally, growing, and taking care of these precious beings, not to mention other people in their homes, and I want them to feel nourished and taken care of, plane and simple.
Kelly: Who should take this workshop?
Lisa: This workshop is appropriate for any expecting mama. The standard for a yoga practice is to be very gentle and slow for the first 12 weeks while pregnant, however I feel that if you have a strong practice, and/or a strong desire for time with yourself and community, then you are most welcome. We always modify accordingly. Truly any skill level is appropriate, beginners to advanced. The poses have many modifications, but in general I teach a gentle nurturing style of Hatha Yoga that will definitely help the mama to build strength, from the physical level to the emotional and beyond.
Kelly: What kind of feedback do you get from participants after class?
Lisa: Women who have taken part of the workshops really enjoy the feeling of community and gathering in a group to practice and share. For those who have come throughout their pregnancies, they’ve enjoyed the different pieces of art they’ve collected and one mama even sent me a picture of a vision board we did that she framed and placed in the new baby’s room. They appreciate being fed a meal that is simply presented and that they didn’t spend any energy thinking about. Especially for mama’s with other children at home, this feels like a luxury!
Kelly: This workshop creates a special ritual for the pregnant woman that allows her to connect with herself, her baby and her community. What are your thoughts on ritual and initiation around birth in our culture?
Lisa: All of us need time to slow down, time to reflect, time to simply be. The transformational journey that a women must go through in order to prepare for the role of MOTHER, is one paved with lots of information, concerns and opinions. I like to offer a time for creating sacred space, cultivating intuition, designing rituals to bring into the laboring zone, and supportive ways in which we can lift each other up as women to build strong communities built of trust, faith and sisterhood. Not only in our own bodies and selves, but also in each other.