A dear student of mine, Sara Meadows Shawe, was recently the featured student at Circle Yoga. She kindly permitted me to republish what she wrote about her experience at the studio:
Prenatal Yoga. I began prenatal yoga in January of this year. Each Thursday night I would join other pregnant gals in Studio 1 with our teacher Elizabeth Hubley, a new mother herself. I expected a typical yoga class with its silence and concentrated focus on maintaining postures, but I quickly realized this was a different beast.
Class began with each of us sharing our name, how far along we were in our pregnancy, the sex of our child, if we knew it, and some “high” or “low” from the past week. The remainder of the class was a chatty blend of bump-friendly yoga poses and open discussion of pregnancy pains and delivery and postpartum related topics. As the same group of women showed up week after week, a community sprouted among us and our babies-to-be as we grew bigger together.
Mamas Circle. In late April, after a couple of our yogis had peeled off to have their babies, it became obvious that this supportive community could not be allowed to end when we graduated from prenatal yoga and had our babies! So, with some encouragement, our yoga instructor Elizabeth agreed to facilitate an informal weekly support group for new mothers. And thus, Mamas Circle was born.
If you do daytime yoga at the studio, you might have heard the Mamas Circle making a mighty noise, laughing and crying as we go around the circle continuing the same tradition that began in Elizabeth’s prenatal yoga class: “Tell us your name. Your baby’s name and age. Highs and lows from the past week. And any burning questions….”
No topic is sacred within the confines of Mamas Circle. This is a circle of intimacy, support, humor and honesty. And I have relied on these other new mothers to help me see things in the right light, to find answers to things like an incessant diaper rash, and to keep moving forward through the haze of the first few months, which I seem to have done, as I just last week returned to my job.
Postnatal Yoga. For those of us who are staying at home with our babies full-time, working part-time, or just haven’t gone back to work yet, we have entered the next phase of our Circle Yoga-centered journey, Postnatal Yoga. After the first two classes, the jury is out on how much yoga I’ll actually get to do with my daughter Amelia in tow. But even when our younger partners are not cooperating, Elizabeth (also one of the Postnatal Yoga instructors) is always holding a baby to give us each a few minutes to move and stretch on our mats. Even when I don’t get much of a yoga practice, I’m happy just to be in the same room for an hour with these women, their babies and our fellow mom and guide, Elizabeth.