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Birthlight Perinatal Training in Germany

The city of Hamburg is home to Germany's largest sea port on the river Elbe, also known as Germany's “Gateway to the World.” The port is a booming commercial and tourist attraction for the city. The Elbe Philharmonic Hall, inaugurated early this year on a peninsula of the Elbe overlooking the massive harbor, is a stunning architectural representation of the city's industrial nautical heritage and its modern cultural aspirations. The top part of the building, constructed of waved glass panels, resembles a hoisted sail in the wind and sits on top of an old warehouse building, resembling a large ship. This mix of old and new anchors the city in its traditions, but with a clear view forward to the future. There was an intense energy and a vibratory liveliness to the place which fascinated me. Our 4-day Perinatal training took place in a quiet studio in the area of St. Pauli. It had been 10 years since the last Birthlight Perinatal training took place in Hamburg. The lovely group of 8 ladies who joined the training made me feel immediately welcome, and there was a heartfelt bonding in the group that happened in these 4 days that was so magical to witness. I believe that the Birthlight approach with its focus on acknowledgement and acceptance of the here and now, promoting ease and freedom of movement, and facilitating community touched each one of us in the group profoundly, and allowed us to connect in an intimate way in a short amount of time.

Unlike other Perinatal trainings where at least a few of the women are pregnant themselves, almost half of this group are mothering young children, with some still recovering postnatally. The recentness of being pregnant is still very real to some, which allowed them to value the Birthlight practices and techniques even more. A couple of the ladies are Birthlight Baby Yoga teachers, and really cherish the Birthlight approach. One of the ladies is a midwife who has been attending women during birth for over 20 years. It was wonderful to have her really resonate with what we teach, as well as offer her expertise while being able to take new inputs and inspiration into her own toolkit.

Since the training took place in October 2017, the group has continued sharing experiences and supporting one another locally and on social media. A couple of them organized to observe a prenatal classes together in Hamburg. Others began teaching and organizing their group classes for the case studies immediately following the training. A couple of weeks after our meeting, we had the joy to hear that one of the pregnant ladies who volunteered to join our free class has just given birth to her baby. It is wonderful to feel the group's cohesiveness and their momentum to share the Birthlight philosophy. Similar to the city of Hamburg, Birthlight is like a gateway... leading women and their families to find fulfillment and joy in the whole of their experience as it is in the present moment. The trainees' enthusiasm and motivation has been such a delight for me as their tutor and I know that they will do a great service of spreading the Birthlight spirals of joy in their own communities.

Gisela Collazo
Birthlight Perinatal Yoga Tutor

“Birthlight trainings are a little bit like festivals where you can go with your whole family. The loving, welcoming spirit and all the laughter create a break from daily routines. They give you such a boost of positive energy.” I was a little surprised - here I thought, the students came to learn something. Well, of course they do. But what I realised is, that - just as in Birthlight yoga classes – “only” having great content is not what makes people come back. It is not the knowing – the feeling is what sticks most. Over the last years, I have organised several Baby Yoga, Toddler Yoga and Perinatal Yoga teacher trainings in Germany. I have hosted five Birthlight tutors. They are all unique and different from each others in many ways, but they have one thing in common: the ability to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere, where everyone can relax and feel accepted.

On March 17 & 18, 2018, a group of lovely ladies – Birthlight Perinatal Yoga Teachers-in - Training – came together again for Part 2 of the training. After six months of teaching, observing each others' classes, giving and receiving feedback, learning and growing, they met again in Hamburg with wonderful Birthlight tutor Gisela Collazo. Some of the ladies had started teaching straight away after the first part of the training, others were travelling and some were busy being pregnant or parenting their little ones, embodying course content on a more practical level. As individual as their paths were in those 6 months, they all made valuable experiences, had their struggles and learnt. It was beautiful to see how the ladies stayed in contact and supported each other during that time. Although most of them had only met for 4 days in September 2017, on that weekend in March, it felt like a group of friends meeting up after a long time. As much as there was this strong need to catch up with things and to chat, we only had two days, and a lot of content to go through. The weekend was intense. Compact, full of information, questions, answers, exchange, dance, laughter, repetition and practice, practice, practice. Some of the tea breaks even had to be omitted to fit everything in. Nevertheless, all the effort was very much worth it! Eight lovely women are now eight new Birthlight teachers, starting their journey of teaching yoga to pregnant women. They have so much to give – practice, knowledge and most importantly their warm and welcoming personalities.

Travelling back home with my two-year old son after the training, I felt how tired I was. All the excitement, the stress from before the training and all the impressions took a lot of energy. But at the same time, it was a good kind of tiredness, the type that comes with a feeling of contentment and a smile on the face. It felt a little bit like after a good workout – or after a festival. I guess I will come back!

Barbara Ekelund
Birthlight Germany Coordinator

Barbara has written several articles in German magazines on Birthlight practices:

Yoga-Mama-Wisdom // Was ist eigentlich Birthlight Yoga?  (Feburary 2018)

Was ist eigentlich Perinatalyoga?  (The Mothering Journey, January 2018)

Perinatal-Yoga: Übungen für die yogischen Schwangerschafts-Trimester   (yoga aktuell, June 2017)