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Birthlight spirit in the house of angels

Course organiser Stéphanie Launay first met Francoise in Italy where Birthlight perinatal yoga and baby yoga were offered as part of a Rainbow Kids training retreat. She continued her Birthlight journey and has been offering classes in her own lovely studio, La Maison Des Anges, in France. The success of the centre is a testament to her teaching abilities and devotion to Birthlight practices. Now Stéphanie has brought the first Birthlight courses to France, here’s to many more….

Birthlight tutor's Belinda Staplehurst and Marion O'Connor share their thoughts on the first perinatal yoga and baby yoga courses in France.

I am honoured to have run the first Birthlight course in France – it was a perinatal course and took place in Rennes, Brittany at the end of January. It was closely followed by a baby yoga course run by Marion O’Connor.

I grew up in France and it was a joy to be received so warmly by the French students – a mixture of yoga teachers and midwives, mainly from Brittany but a couple travelling from Paris and even Nice.

Stephanie Launay our host was wonderful and none of this could have happened without her enthusiasm and dedication. The teaching was in her beautiful studio – a peaceful space in the centre of the old town. Her attention to detail was second to none so we all felt welcome and comfortable, myself included.

It was a testimony to Birthlight to witness again the simplicity and yet the power of the practices we offer, and how universally they can be received. One of the women commented on day two how her habitual back ache had all but disappeared overnight!

The French students were very attentive and receptive, and soon ‘got’ the Birthlight approach. The particular challenges in France that face those working with women in the perinatal field is the predominance of epidural use in labour. The midwives were particularly interested to explore how the Birthlight approach and practices could be adapted to this situation. They left with plenty of ideas!

I am hopeful too that the Birthlight pregnancy yoga teachers in France will be able to impart to their students the body awareness and confidence that birth is a natural journey and that they can carry and birth their babies, as well as recover well and fully afterwards by paying attention to their own well being. This is particularly challenging for women in an environment where epidurals are offered as standard as is common in quite a few countries – so Birthlight teachings are even more needed in this type of setting.

More Birthlight courses are planned in France at La Maison Des Anges so do join us! current dates are:

Perinatal Yoga Part 2  -  27-28 June 2015
Perinatal Yoga Part 1  -  20-23 October 2015
Perinatal Yoga Part 2  -  24-25 October 2015
Perinatal Yoga Part 1  -  21-24 January 2016

Belinda Staplehurst

A Birthlight team effort generated an enjoyably successful Baby Yoga training this February in the historic town of Rennes in north-western France,

After the unenviable groundwork preparation by the Birthlight office, tutor Belinda paved the way for a smooth training journey as she relayed invaluable knowledge following her delivery of Birthlight Perinatal training in Rennes: she generously gave me the lowdown, equivalent to a veritable Birthlight Tutors’ Trip Advisor guide, from local swimming pool times to tips for seamless French rail travel. This relevant information helped make my stay in this beautiful town in Brittany a pleasure.

It is entirely Stéphanie Launay's aspiration that we have to thank for introducing Birthlight training to Rennes. Stephanie told me that 9 months was the gestation period for creating her vision, then a further 9 months making concrete and developing the dream yoga centre, La Maison Des Anges, 'The House of Angels', in readiness for the Birthlight trainings. Situated in a peaceful square, the glass frontage opens to a wall of smiling babies – photo cards from the mothers appreciative of Stephanie’s nurturing care throughout the pregnancy yoga sessions up to the birth. The welcoming spacious lobby leads to the safe airy cave of a fully equipped yoga space; no wonder the women had an unstoppable urge to return. "I couldn’t wait to bring baby back to this place where we’d spent such precious time together before her birth" commented one mother.

This was the positively loving atmosphere which housed the 3-day Birthlight Baby Yoga training. Essential to the team were the French trainees. Helen’s efficiency brought the group together via a private Facebook page prior to them even meeting. Arriving from a broad range of backgrounds, from a sage midwife, through a dancing-with-baby teacher, to an ex-sailor, woven through the group was a common link of generosity, compassion and humour and from foundations of honesty and trust rose the building blocks for a network of support and bonding.

By common agreement the most rewardingly popular experience was the interaction with visiting babies and families. Stephanie’s mothers eager to revisit her and the centre, flocked to the Baby Yoga taster sessions, accompanied by a host of proud fathers supportively pushing prams, changing nappies and gazing proudly at their offspring – an occupation which rewarded them with an endorphin release illustrated by their wide grins.

The opportunity to enjoy forging bonds at La Maison Des Anges was made pleasurably easy thanks to Stephanie’s diligent labour of love, warm hosting skills, and constant attention to everyone’s needs. This bound together with the selfless spirit of team Birthlight produced a superb training experience, just one of many to come.

Marion O'Connor

Perrine Alliod, birthlight teacher in France, shares some feedback on the course 'Birthlight in France a real ray of sunshine'.