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Light on Parenting Conference, Beijing Dec 2017 - Review

Being invited to the Birthlight Light on Parenting Conference in China last December was the best ending to 2017 I could have wished for.

While walking round the Airports I was struck by the journeys people embark on, often wondering what flights and paths people were taking, and where their final destinations would be.

I have been involved with Birthlight since 2009, when I began my own personal journey. I was drawn to Birthlight initially through a love of movement in water, and later to Yoga on land. It was fantastic to see at the Conference that this connection between land and water was continued and embraced by the participants and it was an honour to be part of this and to see the enthusiasm of the Chinese delegates with regards to the aquatic and land based aspects that were part of the conference. It was wonderful to hear how the speakers from China had used their training, along with their own personal knowledge, to bring the Birthlight experience to their own work.

Birthlight is about supporting the family network from Conception through to the early years, and will continue through its connections with land and water into all stages of adult life. It has its foundation in yoga as well as the practical teachings from many cultures around the world. It is always looking to expand the knowledge it has by looking at the latest research and experiences from practitioners from all around the globe so that teaching does not stagnate using outdated methods.

This was illustrated by the speakers at the Conference. From Taiwan, we learned from Rutger Tamminga about how he uses Yoga to help special needs children connect with the world. From Mexico, Beatriz Esesarte spoke about the aquasomatic education used at her wonderful pool which supports the local community and which teaches not just a confidence and independence in the water, but transposes to land as well. From Sweden we were told about Oxytocin and its effects on the relationship between babies and parents by Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg and, and from London we learnt from Emily Hills about the important work done in the hospital neonatal ward and the developmental stages of new-borns.

What China Conference showed me is that Birthlight is about more than just being a teacher or a Tutor. It is about being part of a wider community, supporting the Birthlight family and drawing from the knowledge and experiences of those within it to enhance what we do. Birthlight is not a franchise, the knowledge is not owned but shared, and is given with an open heart. This is down to the generosity of its Founder Francoise Freedman, and the support from Sally Lomas Director of Training.

Just like water sustains the human body, this goodwill permeates into the Community on a local and worldwide basis. China has embraced Birthlight and I found the same open hearted approach in how we were welcomed by the Chinese delegates, and by all of the hard work put into organising this Conference from Sunny and the support of Birthlight Tutor Judy and Grace. I also have to say a big thanks to David who dropped everything he was doing to show us the sights of China on our arrival in Beijing!

It has been a pleasure to share and explore this knowledge and enthusiasm at the Conference and as I step off the plane at the end of this journey, I am looking forward to having many more experiences and journeys in 2018!

Wishing you all Spirals of Joy,

Kathryn Offer
Birthlight Aqua Yoga Tutor

As speakers we were all given such a warm welcome to both China and the Light on Parenting Conference.  The delegates came from all over China, some already practising Birthlight teachers, others to discover the Birthlight method.

The speakers brought a cultural reservoir of knowledge and practices to a country eager to embrace the gentle practices the Birthlight method supports.  Over 3 days with the delegates were offered the opportunity to hear speakers from a range of professional backgrounds deliver informative and practical presentations that covered a broad range of topics not only from within the aquatic environment but also on the wider community and wellbeing of children. Pool sessions were very well attended and gave the delegates opportunities to both observe and partake of the sessions if they so wished.  The tutors offered an extensive array of practices to the participants including baby swimming practices, aqua yoga and aqua therapy.  It was a golden window that allowed for the free-floating exchange of information between the Chinese delegates and ourselves as speakers and guests.

On a personal level, this was a fantastic opportunity to help spread the Birthlight method, which is eagerly being sought out in China. Furthermore, I also learnt much from the talented speakers covering topics such as oxytocin and the Brazelton method.  I left China with a warm heart and many new friends.

Julie Kamara
Birthlight Baby Swimming Tutor-in-training