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Birthlight Weekend 2008

Birthlight Refresher Weekend 19-20 July 2008, Institute of Child Health, Guilford Place, London.

Our annual Refresher Weekend 2008 was held as a mini-conference with talks and practical workshops at the Institute of Child Health in London. The Institute, which is linked with Great Ormond Street Hospital, is behind some of the pioneering research on infants that we integrate in the Birthlight courses. The theme of the weekend related to the understanding of movements that enhance health (for the mother and baby) in continuity from pregnancy to the third year, both on land and in water.

Summing the weekend up is best done in feedback..

“Just to say a big thank you to all involved in the organisation and sharing of wisdom and experiences that were exchanged. Special, special thanks to Francoise and her inspiring workshops. I certainly left feeling really inspired and reminded once again of the bottomless pit of knowledge stored within the pages of Blandine’s ‘Female Pelvis’. It was lovely to catch up with teachers/friends and see a good few birthlight beans growing so beautifully.”

I just want to add my own expression of gratitude for a great week-end. On sunday Ingrid did a very profound teaching on healing a woman’s caesarean scar in preparation for a new pregnancy or birth. This was part of a general presentation about vaginal childbirth after caesarian ( VBAC ). We were not only looking at the healing that can take place on on a physical level with a scar ( massage ) , but also the much deeper underlying layers of this wounding creating energy blocks and holding negative and limiting thoughts . We have often had sharings and thought on this discussion forum ,about how many women hold onto some sort of scaring from their birthexperience – even when they do not actually have a physical scar. Some women even wish that they could have a physical scar, as a visible sing of what happenend to them, so that at least it would be recognised. Only a couple of days ago did I read an article from the Stella magazine ‘First Person’ ( which is one of the supplemens from the saturday Daily Telegraph). In this article one women shares how an inresolved experiece of of her caesarian led her to cutting herself. All her sense of having failed and not being good enough turned into a terrible addiction. She did finally stop when she realised that actually she was doing a good job bringing up her child and loving him. A wound, whether physical or emotional or mental equals = seperation. And the one thing that i really brough back home with me from this week-end was the deep teaching of how to ‘ bring together again’ …..from the presentation on Attachment theory ( Bowlby ), Francoise’s alingment of the body and the very important links of various muscles, the gentle flowing yoga movements from Claire, the Fathers-to-Be creating a new connecting space for fathers and the deep committment to offer the very,very best from all the teachers present. THANK YOU

I would also like to add my deepest gratitude for what was a truly soul nurturing w/e! As Ever, I come away nourished and blown away by the plethora of wisdom exchanged between the wise women of Birthlight…

Never EVER underestimate the impact of Birthlight CPDs! Perhaps it should stand for something else: Certain Primal Development or something!
Deep soul healing occured for many of us there- and here we get to experience the magic again of sisterhood and applied yoga theory- like the ladies who come along to our classes and benefit so much from what we do- it is so easy to forget the impact of what we do, until we are in a position to experience it ourselves.

I felt so nurtured and so glad to see so many familiar faces, and meet new ones, and know that i will continue growing with this Birthlight family over time.
The case for healing birth trauma, and becoming whole again, be it the trauma of our own birth or that of previous children, is so vital for us as teachers- then we can pass on what we have integrated, rather than passing on ‘knowledge’ we can pass on wisdom- we can only teach what we have truly learned.
So much of this happened this w/e, and we came away with the tools to help those who come to us do the same.
Re baby yoga- it is so easy to get in a rut. It was wonderful to feel inspired again, by new songs and approaches to movement, particularly in dealing with older babies- WONDERFUL.

A BIG BIG THANKYOU all round to everyone……………this was true WOMAN’S MAGIC!!! XXXXX”


Workshop Sessions

Danya Glaser: ‘The Importance of Attachment’

Danya Glaser is consultant child & adolescent psychiatrist at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, London

Françoise Freedman: Stabilising pelvic joints before and after birth & ‘Subtle pelvic anatomy’ from Blandine Calais-Germain to the Birthlight approach for releasing and making space for babies’ birth journey

Ingrid Lewis: Preparing women for VBAC (Vaginal birth after Caesarean)

Statistically less than 10% of women genuinely need medical assistance during the birth of their baby.  Curiously the actual proportion of women receiving medical attention is 25% in UK, 29.1% in US and as much as 60% in rural China. More revealing still is the fact that most C-sections take place between Monday and Friday and most Emergency sections follow the same pattern. WHO recommends that no more than 10% of birthing women should have a C-section.

How can it be that C-sections are so much rarer on week-ends than on weekdays? The simple answer is that many C-sections are unnecessary and potentially avoidable if the woman is given adequate preparation, care and support.

C-sections are life-saving events and are a blessing where necessary. This course aims to help prevent the unnecessary portion of C-sections. Women who have suffered an avoidable C-section know and feel this. They feel taken advantage of, let down, abused, and worse. Strong words are used to describe their birth experience. Many women may feel so traumatised by the event that they don’t ‘attempt’ another pregnancy and birth for fear of suffering the same again.

We can do much to heal this experience, to reconnect what has been cut in two to help her regain the confidence in her ability to birth. By identifying the potential physical, mental and emotional obstacles they can be overcome.

Sally Lomas: Update on Baby Yoga

Melanie Hamilton Davies: SMART Toddler Yoga update

Toddlers are hungry for language, so we incorporate this with the songs and rhymes which accompany the actions and yoga sequences. Here we learn to name the body parts. This provides a foundation of body awareness and language that will help the  child understand simple instructions and directions for more traditional asana as they grow older.? ?Upward stretching is lovely for toddlers and their parents, and leads into simple sun salute sequences.
For the mobile baby (whether they are on their feet yet or simply rolling, shuffling and crawling), it is empowering to lead the movement, so in SMART classes, we follow the crawling and rolling with the little ones. It is also a good way to get the adults to stretch and loosen up with laughter!

Simple props, like coloured chiffon scarves develop sensory awareness. Small balls develop concentration and eye to eye co-ordination, and can be used as a very simple mediation aid – or a delightful massage tool…….

Other workshops / presentations included:
Gill Milsom : Integrating touch and movement for new babies and their mothers (0-12 wks)
Patrick Houser: The case for Fathers-to-be and new fathers with discussion
Claire Missingham: Mama Vinyasa, an original sequence for pregnancy
Jyoti Gudka: Ways to encourage the greater use of chanting in Yoga for Pregnancy classes
Françoise Freedman: ‘Birthing Lightly’:  Micro movements for birth in the water and on dry land (based on pelvic anatomy)