The Yin Within: Nurturing the Nurturers of Birth
Yoga sequences designed with birth workers in mind
Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang. Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect. In our busy, bright and noisy yang world, yin brings calm, shaded contemplative balance into our lives.
In the body, the relatively stiff connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascia) are yin, while the more mobile and pliable muscles and blood are yang.
In a yin yoga class you will be practising long, still holds of passive floor poses that access the connective tissues, and create the space for you to release areas of holding in the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues and the poses are held for a minimum of two minutes in the beginning but can build up to five minutes, sometimes longer as your practice advances.
Yin Yoga is for you if you are tired, over-stimulated, when your energy is too erratic, your mind overactive, whether you are craving energy or you feel you have too much of it.
Key benefits of a regular Yin Yoga practice
• Brings calm and balance to the mind and body through stillness
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Increases circulation
• Improves flexibility
• Releases the fascia
• Brings greater mobility to the joints
• Balances the internal organs and improves flow of chi or prana through stimulating the meridians
These classes are designed especially for doulas and midwives who give so much of themselves physically, emotionally and mentally, as they support families during labour and birth.
While you wait patiently for ‘the call’, you can do many things in preparation for the long haul shift you are about to head out to but nothing will support YOU more than tending to your physical and energetic body by settling into a Yin practice.Weaving Yin into your life can introduce the possibility of physical, emotional and mental equilibrium, allowing you to pay attention to what is happening right here, right now rather than projecting out to what may or may not be coming or what has already passed.
Erika Elliott has been a busy working Doula and Birth Educator in Sydney since 2005. Prior to becoming a student of anatomy, focusing on the modalities of bodywork and herbal medicine in 2000, Erika completed a B.A. in Photography in 1990. Before becoming a mother 2003, she co-owned a massage practice in Bondi Beach, primarily focusing on supporting pregnant women and new mothers find comfort in their ever-changing bodies.
During her years as a Doula, supporting hundreds of families through thousands of hours of labour, Erika has facilitated childbirth education classes including natural birth preparation as well as calmbirth and Birthing from Within weekends. Other services that keep her busy are birth photography, placenta encapsulation, sacred belly binding and closing the bones ceremonies, at home postnatal support and birth story healing. Erika is also a trained Himalayan Yin Yoga teacher and is currently doing her yoga teacher training to be able to offer pre and post natal yoga to her clients. She volunteers her time working with the charity A Sound Life, bringing yoga, meditation and music to the disadvantaged, aged, unwell and recovering members of our communities.
Her role as Director of the We Birth Doula Mentorship Program gives Erika much joy as this is an area of great interest and passion - creating a program, and a community, with the vision of nurturing and informing doulas to be the best doulas they can be, in all areas, so they too can have long and rewarding careers in the field of supporting women and their partners as they create their own families.