Random fun fact: I’m a Portland native!
My profession is: Labor doula and yoga teacher
Where do you find passion in your work? My favorite thing about labor doula-ing and teaching yoga is supporting people in feeling at home in their body. I love witnessing the incredible inner work facilitated by the physical experiences of childbirth and yoga asana practice, and I’m passionate about companioning my clients and students through those transformations.
What do you want people to know about the service you offer? Pregnancy is a beautiful time to begin or deepen a yoga practice. Over and over, I’ve seen parents turn to the tools of yoga during labor–usually without even knowing it. Breathing through each contraction, staying present with the sensations of labor, trying to get your mind and body to work as a team…that’s yoga. In prenatal yoga classes, we’ll do a little labor prep (poses to help open your hips, align your pelvis, and build strength, for example), and we’ll also focus on the inner work: staying in the present moment, relaxing and decreasing stress, and connecting with your baby.
How do you support new families? Yoga is an amazing parenting tool. One of the most commonly touted benefits of yoga is its ability to decrease stress, and while it’s true that the first weeks of settling into your rhythm as a new family can be absolutely blissful, they can also be full of a variety of stressors. Learning to breathe through intense emotional and physical sensations, treating each moment as a new beginning–I can’t think of better tools to have in your toolbox as you start getting to know both your baby AND the new you (you know, the one who’s suddenly a parent!)
What are some myths about your service or profession that you want people to understand?
Myth: “Oh I can’t do yoga; I’m not very flexible.”
Truth: Can you breathe? Can you bring your awareness to your body and stay present with the messages it’s sending you? You’re doing yoga! Yoga means “union”; I like to think of it as a tool for uniting your mind and body in the present moment. Flexibility has nothing to do with it, which is lucky for me since I had a spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis at age 12. Yes, I have a titanium rod in my back, and I can still do yoga!
Myth: “I can’t do prenatal yoga because I never did yoga before getting pregnant.”
Truth: A lot of people begin their practice during pregnancy; there is no better time to start tuning in your body than when it’s going through the incredible transformations of pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Bringing awareness and gratitude to the work your body is doing (creating a human from scratch!) is a great way to plant the seeds of a lifelong practice.
Can you share something you’ve learned from being a parent? My wife and I are looking forward to starting a family soon! But so far we’ve learned a lot about patience, flexibility, and the joy of being in the moment from “parenting” our pets (one dog and two cats) and playing with our seven nieces and nephews.
What’s your favorite place to go, or thing to do on vacation? Camping at Trillium Lake on Mt. Hood! We just got back from our annual summer pilgrimage to the mountain, and I’m already excited for next year.
Links to research that supports my goal and mission: