A space that is warm and cosy.
The lighting dim and dappled.
Atmosphere intimate, expectant.
Cushions, bolsters and thick carpet transforming the space into a padded den.
The air oxytocin-drenched.
Your breath compellingly deep.
Your sounds low and unbridled.
There’s full encouragement here to tap into your sensuality:
air brushing against your skin;
the slinkiness of your hair falling across your face;
textures of fabrics on you and around you;
the scents, the sounds;
the swaying and spiralling of your magnificent pregnant body in gentle, comforting movements.
Revel here in a sense of total permission.
Of safety, sisterhood and support.
Feelings of joy and celebration.
Of unveiling the immense power of your female body, moment by moment.
Of being a vessel for new life, and for personal transformation.
What is this place, you ask?
It is quite simply a Tigress Yoga® For Birth class, where birth education meets women’s Tantric yoga.
This is a uniquely embodied way for women to prepare for birth and motherhood, where empowering messages about the sovereignty of women’s bodies are reinforced organically through the guided practices. In these classes women fully enter primal states akin to those of non-medicated birth. They simulate labour and rehearse for the birth of their babies. And here they begin to birth themselves as mothers.
Like the true mammals that they are, these sophisticated twenty-first century women learn to move from the “inside-out”, propelled by their breath and raw, authentic sounds. They learn to tune in to subtle and pleasurable
sensations within their growing bodies. They embrace their sensuality and their sexuality as divine and holy, if not potent tools for labour and birth.
These mothers come to know that unapologetically caring for themselves is also caring for their babies – in the classes, and for the rest of their days.
They draw more deeply from their roots in the Earth, and the unwavering support from below. And the connections between their heart and womb, throat and cervix, jaw and pelvis become second nature to them.
The women tap into intuitive communion with their babies as they are snugly held within their wombs. They understand that their babies are sentient beings, already participating in their own lives, and birth. The mothers practice a felt-sense of fierce and loving boundaries for pregnancy, birth and thereafter.
They value these unique and precious bonds of sisterhood borne of journeying together at a pivotal time in their lives. They derive nourishment and support from this, their feminine tribe. They are their own virtual village, one woman sequentially offering the next a powerful point of reference for what is possible in birth.
And the savvy women who devote to this level of birth preparation are really rocking their worlds as they redefine themselves through their transformational birthing experiences.
This new embodied knowledge about their own resilience and capacity to hold themselves and their babies through thick and thin now serves them well in their days of early mothering.
So who are the kind of women that journey in Tigress Yoga For Birth classes?
Here is a sample: in one Tigress Yoga For Birth class series of five women all having their first babies, all five birthed their babies without obstetric intervention, all five with midwife support, three with doulas by their side, four at home, all five exceeded by far their own expectations for birth, and every one of them today is fully empowered as woman and mother through her birthing experience.
One woman described her experience as “orgasmic” and three as “ecstatic”.
A common theme was that they felt free with their movements and vocalisation to transmute feelings of discomfort or challenge and remained trusting in their birthing zone. They breathed consistently with the rhythm practised in classes – in through nose and out through mouth – to take them into altered states of consciousness fuelled by the cocktail of ecstatic hormones coursing through their bodies.
Demographically, this sisterhood of triumphant mothers range in age from 26 to 41. Four live in the suburbs and one in the country. They are nutritionist, farmer, events coordinator, student, physiotherapist, mindfulness consultant and psychologist. The women are all in loving partnerships. All five are committed to holistic approaches for their own health and wellbeing, and that of their families.
In the words of these dedicated mothers from the class of five,
“I can best describe the birth of my son as a dance of life. My body’s wisdom and inner knowing guided the journey beautifully. I opened to my deepest vulnerabilities and met my darkest fears in an intense roller-coaster of body and soul awakening. I feel like my son chose the birth he wanted and needed, and my job was just to stay open and be willing to meet whatever arose in the process. It was the most intense and transformational experience of my life.”
“Through Tigress Yoga I learned how to transmute pain into neutral and even pleasurable sensations. The inner map of my body became alive and my womb and heart connected. The relationship with my body and psyche deepened. I started living from the inside-out, feeling on the inhale and expressing on the exhale, surrendering to what is and discovering what else there is. I was vocal right through labour and at times it felt like the sounds were not coming from me but through me, my body simply a vessel. Birth feels like my new superpower.”
For new and seasoned mothers,
Tigress Yoga For Birth is a journey of self-discovery
It is a descent into the primal territory of birth
Where Woman can renegotiate who she is
As she prepares to cross the threshold of life
To usher her baby into the world with courage
And infinite trust
In the magic of her female body.
She is forever changed through this initiation.
by Nisha Gill
Tigress Yoga® Instructor