When I describe what I do as a doula, I often need to explain how that relates to yoga. And when I describe the way I teach yoga, I often need to explain how it is similar to being a doula. I have always felt a deep connection between these two practices and the intention I follow both as a doula and as a yoga teacher.
Sometimes I refer to presence as “holding space”. It is what I do when I accompany birth as a doula, whether I am holding a mother’s hand or making sure she is in an environment that allow her to feel safe, grounded, and connected to her power.
This is also the direction that I want to convey in the yoga practice I share. Reaching the state where we are finally present, not where our mind drives us, but where we are in touch with our inner voice and empathetic with others.
Both as a yoga teacher and as a doula, I am aware of an important point: this is not about me. I can only witness and offer with an open heart my vision to support your personal path and self-exploration.
It is an act of service. My intention is to be attentive to the person in front of me, but also detached enough. Even before I was a doula, I wrote something similar as a metaphor about teaching yoga: “I am not giving birth, I am supporting in the best way I can someone else giving birth, and I can provide safety, stability and encouragement.”
There is such an overuse of this word, that this word has become annoying to some. But I still find it full of meaning, and I use it to indicate the still part in ourselves. This is something we aim to reach and listen in a yoga practice.
Just as yoga, birth is an experience that deeply physical and deeply spiritual. Birth is when a mother allows a soul to come to life. In some cultures, stories say that a mother during birth goes to heaven and comes back with another soul, the baby being born.
There may be no “yoga” elements when I follow a family preparing for birth, and there may be no “birth” elements when I teach yoga. But in both practices I have a strong feeling I am touching something that talks to me about Life.