Hands at namaste

I recently had the opportunity to teach a prenatal yoga class to a group of women clients at Shared Pregnancy in Lansing, MI.  It was a bustling crowd of ladies, some with young babies in tow and others who were pregnant.  I laid out the yoga mats I borrowed from Just B Yoga.  We gathered in a spacious room in the basement of the church across the street from Shared Pregnancy and we got moving!  It wasn’t your typical yoga class.  There was chatting, there were babies cooing and crying…many distractions!  But we got moving anyway, because our lives are filled with distractions and sometimes, if we wait for the that perfect moment to come, it never does. 

As a teacher, at first, I felt it was going to be a challenge, as it became obvious that several of the clients, some from India, did not speak English as their primary language. I adapted and explicitly demonstrated postures as I spoke.  At one point I had us bring our hands up overhead and then bring them down through the heartspace in the gesture of  Namaste.  The faces of the women from India lit up and with lots of delight, they repeated, “Namaste!” and giggled.   This was so joyful!   Namaste, the gesture, means  “I bow to you.”  It honors the divine spark that we are all believed to carry in our heart space.  In India, it is a gesture of respect and is used commonly. The energy of the room was transformed and we continued the session on a very light note.  One woman practiced with her beautiful 6 month old, who laughed and smiled as her mom raised her up and down in the different postures.  Another woman left her mat so she could hold her friend’s infant, so the new mom could join in the class.  It was fun and several women asked me questions afterwards.  

I was very impressed with this remarkable community of women at Shared Pregnancy.  The work that the people here are doing is supportive and beneficial.  Before me was the evidence:  a group of women of different ethnicities and backgrounds, supporting and encouraging one another, holding each other’s babies and giving one another support in what can be a challenging and difficult time in most people’s lives.  Shared Pregnancy is doing good work.

As the class dispersed and I began to clean and roll up the mats, I noticed one completely embedded with sparkles that came from the skirt of one of the Indian women.  I giggled at the sparkly gift.  Namaste!

© and Janet MacFarlane, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet MacFarlane and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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