As a small child, I used to watch my mother practice yoga. We lived in a very isolated environment in Central Africa and so everything that we knew about yoga, we learned from books; not ideal, but it was a start. I didn’t have a regular practice although I always returned to yoga during my four pregnancies, finding peace, inner connection and relief from my ever busy monkey-mind – yoga allowed me the time and space to tune into my inner needs, which led to successful homebirths with no interventions or pain relief. Connecting to my instinctual nature and my breath was all I needed to birth without pain.
I feel passionate about helping women create the right space and environment for birthing. ....
I feel passionate about helping women create the right space and environment for birthing. By learning how to tune into our deeper needs during pregnancy, and by tuning into the needs of our babies, we can birth in the best way for ourselves and our babies, whether that be a homebirth, a medical-led birth or a Caesarian. Every type of birth can be healing and empowering if the mother is given the opportunity to stick to at least some of what she really needs – even in births where circumstances seem to carry women beyond their expectations (i.e. a homebirth ending up as a Caesar) – if a mother is listened to and given the opportunity to communicate throughout, then she can still come out of the birth feeling that wonderful sense of achievement. However, women have to know what they need, to understand themselves better, before they can verbalize their needs – this is where pregnancy yoga is so powerful, as it helps women to get into their bodies, out of their heads, and into their heart-space.
The first birth I attended was when I was eight years old. The “barefoot midwife” (the name given to village midwives in rural areas around the globe) would fetch me to attend the village births. I also worked in mission hospitals from the age of twelve during school holidays. And so I watched how women birthed in their homes, and I watched how women birthed in the hospitals. I saw that when a woman breathes deeply, she births easily. When a woman squats or is on her hands and knees, she is open to birth successfully. I observed that the women who were in a sacred birthing space with mostly women, who moved and made deep sounds without inhibitions and were given all the time they needed, birthed differently from women who were strapped to beds and machines in the presence of strangers.
The barefoot midwives hardly ever spoke to me verbally – even as a child, I intuited that I was there to watch and learn. Birthing wasn’t spoken about in their culture, it was just something that you DID, from a deeply instinctual place. As I got older and began to ask questions, often I would simply get a baffled look in response – for some things, there are no words.
Our Western culture is far more verbal, and we’ve forgotten how to sit with ourselves in stillness, taking the time to listen to our deepest needs. Yoga, through breath and asana, helps us get back in tune with our bodies and we re-learn the power of breath. Like the birthing dance, sometimes yoga can seem like hard work, and other times we learn to wait in stillness. Pregnancy yoga helps women work deeply into the hips, preparing for the opening necessary for birth. We learn to relax and release tension even in a challenging posture – and that’s exactly what you need to birth.
Our tranquil Wellbeing Centre is located in the leafy suburb of Saxonwold, Johannesburg. We are conveniently located just off Jan Smuts and near Zoo Lake and easily accessible via major roads. Equilibrium is in a beautiful garden setting perfect for taking a big exhale, sliding onto your mat and dropping out of busy city life.
From Shasta - "My deepest gratitude to Claire Lane-Smith who took me into her first teacher training program when I was in the early part of my yoga journey. On completion of the training she said “You know Shasta, your passion would be so well placed in the pre & postnatal sphere”. I hadn’t considered that before and with just that single comment my path was set. Claire generously offered me space at her beautiful studio The Yoga Republic. If more props were needed, she provided them without hesitation, she encouraged me every step of the way, and facilitated my growth as a yoga teacher by trusting me to teach any form of yoga I chose to introduce into my teaching repertoire: yin, restorative, therapeutic, Aerial arts and hot yoga. The foundations were built with Claire’s shared energy and space. Thank you Claire Lane Smith, for being amazing. "