A genuine welcome and appropriate support for women considering attending any of our courses from Uma:
“Please know that I warmly welcome all women of all stages of life to my courses. My assistants and I and make every effort to ensure that everyone is genuinely supported and honoured by providing appropriate practices during courses, retreats and workshops.
There is no exclusion from practice or teaching space on account of womanly needs. For example, menstruating women are offered suitable practices to support their bleed time, menopausal woman are given opportunities to rest and/or adjust room temperature as necessary, and pregnant women are provided with the props and time and space they need to be at ease in the learning/retreat environment.
Lactating women are welcome to express milk, and/or to feed their children in comfort in the main class space if they chose, or to be provided with an alternative comfortable and appropriate space to do so. Lactating women will never be asked by myself or any of my assistants to go into the toilets to express milk or feed their babies on my courses, and menstruating, premenstrual or menopausal women will never be excluded from practice because of their current physical or emotional needs.
I walk my talk. I care very passionately indeed about the rights of women to celebrate the experiences of being a woman, including menstruating, navigating the premenstruum, ovulating, being pregnant, menopausal or breastfeeding and expressing milk. I spent three years of my life pregnant, eight years of my life breastfeeding, and seven years as a breastfeeding counsellor, where I saw that disrespectful attitudes towards breastfeeding adversely impacted on women’s confidence and capacity to breastfeed feed their children. As an advocate of conscious menstruality, I also observe that the cyclical fluxes of menstrual and menopausal experiences are neither recognised nor honoured by many yoga teaching approaches ,and this disempowers women by encouraging a disconnection from their naturally arising flow and change at emotional and physical levels.
I observe that in many yoga teaching environments there is an implicit disrespect or exclusion of menstruating, menopausal, premenstrual, pregnant or lactating women simply because their physical and emotional needs are disregarded, or seen to be inconvenient and disruptive to the general flow of teaching. As an antidote to this, I actively welcome the opportunity to met these needs in my courses and workshops as a chance to encounter a deeper and broader range of yoga practice appropriate to all stages of life.
I seek to ensure that on my courses nobody is disrespected or excluded because of their experiences or women’s life stages. Everyone is invited to be comfortable and at ease, knowing that their particular life stage experiences are honoured and welcome.”
Thinking about brining a baby or small child with you on the course?
Reflections from Uma…(who has spent many years teaching and learning with her babies and children - from newborns to teenagers - in the space with her)
“Children and babies are always a blessing in my yoga teaching space. Babes in arms (those who pretty much stay in one place when you put them down, and are not yet crawling or toddling) are, without exception, absolutely and warmly welcome in our learning space. They will be doted upon by the rest of the students, and the teachers! Having said that, bear in mind that it is a very big ask for yourself to be fully present as a mother to your baby and also fully present as a student in the course. It takes a lot of energy to do both these things. For this reason I strongly recommend that for at least part of the course learning time you organise for some helpful supporter to come and relieve you of the child - perhaps give the child a break or a walk in the park etc - so that you can be fully present to the teaching and learning. For example, some women bring babies to the morning sessions, but have help to mind the child elsewhere in the afternoons or vice versa, or some mothers have the babies with them during weekdays but get help at the weekends. These options are wise.
In terms of bringing older babies, toddlers, and children, I recommend getting more help organised or having plenty for the child to do. For example, it is quite challenging sometimes to amuse a toddler in one single environment for a whole day even if you are not trying to learn on a course, so it makes sense to organise someone to come and take the toddler out for a change of scene if possible. And for older children, it is vary variable, some six or seven year old girls are fascinated by being with al the women, and are really happy to be colouring, or playing with toys whilst the teaching happens, but younger boys often get frustrated and irritated by being cooped up with all the ladies for so long. It can work the other way round too. The thing to do is to respect your own needs, honour the nature and developmental stage of your child, honour your responsibilities to yourself and your fellow students to get the most out the course and make a choice based on all this.
One of the beautiful family developments I have observed over twenty years of doing this work is that very often these courses are the first time that a mother with young children has felt motivated to leave them in the care of another family member or friend, often for the whole course, and that this experience often facilitates deep emotional growth for the mother, the child and the carer (often the dad), for whom this offering of full time care through the course is an great opportunity to depend their bond with the child.
I hope this is helpful as you make your choices.”
With great respect and love I send warm wishes for your well being