1-3 April 2019
International Midwifery School, Orgiva, Spain
Founder & Director: Vanessa Brooks
MODULE: ‘You are a Temple’ – Yoga, Self-Care and the Magic of Touch – guided by Alexa Dean
SELF-CARE IS A DIVINE RESPONSIBILITY
As women we have the power of creation… through the connecting of our womb to mother earth. The deeper we connect with the womb and through it with the earth the more grace and ease we can bring to our lives, our work and our relationships in sisterhood and with everyone around us.
Feminine embodiment is about connecting deeply with our bodies and through that with the magic of the feminine energy, which has different names in different ancient traditions but is always seen as the source of all. This energy called SHAKTI in the ancient Vedic tradition is the flow of life itself, and by reconnecting with it we can bring this magic, grace and flow back into our lives.
All women relax differently. The Oxytocin hormone, which comes from giving and receiving care is needed for a deep relaxation. Often the balance is heavily tilted towards giving and we are not used to receiving as much. This module is also a place to practice receiving the care of the feminine from other sisters and give it in return in equal balance through practices like conscious touch and present listening.
Yoga is a complete and effective system of self-care and spiritual development. It offers a holistic approach to health and to life. There is a union of mind, body and spirit, an understanding of both the intellect and of the emotions. Spiritual and physical aspects of yoga include the inspiring principles of awareness, respect, self-referral and balance.
Breath Work, Yoga Nidra, Meditation and Mindfulness help to direct mental attention around the body, bringing relaxation, restoration and healing of every cell, lifting also the spirits.
Massage is a form of communication, a gentle signal to tell the body that it is OK to relax the muscles to release stress from body and mind. Massage improves muscles tone, alleviates discomfort, calms and sooths the emotions and promotes a feeling of inner peace.
22 June 2020
‘Women’s Circle’ Podcast
Hosted by Danielle Baker
Attending the Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth Conference at Findhorn, meeting Traditional Midwives Ibu Robin Lim (Bali), Angelina Martinez Miranda (Mexico) and Ramiro Romero (Colombia), listening once again revolutionary Dr. Michel Odent (France), dancing with Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova (Russia), feeling the beats from Hope Jj Medford (USA), breathing and relaxing with Binnie Dansby (USA), learning the research from Ray Castelino (USA), Robin Grille (Australia) and Robbie Davis-Floyd (USA)… shaked my life! The flow of spirituality and good energy over these seven days was phenomenal. To spend time in the presence of like-minded men and women from all over the world sharing experiences made me believe that we can indeed bring change.
We started each day with the option of yoga, taizé and meditation. Our days were filled with wide-eyed wonder at the knowledge and skill shared with us by these amazing speakers and other special guests. Each day we all shared meals together and excitedly spoke of all we had learned and collectively what we could achieve in our own parts of the world. We learnt many hands on skills techniques, home group meetings to check in, etc. In the evenings we all joined again to share dinner and often finishing our evenings watching birth films, open mic or dancing. I left Findhorn with a true vision of my life’s path and have every day since felt the combined strength, power and passion of all the people I met.
Beautiful, cared, well-thought, loving organisation from Rosie Faith, Elmer Postle, Graham Meltzer and all the volunteers at Findhorn Foundation that made this possible. Thank you!
At Da-a-Luz oasis life is simple. Birth is normal. You smell nature. You sweat joy. Food is lush. Big smiles and strong hugs are the norm. You kiss hello and you kiss goodbye. Women circles happen under a willow tree. Wash; in the river. Life is simple. Life is perfect.
Vanessa Brooks is the director of a project that will change birth paradigms. She has created and now is building the first Holistic Midwifery School in Europe. Vanessa is a midwife, she is ‘with women’. She is a lay midwife, a traditional midwife, and she’s been witnessing mothers bloom and babies been born for the last 15 years. She believes in women’s capacity to give birth their way at home and acts as an advocate offering love. Empowering women to catch, observe and hug their babies on their own.
The school runs for a year with students that stay in The Field. I met Anna (Holland), Soirsha (New Zeland) and Rowena (Germany). During my stay also three elective student midwives from England joined the 10-day module: Asma, Connie and Emily arrived with an open heart to hear different things from their medical training. Fiona is a member of the team , she is an independant midwife, yoga teacher, massage therapist, a beautiful soul that chose this place to think about life.. And José! an amazing cook, a free spirited guy helping out with the most sensitive heart.
Doula Alexa and Midwives Emily, Asma and Connie
We shared stories, we shared other’s stories, we shared our stories. We shared information about holding space, antenatal classes, herbs, massage and shiatsu, yoga, ceremonies, postnatal care…
It was a special week. Sleeping in a teepee tent. Meditating with the sound of a stream. Laughing, dancing, meeting locals. Meeting future parents. Meeting parents with their babies. This was my own doula retreat, my self-care week. A treat to me from me. It reassured me I passionately love my job.
I’ll keep coming back…
The School offers year long apprenticeships in holistic birth and shorter ‘elective’ stays for midwives, doulas, birthkeepers… You can also support them becoming a member like me for €5 a month.
For info about this project please visit and support: www.Daaluzoasis.wordpress.com
Alexa Dean, July 2016
Alexa and Vanessa
Taking time off for training is always a life transformational experience. And when you train in something you are passionate about, it’s even better. And if that training is with world re-known people it is mind blowing. And when you meet other people on the same page it is reassuring, comforting… And if on top of that you have a great time… you are on the right path…
Ina May Gaskin is my hero. I don’t know any birth-keeper who does not know her, admire her, is inspired by her, read her books, mentions her here and there… we all do. Ever since I’ve known about her, an experience at The Farm has been my dream. And the right time came, the stars aligned and I attended a Midwife Assistant Workshop in April 2015.
Students who attend this workshop continue their studies in a certified midwifery training programme or apprentice with a practicing midwife. I don’t have that calling, yet. I love my role as a doula, but attending this workshop gave me a better insight into what goes on around me in terms of medical procedures like foetal heart monitoring, fundal measurement, Leopold’s manoeuvres, baby’s position, engagement, dilation checks, blood pressure, pulse, basic sterile techniques, and we also went through anatomy and physiology, breastfeeding, charting, record keeping. Lots of open discussions and film nights.
The Farm is located in Summertown, Tennessee.It was founded by spiritual leader Stephen Gaskin who with a group of hippies looking to live their ideals, travelled from San Francisco in school buses across the US and settled in this rural area. During this long journey couples in the community had babies so some women began to learn about midwifery and naturally became midwives. When they settled they founded The Farm Midwifery Centre. Since then they promote a holistic and low-tech approach taking care of the physical and emotional wellbeing of the mother-to-be. Today people from all over the world travel to The Farm to have their babies. They hire a cabin in the woods and get to receive a home birth experience. Their first book ‘Spiritual Midwifery’ caused and enormous impact and remains an inspiration.
The Farm Midwifery Center first began offering educational workshops through annual midwifery conferences. Now they offer week-long classes and training. Pamela Hunt is the director of the Midwifery Workshops Programme; which started in 1995. She is one of the founding mothers and has 44 years experience as a midwife.
What is so amazing about The Farm is their low rate of interventions in a country with a highly medicalized maternity care system. They believe in birth, they believe in a woman’s ability to give birth instinctively. They support women, they take care of them with compassion. From a total of 2,844 mothers accepted for care at The Farm between 1970 and 2010 only 5% needed a transfer to hospital.
The Farm is such a safe place, nobody locks their homes, people are friendly and welcoming and if you are a student midwife you get an even bigger smile! It’s just a positive and peaceful environment. After a few hours at The Farm I could have a sense of how easily women can relax, let go and give birth here. Allowing their bodies do the job it’s been designed to do. Breech babies, twin babies, orgasmic births, they are all normal births here at The Farm. Their holistic approach includes a good diet, watsu sessions, which is a combination of shiatsu in water, relaxation, walks in the woods –all ways to enhance the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of women. No obstacles, no horror stories, no unnecessary interventions. Midwives do deal with emergencies and are prepared for that, but the whole environment here minimizes fear.
It was an inspiring week. Not only because I got to know the team of midwifes who have worked at The Farm since its origin in the 70’s, but because of the amazing group of women I had the privilege of meeting. Souls with similar passions, with different experiences to share and generous hearts.
Online Baby Massage
This class emphasises connection and presence between mum/dad/carer and baby. Alexa is one of most loved online Baby Massage teachers. She highlights the use techniques to relax the baby’s diaphragm for full and efficient breathing. Also suggests movement to bring flexibility to hips and shoulders; strengthen baby’s back, arms and legs in preparation for sitting and standing.
All of this happens in an atmosphere of loving, joyful play. Above all it’s a time for you to be fully present with and enjoy your baby at the comfort of your own home.
Check Alexa’s schedule here
Why Choose Alexa’s Online Baby Massage Classes?
Alexa provides a relaxed and supportive space for dedicated parent and baby time, learning a valuable skill for life to support you and your baby. Alexa studied with Peter Walker an is a certified Developmental Baby Massage Therapist. She is also a certified Nurturing Baby Massage having studied with Bryony Vickers from Birthlight.
“Touch is like food to your baby”
Baby Massage can help:
– Strengthen baby-parent communication
– Enhance your understanding of baby’s development
– Boost self-esteem and confidence in parenting
– Relax parent and baby
– Transform baby’s brain
– Encourage a deeper sleep for baby
– Relieve wind, colic and constipation
– Reduce crying
– Helps mum avoid postnatal depression
What people say about Alexa’s Classes?
“Best baby massage class in London, you are amazing Alexa!” – Alex
“Thank you for all these precious moment of love and peacefulness. I will keep such a fond memory of your classes!” – Alexia
Online Pregnancy Yoga Classes
Yoga can play a key role for a smooth pregnancy and empower the mother-to-be to have the most conscious birth experience. But more importantly, yoga does wonders on the physical and mental development of the baby. Online Pregnancy Yoga is a wonderful option at the comfort of your own home.
Alexa offers her pregnancy yoga classes with an open mind and open heart. Alexa’s approach to yoga is non-dogmatic and her classes incorporate a range of Hatha Yoga traditions which are adapted to suit the overall dynamic of a class as well as each individual’s needs.
Virtual Prenatal Yoga
Antenatal yoga is suitable for mums-to-be from 12 weeks and you can safely practice until your babe arrives. This style of yoga is a lovely gentle, supportive and nourishing practice which will help you enjoy your pregnancy and also alleviate the common ailments sometimes experienced by expectant mums, such as back pain and pelvic girdle pain, aching joints, tiredness, fatigue and breathlessness.
In Alexa’s online pregnancy yoga sessions you will learn a combination of yoga positions and movements to create comfort and space for you and your baby. You will learn breathing techniques to help you through your pregnancy and through childbirth itself and you will experience some lovely deep relaxation techniques, helping you stay calm and relieve the anxieties associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Classes are a happy mix of women at different stages of pregnancy and with varied experience of yoga. Pregnancy naturally inspires a connection to and curiosity with our bodies and yoga enhances this, taking us deeper into ourselves.
All poses are clearly demonstrated and designed to help you feel your best as your baby grows. We also practice useful poses for labour and birth so that they become familiar, comfortable and easy to use instinctively in labour.
Breath awareness is an important element of each class and we focus on variations of the breath and traditional pranayama to calm the busy mind. This equips mothers with a powerful tool to stay grounded and focused during labour. We learn how to employ the breath to release fear, tension and difficult thoughts.
Each class ends with a deep relaxation and a quiet moment to feel at peace with your growing baby, a cocoon of love and calm in our busy lives. The vibe in the classes is upbeat, nurturing and friendly.
Online Pregnancy Yoga via Zoom
“Alexa is simply brilliant. She is incredibly knowledgeable and has a wonderful, calm and confident way of teaching. Her classes are so much more than just about yoga and she has a great sense of inclusiveness. She makes you feel uplifted, invigorated and yet totally relaxed and tension-free. Her classes were always the highlight of my week when I was pregnant.”
“Alexa, thank you so much for everything. Your classes have been such an important part of my journey to becoming a mother. Your pregnancy yoga class, not only helped me stay strong and supple during pregnancy but gave me a sense of calm and wellbeing. You gave me courage and strength to face giving birth head on and I used your breathing techniques and mantras to get me through the contractions. Your couples workshop was great for my partner, giving him practical tips to help me during birth, keeping me calm and feeling supported. And the postnatal yoga helped me get back to feeling myself but most importantly a really lovely bonding experience every week for me and my baby. I miss you!”
Pregnancy Yoga video available here
ANTENATAL URBAN RETREAT
Holistic Birth Preparation Workshop for Couples
with Alexa Dean & Thando Zwane
Time: 9am to 5pm (lunch included)
Venue: Jamyang Buddist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Road, London, SE11 4NA
Full Price: £450
Early Bird: £400 (if you book before 31st August)
CLICK HERE TO BOOK!
Sessions with a focus on:
- The Anatomy & Phases of Labour and Birth
- Movement & Yoga during Pregnancy and Positions for Birth
- Hormones involved in the birthing process
- Third Stage – Delivery of the Placenta
- Communication with the Unborn Baby
- Role of the Partner / Birth Companion
- Touch and Massage for Labour and Birth
- Pain Management Options
- Birth Preferences (wishes & intentions for labour and birth)
- Birth Rights & Choices
- Positive Birth Stories
- The Microbiome
- Postnatal Care
You can participate at any stage of your pregnancy.
*By couples we mean the pregnant woman and her birth companion (spouse/partner, sister, mother or friend)
Please contact me if you have any questions click here
Tube Stations: Kennington (Northern Line), Elephant & Castle (Bakerloo Line)
Buses: 196 (Kennington Lane), 133, 155, 333 (Kennington Park Road), 3, 59, 109, 159 (Kennington Road)
Check on the TFL website
For evenings and weekends, there is no charge and plenty of parking space along Renfrew Road. Parking is free after 6.30pm and at weekends, and on bank holidays. During weekdays there are pay & display bays directly outside the building. The cost is £3 per hour (from Mondays to Fridays from 8.30am – 6.30pm. Not bank holidays).
Jamyang is just within the Congestion Zone, which operates Monday to Friday from 7am to 6.00pm, so there’s no charge in the evenings and at weekends.
Booking and Cancellations
If you make a booking for the workshop on behalf of another person, you warrant to us that you have their authority to do so.
What is Closing the Bones?
Closing the Bones is a Latin American midwifery rite. It completes the birthing process energetically, physically, and emotionally. Some women receive it three days postpartum or a few weeks later, and others a number of months and years after giving birth. It is also used after a miscarriage, abortion, illness or rite of passage. It can actually address any kind of depletion a person may be experiencing.
The ritual begins with a hot bath infused with special herbs to calm and relax the mother. She is invited to talk about whatever aspects of the birth or her new role as mother are lingering that she may want to resolve. The mother then receives an abdominal-sacral massage. After this her body is wrapped up. This ‘hug’ is performed from crown to toes with rebozos (Mexico) or mantas (Ecuador) creating a sensation of closure. Rebozos and mantas are traditional shawls. I offer a sound bath environment drumming and singing to finish with silent meditation. Once complete she lies quietly to integrate her experience and I’m there with her to praise and support her in every way. We use this time to acknowledge the beauty and power that her body and soul has given to the birthing of her child.
This process literally helps “close” a mother’s body, which “opens” in so many ways, both in preparation for, and during birth itself. During the ceremony, pelvic bones are pulled back to their pre-pregnancy placement, and shrinkage of the uterus is facilitated. This helps “close” a new mother energetically, as both pregnancy and particularly the intense process of labour and birth can be very vulnerable times for a woman, psychologically and psychically. The loss of blood during birth is thought to induce a “cold” state in a postpartum mother, so the hot bath helps restore her warmth. It can also increase milk flow, help milk to let down into the breasts, prevent the breast milk from being “cold,” and address muscle fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, oedema, appetite loss and constipation. Hot baths alone can positively influence cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, musculoskeletal and respiratory systems. The herbs for the “Baño de Hierbas” are specifically chosen to stimulate circulation, energise the body, fight infection, and recover vital heat and moisture. The essential oils released by the herbs affect recuperation, balance, and relaxation.
Closing the Bones is a very intimate ritual performed in your home. Plan on two hours of time between feeding your baby and to have a caretaker (papa perhaps) present to attend to your baby while we are in ceremony.
To book a session contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org