When people talk about postnatal yoga, they’re often also talking about Lynn Murphy! Our Co-Director at the centre and postnatal guru began her Active Birth journey with the Active Birth book and Janet’s pregnancy yoga classes, and she hasn’t looked back. Here’s Lynn’s uplifting story…
I was given the Active Birth book by a friend when I was pregnant for the first time. That pregnancy didn’t stay but the book did, and my son was born 3 years later – on the same day that my first pregnancy ended. I then joined Janet’s pregnancy yoga classes at the Active Birth Centre after discovering that it was a 10-minute walk from my home in Archway.
The classes at that time happened in Janet’s home and they made a huge difference to my experience of pregnancy. I had been pretty much banned from all my usual yoga classes as at that time teachers were anxious about working with you in the class, or if they let you attend you had to sit out lots of the yoga with no alternatives given.
What a relief to find Janet’s classes and be able to practice throughout the rest of my pregnancy while being empowered with information and the philosophy of Active Birth – by the very woman who coined that phrase! I went on to have two very positive experiences of birth, in which my active birth and yoga preparation played a big part.
Before I had my children I worked as an artist, both selling work and teaching in art college. I continued to teach and make art for the first years after they were born but when they were 4 & 2, I decided to re-train in my second love – since the age of 21 – yoga! Like many women, becoming a mother had a transformational effect on all areas of my life.
I trained at the Active Birth Centre over two years to become an Active Birth Yoga Teacher. I qualified in 1997 and was then invited by Janet to join her at the ABC to work with women during pregnancy and beyond. I followed this with trainings in Developmental Baby Massage and Baby Yoga.
I taught postnatal yoga from the start, but after a few years I started to develop the postnatal programme. This meant I could work with mothers and babies in a way that was appropriate for where mothers were physically and emotionally, and for babies developmentally. Out of this came New Baby & Me, aimed at mums and babies in the first three months after birth. Alongside these classes are my Mama & Me Yoga and Baby Massage sessions for the older babies.
The last 21 years have been quite a journey and I am happy to now be offering trainings for the postnatal period at the ABC and elsewhere, including Europe. This year I am offering postnatal retreats in France with the wonderful &Breathe. These developments along with my ongoing class honour the need for us as a society to better take care of all new mothers’ emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.
I work with my local Hospital the Whittington offering Massage Workshops for Labour and Birth, and also attend and support the Whittington Maternity Voices group to help improve services for women and their families for pregnancy, birth and beyond.
I continue to develop my own yoga journey, working with a number of wonderful teachers in the Scaravelli approach as well as others that resonate with me personally. This plays a big part in my own ongoing selfcare: practice what you preach!
Teaching yoga brought out a different side to my creativity. I can’t imagine my life without it or the Active Birth Centre, and I’m so happy to be part of the Active Birth Centre family.
But first and foremost, my gratitude and thanks go to Janet.