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H.H. the Dalai Lama’s Top 5 Insights for Peace
The Dalai Lama’s visit to New Orleans focused on his message of moving beyond the violence of the 21st century toward a 21st century that is characterized by peace. As we remember those who have fought for our country and for peace in the world this Memorial Day, let’s reflect on how we as individuals can use the Dalai Lama’s vision to bring more peace to ourselves and the world at large.
5. The concept of “we” and “they” is the basis of violence and war; Community is the ultimate source of our happiness; All 7 billion humans on the planet are the same in our common humanity and desire to be happy
4. Our educational system is inadequate in it’s primary focus on material matters of health, such as jobs, with little attention given to cultivating mental health and inner peace
3.The ultimate sign of inner peace is peace of mind; Meditation need not be a religious practice; Each individual’s mental attitude is the foundation for a peaceful world
2. Control your heat, not guns; The real way to control guns is to decrease hatred
1. Peace comes only through our actions and effort, not through prayer alone
Prenatal Yoga, There’s More to it Than Om
Babies lucky enough to be born in New Orleans are not only blessed with the title of New Orleans native, but are also fortunate their mothers have access to a variety of nurturing wellness resources. Prenatal yoga is one such resource that goes beyond physical exercise and teaches mothers the benefits of focused attention and calming breaths. The tools of prenatal yoga serve women throughout pregnancy and delivery, as well as after their babies are born.
Prenatal yoga addresses many changes that take place during pregnancy. Classes are not just geared toward stretching, but rather on building awareness of a woman’s body. These classes differ from regular yoga classes in their focus on preventing and easing the aches and pains specific to pregnancy, while also teaching breath work designed for labor. Women learn to connect to their bodies, their breath, and their babies. Certified prenatal yoga teachers are knowledgable in how to utilize props (such as blankets, bolsters, and blocks) to assist in modifying yoga postures and supporting each individual student based on her stage of pregnancy.
Along with the physical tools that women learn in prenatal yoga, they also benefit from the social aspects of class. As certified prenatal yoga teacher Nicole Rezza explains, “The prenatal classes at Wild Lotus are more about creating a community amongst moms-to-be. In the beginning of my class I ask them to share information about where they are in their pregnancy. There are so many emotions and circumstances that they are experiencing; it’s encouraging to see that other women are feeling or experiencing the same thing.”
One question many women have is, “If I have no experience with yoga, is pregnancy a good time to start?” According to local prenatal yoga teacher Tamar Starck, who teaches classes through East Jefferson General Hospital, “Pregnancy is a great time to start yoga. A regular yoga practice helps expecting women get comfortable with their changing bodies while stretching, strengthening, and relaxing. I focus my classes on breath awareness, alignment, and relaxation. So it is structured for all levels and is very accessible to beginners.”
A mistake many pregnant women make is going to a regular yoga class, rather than a prenatal yoga class. Often times women aren’t aware of the different approach that is needed when they are pregnant. Nicole recommends “that pregnant women do not take regular yoga classes once they are in their second and third trimester. At this point there are many modifications that they will need to be aware of. The other issue is the pregnant woman becomes the contraindication in the class. The teacher cannot cater to one student when they have 15 others in the class that are not pregnant. Students in the class may get frustrated because the teacher is catering to the pregnant student.” Another issue for the pregnant woman in her second or third trimester is if the class is on their back for half the class or more, the pregnant woman has to find some other poses to do because she is not supposed to be lying on her back at this point in the pregnancy. If she is new to yoga that could become a negative experience for her.
It is always recommended that you consult with your doctor before beginning prenatal yoga and remind yourself that this is a time for nurturing your body and soul. Call ahead and confirm if the class you are planning to take is suitable for your stage of pregnancy. Depending on the type of practice taught, the teacher may recommended that you wait until the second trimester to begin taking prenatal yoga classes. If you can’t find a prenatal yoga class that fits your schedule Nicole suggests, “If the pregnant woman cannot get to a class at the studio there are prenatal yoga DVDs they can purchase. The program that I was trained under, Mamaste Yoga, provides podcasts through iTunes. They can also set up a private session with any of the local certified prenatal instructors.”
Although there are an endless number of lists and figures that you may be measuring your pregnancy by, try to let go of any need to overachieve and instead cultivate contentment with where you are in each prenatal yoga session. Not only will you open your joints and muscles, you’ll open your mind as well.
Prenatal Yoga Classes Currently Being Offered:
East Jefferson General Hospital
Phone: (504) 456-5000
Classes take place at Destination Maternity
3300 North Causeway Blvd
Metairie, LA 70002
Swan River Yoga
Phone: (504) 301-3134
Classes take place at the Swan River Mandir in Mid-City
2940 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA
Wild Lotus Yoga
Phone: (504) 899-0047
Classes take place at Wild Lotus’ Uptown studio
4842 Perrier Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
* This article first appeared on New Orleans Moms Blog. Check out NOMB for great local resources for mothers.