Developing a style of yoga suited to women took many years of study and observation. Its development stemmed from my personal experiences as a woman, a mother and a wife. Yet, more importantly, it developed because of my affiliation with many different women, each at a different stage of life and being able to accompany them throughout their life cycles.
Physical activity has always been a big part of my life. I have participated in many forms of physical activities, such as; various forms of gymnastics, dance, sports, running, horse riding and many other forms of physical activity. I lived my life as any male would. I used to be extremely competitive and very driven. I was highly motivated. I aimed high and tried to make sure that I achieved the goals I set out to achieve. Yet, the women's way directed me in another direction. It showed me an alternative path. Due to multiple pregnancies and births, my body underwent changes. As a result, I was forced to listen to my body. To listen to my body from a different angle, from a softer place a place of acceptance, a place which demands fewer achievements and more compassion and understanding.
My first pregnancy was not an easy one. I found it difficult to fall pregnant. I experienced a number of miscarriages and as a result, I became fearsome and frustrated. I began to believe that I wasn’t fit to become a mother. Today, I know that I was not in tune with myself, with my body's needs. I was a heavy smoker, a woman who was constantly stressed, who had to be compulsively active. I viewed my body as a machine, a machine which was there to serve me and my own purposes, as such it did not function in the correct manner. It did not allow me to experience a healthy pregnancy. When I finally fell pregnant, I realized that I would have to make a few changes. I gave birth to my oldest son, Guy, in 1992, in America. In the little hospital in the south of Maryland, where I gave birth, there was no such thing as an epidural. Even though I was not connected to my body in those days, I approached the birth with a sense of peace and tranquility. The main reason for this was that I knew the hospital and the staff well and felt very much at ease there. Because of the support I received there, I experienced a natural birth, which left me with a feeling of empowerment. This experience shaped the rest of my life.
During the year I spent in America, I met a group of Le Leche League women. These women welcomed me with open arms and spoke very openly about going to sleep together with your baby, long term breast feeding and holding your baby in your arms for as long as you liked. I was enchanted. As a result, I adopted the "Continuum Concept" long before it was translated into Hebrew. It was at this stage of my life that I began the journey towards my femininity.
In 1993 I gave birth to my daughter Omer, who was my second child. I gave birth to her here, in Israel. I approached the birth confident that I knew what I was doing. I approached the birth calm and serene, sure that I had everything under control. Yet, once I arrived at the hospital, I was faced with a hostile, strict and regimented environment. I was forced to use precious energy, in order to fight for what I believed in and to do things my way. I finally managed to do things the way I thought was right. I experienced a natural birth, thereby taking control over my own body. For example, I insisted on squatting, while giving birth, instead of lying flat on my back. I left the hospital knowing that I would have to take an active part in changing the concept of birthing in Israel, with the knowledge that things could be done differently.
A few months after giving birth, I participated in a Lamaze instructor course run by the "Israel Childbirth Education Centre". Later, I became a childbirth instructor and a breastfeeding instructor. I organized nursing programs for professionals from the Meir Hospital and I worked towards promoting breastfeeding in hospitals and baby clinics around the country. At the same time, together with Gila Ronal and Alma Cohen – Vardi, I wrote the book "Tivei Laledet", translated into English as Natural Birth. The book was published by Keter.
In 1997, I gave birth to my son Ma'ayan. Ma'ayan is my third child, who was born at home. Having a home birth was my way of putting into practice everything I had learned and was trying to promote.
Throughout this period, yoga became a central part of my life. Through yoga, I learned that the only permanent thing in my life was …….change. Slowly, through a personal process of digging deeply into my being and taking a very good look at what was there, did I learn to see these changes through my pelvis. The very first time I heard the concept Moola Bandha, I was enchanted. From this point on, I began a journey of discovery and falling in love.
Core muscles became the centre of my life.
When I was in America, the Le Leche women told me about an extremely unique form of contraception – their bodies. At that time, I did not really take any notice of what they were trying to tell me. Yet, after my second birth, I approached Michal Shonbron, who teaches the fertility awareness method of birth control, and an entirely new world appeared before me. A new language in which to approach my body was introduced to me. The menstrual cycle, used as a means of contraception, was introduced to me. Since then, whenever my life has enabled me to, I have used this method of contraception. The understanding that a woman's body undergoes immense energetic changes before she menstruates began to affect the way I perceived my yoga practice, thereby demanding changes within the practice and within my everyday life. The woman, who is considered the centre of the home, had gained new understanding.
Over time, I read many articles and books dealing with the subject and I was glad to find scientific evidence proving that women do undergo immense hormonal changes throughout their monthly cycle and throughout the various stages of their life. The more time passed, the more I realised that in order to heal ourselves we have to be able to listen to and be aware of these changes.
I began to incorporate yoga into my childbirth and pregnancy classes. After giving birth, the young mothers showed an interest in continuing with these meetings. This is how yoga for mothers and babies was born. In these yoga classes, the mothers practiced yoga, while their infants accompanied them. Later on, the babies grew up, yet the mothers continued to come to the yoga lessons. They fell pregnant once more and the cycle repeated itself. The women continued to practice yoga between their pregnancies, or after they had finished giving birth. Many women brought their friends to practice yoga with them, particularly those who were finding it difficult to fall pregnant. Miraculously, many of these women managed to fall pregnant and the rumour that women who practice "Women's Yoga" fall pregnant spread.
Something was obviously doing the trick. I call that something the secret of the pelvis: the language of the Moola Bandha.
Over the years, more and more women have shared their secrets with me. Through trial and error, a lot of deep introspection and listening to our bodies, we managed to learn. Together we listened to the migraines these women were experiencing, if they occurred before their period or during their time of menstruation, and we tried to find ways to ease the suffering. Together we listened to their period pain, we asked ourselves what could they mean and might there be a way to ease this pain. Women, going through fertility treatments allowed me to share their secrets with them. They shared insights of their history and their deepest feelings. We tried to confront these feelings by listening to our pelvis and conducting a dialogue with it. Women, who were experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, or those whose periods had stopped altogether, allowed me to share their deepest feelings and emotions. Together we tried to work out why they were experiencing the symptoms that that they were. We also tried to adapt a yoga practice which was beneficial to them. A yoga practice which strengthened and balanced the pelvis. We tried to understand how our relationship with our mothers, our fathers, our place in the family, our choice of career, our choice of partner, etc. could affect our physical and mental well being. How these relationships could affect our inability to conceive. We learned how to listen to things which came up by keeping score of everything that happens in a diary and by doing intuitive writing. By writing things down, we could learn to relate to and follow deep messages hidden within our subconscious, within our bodies and within our souls.
As the days, months and years went by, I came to the conclusion that the type of yoga we were practicing was different. It flowed more and dealt more with movements suitable to women and not with how precise the movement was. This kind of yoga deals with core muscles and deep feelings. These are the things which stand at the heart of this type of yoga, a yoga form dedicated to the specific needs of the female body, heart and soul. I believe that this type of yoga is a true gift to any person who chooses to practice it.
In order to do "Yoga Nashit" - "Mira yoga for women's helth" - you do not have to be supple, thin or even have any previous yoga experience. The only thing you need to do is to take an interest in the ever changing female body, to understand what you are going through and how, with the help of certain tools, you can cause significant change.
I would like to thank all those amazing women, who took a leap of faith in the method,
believing in it and adopting it as a life changing experience
I would like to fervently thank all those remarkable "Yoga Nashit" teachers in Israel,
who have given so much of themselves to helping develop,
expand and cause this method to blossom and thrive