We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to yoga teacher Clearlight Gerald.
Clearlight Gerald (MA, E-RYT, RPYT) is a professional level certified Kripalu yoga and pregnancy yoga teacher and has been teaching Pregnancy Yoga, Childbirth Preparation for Couples and Mama Baby Yoga in Montreal since 1999. Clearlight has also been personal witness to the dramatic benefits of yoga in her own life as a yoga practitioner of over 25 years and as a mother herself of twin daughters.
How would you describe your job in just one sentence?
I provide women and couples a context in which to both develop practices that help navigate the joys and challenges of birthing and parenting with greater ease – and a direct experience of connecting to a deep place of well-being within themselves.
What made you want to be a yoga teacher?
I came to yoga as a young adult looking for relief from anxiety and chronic fatigue. Not only were these problems resolved, but the practice and teachings of yoga and meditation have transformed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined … bringing insight and a capacity to be at peace with all of life. I am motivated by the joy and transformation I see in others with whom I have the privilege to share these practices and teachings, to be able to share the very teachings that have so radically benefitted my life and to witness the unfolding of the benefits in other people’s lives. I really do feel that the practice of yoga makes the world a better place for everyone.
How can expectant or new parents benefit from your services?
There are many layers of benefits that the classes and workshops can offer expectant and new parents. The prenatal yoga classes support a comfortable and healthy pregnancy and help relieve common discomforts, and also relieve stress and anxiety that so often accompanies the transitions of welcoming a new baby. Expectant moms also learn specific practices and tools to prepare for childbirth, including essential breathing techniques for labour, and meditative techniques that allow for greater ease and harmony with the unfolding of labour and delivery. The workshops for expectant couples give both parents the chance to learn and practice these breathing and meditative techniques, and in addition practice advantageous positions for labour and delivery – and the father/partner is empowered with ways to step into the role of birth partner in a way that is active and truly helpful. In the postpartum classes, women come together in community – sharing in postpartum exercises to reclaim strength and baby massage for babies. In all the classes the emphasis is placed on giving expectant and new parents tools to meet real life, to create the most favourable circumstances for vibrant health and well-being – and to create the space of welcoming and a positive environment within which pregnancy, birth and parenting unfolds.
What happens at your first meeting with a new or expectant parent?
The classes have an immediate effect … we learn experientially, and dive right into accessible movements and breathing exercises. Everyone is encouraged to take things at their own pace, and the pace of the class is relaxed – many women feel immediate relief from common discomforts from the first practice, and everyone leaves feeling relaxed and energized.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your field?
Many people think that they need experience in yoga or need to be somewhat flexible to benefit from the classes – this is not the case! The practice is accessible and equally beneficial to beginners to yoga and those experienced in yoga as they give tools and practices that are helpful and applicable to real life circumstances, regardless of past experience or physical condition. Many women fall in love with the practice and continue on in the ‘regular not-pregnant’ classes that I teach, which are filled with parents in need of their own nourishment and balance.
What do you love most about working with new and expectant parents?
Pregnancy and birth is such a reminder to me of the preciousness of life. I absolutely love sharing tools, perspectives and practices that give people the tools to navigate this journey of parenthood with a greater trust and confidence in themselves, and in the journey itself!