I have just come from my early morning yoga class and felt it was time to share with you, on this lovely cmap blog, a little about what I am doing here. I am very pleased to be running some yoga classes at ACER Brasil and even more pleased that attendance has been growing and growing. Word is certainly out and there is a fantastic range of people coming through the ACER doors, some very early in the morning; 7.30am to be exact, to bend and breathe and connect with their bodies. The youngest attendee is five years old and the oldest, well it would be impolite to write her age but let’s just say she is a proud grandmother with a very young and vibrant spirit!!
We now have five sessions running a week: two early morning classes and two afternoon classes that are free to the community and are for all ages and abilities. The fifth class is for a group called Grupo Terapêutico para Adolescentes Grávidas -Group Therapy for Pregnant Teens. This group aims to provide pregnant teenagers with support and practical information surrounding pregnancy, birth and motherhood.
The idea for this group has been in the pipe line for some time now, almost three years, awaiting vital funding. However, in the absence of such funding materializing, ACER Brasil has very bravely decided to go ahead with the group regardless, recognizing that it is necessary, worthwhile and much needed work. The extent to which it is so valuable presents itself more and more as the program goes on. It is becoming apparent that the far-reaching effects of teaching soon-to-be mothers how to connect with their bodies and their babies is beyond measure. The majority of pregnant teenagers here are themselves from a long line of teenage mothers and it is not only females of teenage mothers who are likely to become teen parents, boys too are likely to become fathers at tender teenage years.
Andresa, the wonderful lady who takes this group, advises the girls on pregnancy and motherhood; the importance of having a healthy diet whilst pregnant and breast feeding, what to expect at different stages of pregnancy and birth, practical skills for when the baby arrives as well as giving emotional and psychological support. The emphasis is on vital mothering skills that may have been somewhat lost down the line.
During this weekly group I lead a gentle 30 minute yoga session specifically designed to be safe for all three trimesters. The yoga is gentle and focuses mainly on breath and slow movements to alleviate lower back pains and other pains associated with pregnancy. The main aim is to connect the girls with the baby that grows inside them. They are active young girls who perhaps do not always get the opportunity to stop and relax or just be at one with their bodies and take the time to appreciate all the remarkable things that are going on within them. This half an hour of yoga allows them this time and space just to let the mind be totally focused on themselves and their baby alone.
The yoga has had some wonderful feedback from the girls who have found that the breathing has helped with pregnancy pains and relaxation. Andresa has said that she already sees a progression in the girls awareness of their bodies too and a growth in their connection with their unborn child.
This is a really inspiring project to be involved in and I feel very privileged to be part of it. The plan is for the group to carry on meeting for two years so that there will be a nice follow on through pregnancy, birth and the early years of the girls children’s lives. It will be fascinating to see the impact this sort of support and outside nurture will have and hopefully there will be more incentive for funders to come forward and support this incredibly insightful work that is being done here at ACER Brasil.