Japanese merge of water and airWe are not like blocks of ice…We are like water flowing freely…When we are in accordance with this…it is possible for us to understand the death, the pain, the happiness of another as our own.¹

Soko Morinaga Roshi, Zen master 

   

Yoga practice gives us a way to feel our integration with everything. Pregnancy and Birth are times when our fluid nature becomes obvious. One day to the next, one minute to the next, our bodies transform. Our children grow inside us, not through our will but through our receptivity to the strength of life. They are born out of the same unwavering softness. 

We are the container and the contained. We breathe, rocking our babies in constant motion. They swim in the warmth of our waters; the beat of our hearts and the pulse of our blood have always been. When we give birth, we are born too.

Life moves to life. Water draws birthing women, simultaneously providing freedom and containment. Submerging yourself in warm water significantly reduces the pain of opening. Your own bathtub is a splendid place to be. If you are planning to give birth at home, renting a birthing pool gives you more room and allows you to keep the water temperature stable. Giving birth in water can make a spontaneous, gentle birth more likely. In Toronto, Eliana Trinaistic  is a dependable source for pool rentals. Many hospitals now have jacuzzi tubs in their labour and delivery rooms.  Barbara Harper has pioneered the modern use of water for birth. Her film ‘Birth into Being: The Russian Waterbirth Experience’ is a beautiful document of women freely giving birth.

A few days ago a pregnant client asked me what the source of her drinking water should be. While we might be able to control aspects of what we take in, ultimately there is no separation between us and the world. The state of our lakes and rivers and the air we breathe is mirrored in our bodies, our babies and the milk in our breasts. Sandra Steingraber, an ecologist, realized that when she became pregnant, “I myself had become a habitat.” ² Through the course of her pregnancy and early motherhood she wrote a book  rich in detail, scientific rigour and hope. Having Faith offers insight into navigating the toxicity present in our world. 

Inger Whist is a friend of mine who has created a visually beautiful, multilayered blogsite about current water issues. I can meander there for hours, images and ideas linking and sparking.

Water’s strength is in its softness. We are like water. 

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¹Soko Morinaga, Novice to Master, an ongoing lesson in the extent of my own stupidity, trans. Belenda Attaway Yamakawa (Boston: Wisdom Publications,2002) p.127

²Sandra Steingraber, Having Faith, An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2001) p.ix