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Heart of Birth presents a
Rebozo Workshop with Isabel Perez
Learn how to use a rebozo, a Guatemalan/Mexican shawl, to support a woman during labour. It’s like having another set of hands! The rebozo can be used in any birthing environment to relax the mother, ease her pain and help with the positioning of her baby. This will be an interactive workshop with plenty of time to practice techniques, ask questions and get an introduction to the skills and understanding of traditional midwifery.
Sunday, October 14th, 2012
10:00am to 3:00pm
Eka Yoga Centre, 473A Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C5
(south of Wellesley Street)
Please bring a flat bed sheet to practice with!
Some beautiful woolen rebozos from Guatemala will be available for sale; they can also be ordered through Isabel.
To register contact Crescence: firstname.lastname@example.org; 416.994.4566
Isabel Perez has helped women give birth over the last 33 years. She trained as a midwife with the renowned Ina May Gaskin, author of Spiritual Midwifery and recipient of ‘The Right Livelihood Award’ in 2011, known as the ‘Alternate Nobel Prize’. Isabel worked with Ina May for four years on The Farm in Tennessee before moving to Toronto, where she continued to practice midwifery for eleven years, until 1993. Since then, she has served women as a doula. Isabel grew up in Guatemala, where the seed of her spiritual understanding was planted by her great-grandmother, a Mayan midwife, and her father, a shaman. It flowers now in her birth work and teaching. For more of Isabel’s story: https://heartofbirth.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/isabel-perez-a-life-in-birth/
Twenty-two years ago, I bought a copy of Spiritual Midwifery at the original Big Carrot, a small wooden floored health food store on the south side of the Danforth. The book was filled with pictures of long haired hippies and accounts of their birth stories. It blew my mind. When I finished it, I knew that someday I wanted to give birth at home with midwives. Two years later, I did. Ina May’s presence in my life has continued. My midwife, Mary Sharpe, is friends with her, and Isabel Perez, my back-up over the last eighteen years, trained as a midwife with her and worked with her for four years before coming to Toronto. When I was just beginning to attend births, Isabel and I drove down to Tennessee in a van filled with midwives and midwifery students to take part in a conference that was hosted by Ina May and the Farm. I learned a ton and felt like I had had a little taste of living American history.
Yoga understands that you are Mother, the source and force of LIfe. Connected to your power, you will know in your very bones how to give birth. Learn the principles of breath and movement that forge this connection. In the deep denial of the Feminine that still defines our world, this knowledge is missing from much of our current Yoga education. Like a wave in rhythmic flow, breathing, moving, meditation and life are a seamless process. Through it, you develop the strength to receive life and give birth… in peace and love.
Isabel Perez has been my friend over the last fifteen years. Her life encompasses the ancient and modern, the rural and urban, South and North America. Birth has always been at the centre of Isabel’s life. She lives within an effortless recognition that the seen is evidence of the unseen, that heaven and earth are one condition.
Isabel was born in Guatemala to Mayan parents. Her great-grandmother was a nodrisa, a traditional midwife. Her father was a shaman. After the devastating earthquake in 1976, Isabel, her husband and children were brought to the U.S. by Ina May Gaskin, a pioneering midwife, now world renowned. Isabel trained and worked with Ina May for four years on The Farm in Tennessee. She contributed to a community whose way of handling birth resulted in a caesarean rate of only 1.4% amongst 2,028 women from 1970 to 2000. Home was the environment for 95.1% of the births. Isabel then moved to Toronto where she practiced midwifery until it was integrated into the Ontario health care system in 1993. Subsequently, Isabel has worked as a doula.
What follows is some of the conversation we had in her kitchen this past May. The sounds of living accompanied our talk: splashing water running from the kitchen sink, rice being washed, boiled and stirred; tea being poured; spoons touching bowls; our swallows. Isabel cooked and shared a breakfast of rice pudding while she carried the thread of her narrative. These sounds place her story in the current of daily life. Hear them as you read!
Crescence Krueger What is the most powerful thing that you bring to a birth?
Isabel Perez Confidence. Peace. Love. And trust. Those are the words my clients use, eh? So I’m just repeating them. I have a very simple personality. And that works for me almost everywhere. It’s very simple, the way that I work. Very simple. You have seen.
CK That’s what I love. Read the rest of this entry »