“Pregnant Yoga–More Than Just Pretty Poses” by Special Guest Camella Nair

Via Bob Weisenberg
on Sep 13, 2010
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I’m pleased to welcome to Elephant special guest Camella Nair, author of Prenatal Kriya Yoga: Mystical Wisdom in Pregnancy and Motherhood. 

Pregnant Yoga–More Than Just Pretty Poses

by Camella Nair (Swami Nibhrtananda)

     “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” –Oscar Wilde

Why is it that from the incredibly powerful and potentially life changing science of yoga, what most women seek from the ancient tradition when they are pregnant is simply ….asana?

 Heavy and pretty young women in yoga poses adorn prenatal books and magazine articles and yet the importance of this pivotal moment in a woman’s maturation seems to be worth little if any deep philosophical discussion at all. 

 All too often I see a myriad of faces from many far flung places of origin in a yoga class, and yet they have to a large extent all been subject to mankind’s major dilemma….Ayidya,  or forgetfulness of one’s true nature. The mind has become trapped within the vestibule of the heart that has been hardened by ones reaction or perception of past experiences in their family group.

 In this instance exoterically forgetfulness of what child birth is going to be like, but more than that esoterically. What motherhood and parenting will really look like for them! There is no question that having a baby will change your life, and life as you know it will never be the same as it was as a carefree adult.  Not necessarily better or worse …just different.

The problem is that without any conscious attempt to rework the kinks in the mind that we all have and known as our glorious ego personality, we will tend to perpetuate the insanity of our karmic family and/or cultural group. Many may think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with their family group or culture, or perhaps that they will not make the same parenting mistakes that their parents made. But the odds are stacked against that being the case due to a morphogenic resonance where like attracts like. A child of an alcoholic for example is four times more likely to become an alcoholic. What culture of civilization is without flaws?     

Oscar Wilde’s famous comment contains the seed to truth that takes us back to the “pristine snows of yesteryear” as my Paramguru likes to say. When we knew the rita or order of the Universe. When we knew that ‘Mother’ as a Universal symbol meant ‘Life’ with a capitol ‘L’ and with that the ability to remember, because it is our birth right to experience, learn and grow to be spiritually mature. The only way to become enlightened is through the experience of the physical body and so the birth mother knowingly or unknowingly has blessed the incarnating soul more than they know.

 Why then do most people only practice pre-natal asana rather than try to heal their hurts or resentment within their existing karmic group? And especially with the woman who gave them life?

 Mother and Mother in-Law’s are the reason that a given couple were able to fulfill their karmic destiny anyway. Even if the birth mother is not still living, much can be done in the way of inner rituals which can let go of emotional gripping that may have been around since childhood. This release of emotional gripping before taking on the role of motherhood is a way to ensure that the resonant karmic trait is not passed on to the next generation. In this way, mankind can actually evolve by becoming more compassionate, less fearful and judgmental of themselves and of others.

 Pretty poses done whilst pregnant can be a great way to manage the changing body but more than that we need to look inside the mind at the not so pretty mind patterns that will cause us to trip up and parent ‘automatically’ as opposed to consciously. The experience of parenting is the University of the soul for the householder. 

A ritual of forgiveness is most powerful when done at a new moon and repeated for 2 weeks until the full moon. It can be as simple as sitting quietly and thanking your birth mother for giving you the opportunity to become a mother yourself whilst forgiving her for any parenting mistakes (in your mind) that you think she may have made in the past. Then asking her for forgiveness for any hurt or anguish you may have brought to her (in your mind) whist growing up.  Even if you are not really sorry at first, the repetition and meaning behind the inner ritual will create the necessary balancing in the astral that will help to soften your relationships in the future and as well as the past from within your particular family group.

This is ‘Pre’ prenatal yoga, and to my mind something that we need to work on months or even years before any incarnating soul begins to circumnavigate our astral spine looking for a vehicle to help deliver their karma.

Camella Nair (Swami Nibhrtananda)

Yoga has been Camella’s passion for over 25 years. As a certified instructor for the past six, she has traveled, studied, and taught in India, England, and throughout the United States.  She offers classes in every aspect of yoga, including vinyasa yoga, aqua yoga, pre-natal yoga, ayurvedic yoga, and meditation. 

A direct disciple in the Kriya lineage, Camella’s roots in yoga began with her Guru, Enoch Dasa Giri, and Parmahansa Yogananda. She is ordained a Swami (i.e. “she who knows the Self“) by the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago.

Camella enjoys volunteering her services at a local hospice and has a natural love of chanting and kirtan. She teaches courses for every level, from beginner’s yoga to yoga teacher training. Her success as a teacher can be credited in part to her irrepressible sense of humor and to her keen sensitivity to the needs of each of her students.


About Bob Weisenberg

Bob Weisenberg: Editor, Best of Yoga Philosophy / Former Assoc. Publisher, elephant journal / Author: Yoga Demystified * Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell * Leadership Is Like Tennis, Not Egyptology / Co-editor: Yoga in America (free eBook) / Creator: Gita Talk: Self-paced Online Seminar / Flamenco guitarist: "Live at Don Quijote" & "American Gypsy" (Free CD's) / Follow Bob on facebook, Twitter, or his main site: Wordpress.


3 Responses to ““Pregnant Yoga–More Than Just Pretty Poses” by Special Guest Camella Nair”

  1. candicegarrett says:

    I often think that all of the greater lessons of yoga philosophy are embodied by the pregnant woman, from questioning the ego to mindfulness to pranayama during labor and ultimately (as I experienced) the possibility of union during the last stages of labor. My experience in pregnancy and labor, for me, was profoundly yogic. I think the possibility for women to get this during their journey is immense and I love to hear that other people are seeing the beautiful opportunity there as well. Asana during pregnancy, for me, was used only to relieve painful pregnancy symptoms. The practice was ALL upstairs. I love Camella and this article!

  2. camella nair says:

    Good comments girls. I think that we are all on the path and there is only one path. The one for each individual. Candice and I have been blessed with deep and insightful experiences in pregnancy and labor that have enabled us to teach pregnancy yoga on a deeper level to those who are interested. Not all are, and that is just fine. Everyone has their own timing mechanism. I am not sure if you are a teacher Carol, but if you are you know that many mothers come to hatha yoga just to ease out some ache in the body, do an exercise regime that is safe and perhaps learn to relax a little. That is great if that is all that they want. What I am saying is that the science of yoga can help the yogini to unravel the mysteries of life. Actually, many people who have purchased the book don't have kids, or have grown up kids who have flown the nest. I think I have come to a point in my life where I have recognized that I want to be the master of my universe. I, and I alone create the nightmare or garden I find myself in. I want to look at my faults (which are many) and try to improve my personality, and do the most good I can in this lifetime. Why?, because if I truly want to become enlightened (and I do) I know that I have to plan ahead. Not 1 year of 10 years ahead, but 7 lifetimes…at least. At some point it means that a woman will want to know more about why a child chose her and the karmic link and how we can best parent that child. Not everyone will want to read my book and that is up to the individual. I personally refuse to be knee deep in dirty diapers and ignore the reasons why, but that is my own personal view…for me. I know that there are many women out there who are not finding joy in pregnancy or motherhood and that makes me sad. They will not be attuned to my book necessarlity. When I come across a student I try to give them what they want and at that point if they are depressed, they probably are not in a place where they want me to talk about what they may need. I think most students however, enjoy hatha yoga or they would not come to class. I have seen many marriages break up after the kids are born as the couple cannot agree how to raise the child because of the family and cultural references and I think what I am trying to advocate more that anything is that we need to begin prenatal yoga even before we get pregnant with a child. How about pregnant with an idea? Now that is advanced yoga in action. I can will to create what I want to create but I had better make darn sure that I can sustain my self-awareness to not get lost in the extended family karma. As for the cash, life becomes simpler and one can live on less as they become more self-aware because they are not allured by things so much. Yoga classes are expensive in studio's typically and that is one of the reasons why I teach many classes at YMCA's. Drop in's are just $10, and scholarships are often given.