In less than two months I will be in Nepal. I will be meeting the mother, babies, and midwives of the APS Birth Centre in Kathmandu. I will be learning from them, with them and about them, about birth in Kathmandu, about midwives in Kathmandu, about life for families in Kathmandu. Follow me on this blog as I write about it and upload pictures for you.
I’m not ashamed to admit it.
There’s obviously no sexual connection between my child and myself. Sensual, yes. What’s not sensual about two humans with skin-to-skin contact, one sucking the others breast? But young children are sensual by nature. They love to be held close, rocked, diapered bottoms patted to sleep, hair stroked after every boo-boo.
First let me say, I have compassion for all mothers, no matter what…
Breastfeeding has always been near and dear to my heart. I attended my first birth at the age of 22 and became a Certified Professional Midwife, named “Best Midwife” by Dallas Child Magazine. I taught three-hour breastfeeding classes to couples at prestigious hospitals across Texas, yet I’d never breastfeed a baby or even had a baby for that matter.
Something stirred in my soul while in grad school in Boston in my early twenties when I learned about the benefits of eco-friendly nursing and natural birth. At the very least, the right to choose resonated with me, as homebirth midwifery is still illegal 12 states and alegal (not regulated either way) in 13 states.
A published, well-respected midwife was arrested this very morning in Indiana, taken from her home in her pajamas, and charged with a felony for delivering a baby at home with a normal, healthy outcome.
The right to choose to breastfeed may not be so obvious. Breastfeeding is free and infant formula is an eight-billion-dollar a year industry, which amounts to two-million-dollars a day!
With that kind of advertising budget, how could Nestle not convince third world countries to use their well needed resources on formula, which are inevitably mixed with contaminated water and stretched thin to last, killing thousands of babies? I signed the Nestle Boycott 10 years ago and to this day refrain from their products, including my formerly beloved, Nestle’s Crunch Bar.
Quick and easy biology lesson:
However much milk comes out, your body knows to produce exactly that much more for the next feeding.
How the formula companies prey on your motherly biology:
If I can convince her she should supplement with formula, her body won’t know she did it and will make less milk each feeding.
This leads to the common, “I just didn’t produce enough milk” syndrome. Clinically, less than 3% of women don’t produce enough milk. So where are all these dry, milk-less mothers in droves coming from?
The hospitals, which have formula readily available and seemingly doctor condoned in to-go bags! What you don’t know is formula is donated free to hospitals. Formula companies know the best chance they’ve got to secure a year-long, repeat customer is the first few days, when lactation is being established in its delicate dance with nature.
The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative was developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to assist US hospitals to stop their practices harmful to breastfeeding. To get this designation, the hospital could no longer accept free formula. It’s the number one reason most of them can’t get this highly sought after recognition. They can’t afford to let go of the financial assistance.
At six months, my daughter and I reached the milestone set by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states a baby should be exclusively breastfed until six months of age. This means for the first six months of life, a baby can and should live off breastmilk alone; no juice, no formula, no cereal, no water.
By one year, we had, painstakingly at times, reached the AAP’s conservative recommendation to breastfeed at least one year, then as long as it’s mutually agreed upon.
By year two, we had reached the World Health Organization’s recommendation of nursing for at least two years, then as long as it’s mutually agreed upon.
By year seven, well, the rest is history…
No matter where you find yourself in the world,you find yourself in the world. So why not celebrate the world this April on Earth Day?
Spring Equinox is freshly passed. The Serpent of Light swirled for the thousands that gathered at Chitzen Itza in Maya Tulum, Mexico.
It seems as if the world isn’t ending this year–in 2012–after all, so let’s all party!
As I look out my farmhouse window, I wish with my daughter on the “wishing star” with our melodic voices in unison:
“Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.”
It’s come to my attention that I’ve been wishing all week on Venus and Saturn. Does this count? I seem to have misplaced the rulebook on life once again. I’ve thrown out some hearty wishes lately and my little girl would really apparently like to see her kitty cat again.
So I’ve come to my Earthly senses and decided that, instead of throwing my desires to these planetary posers, I’m going to put a little love into the planet that’s been making my dreams come true for 32 years: The Earth, which grows my herb garden and inspired the name of my beloved daughter, Sage Pilar.
The Earth’s rivers and oceans, from whom all blessings flow, which adorned our table tonight with fresh fish as it has so many joyous family gatherings before.
The Earth’s majestic mountains that have given me memories of wedding vows in the rocky snow, lost traversing through the French Pyrenees on a pilgrimage of love, and standing on a Colorado Mountaintop overlooking the Continental Divide in all in vastness and wonder.
It’s given us our summer memories in Grandma’s backyard garden; then, as we‘ve evolved, our own backyard and community gardens. Who do you think makes all those gorgeous delicacies when you walk through the doors of Whole Foods when wafts of floral melt troubles in a sea of colorful samples of organic produce?
The Earth gives foodies their beloved hobby of eating fine and exotic foods, and their cult-like heroes of Anthony Bourdain and the local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farmers.
The Earth has given us inspiration for our yoga poses from which we draw strength, power, peace and manifestation, not only in the form of the elements and but from its creatures that give sustenance, love, beauty and life:
Dogs facing all ways and in all stages of life, Fish, Dolphin, Crane, Frog, Cobra, Eagle, Pigeon, Peacock, Locust, Firefly, Firelog, Cat, Cow, Lion, Camel, Tree, Lotus, Mountain, Happy Baby, Child, even Corpse.
Each pose strikes a chord with me, a body memory, an issue I’ve worked through in my energetic body. I’m reminded of a passage I read today in my seven year, slow musing of the classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.
Mahatma Gandhi speaks of his passion of the protection of cows, which he always kept grazing close by.
“The cow to me means the entire sub-human world, extending man’s sympathies beyond his own species… She is the giver of plenty. Not only did she give milk, but she made agriculture possible… She is the second mother to millions of mankind… Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” As a nursing mother, I can compassionately relate.
So let’s honor our Earth in all its complexity and generosity. Family friendly festivals will be held around the world, and as a Tadasana Festival Ambassador, I especially invite you on a sacred journey to experience yoga, music, ocean and mountains at their finest in Santa Monica, California, April 20-22.
***USE DISCOUNT CODE BENDIBABY until April 1st on 3 day passes to this unparalleled fete.
A gathering is coming on Earth Day Weekend 2012 in Santa Monica, CA.
Yoga, Music, Yummy Health Food, Family Friendly, All My Favorite Yoga Peeps…
Including the lovely, Ms Shiva Rea, of course!
Join us and use the code BendiBaby for a $50 discount by April 1st!
A special yoga and music festival will be happening over Earth Day Weekend (April 20 – 22) in Santa Monica.
The Tadasana Festival of Yoga and Music is a 3-day transformative experience on the beach in Santa Monica, CA. Tadasana’s impressive line up of the yoga world’s favorite teachers include Shiva Rea, Seane Corn, Baron Baptiste, Bryan Kest, Saul David Raye, Elena Brower, Steve Ross, Sianna Sherman, Kia Miller, Kathryn Budig and many others. Musicians featured include Karsh Kale, Jai Uttal, MC Yogi, Wah!, DJ Cheb I Sabbah, Steve Gold, Shaman’s Dream and Masood Ali Khan.
Yoga teacher Tommy Rosen and world music impresario Fabian Alsultany conceived of the Tadasana Festival over a long period of time. Says Rosen, “We thought that it would be exceptional to bring a large-scale yoga/music festival to Los Angeles, the largest yoga market in the world. The special twist is that while you practice yoga with a world-class teacher, there will be a live ensemble of musicians from cultures across the globe. It is a fully improvised collaboration that unites the ever-growing and diversifying practice of yoga with internationally acclaimed musicians in a fully improvised collaboration between the master teachers and renowned artists. We do not believe this has ever happened in this way. The significance of bringing it to Los Angeles is not lost on us.”
Offering 100+ classes and workshops with live, in-class musical performances by artists from around the world, the Tadasana Festival will also offer lectures, an organic food court and eco-conscious shopping, all in an outstanding location at the edge of the beach facing the Pacific Ocean near the famed Santa Monica pier.
If you love music and love yoga, we invite you to join us as we stand together over Earth Day Weekend celebrating all the things that make life worth living! Get your tickets now at tadasanafestival.com.
+++ DON’T FORGET TO USE CODE: BENDIBABY FOR $50 DISCOUNT +++
One fine day on a trip to Sydney, Australia, I made a purchase that changed my life forever. Lululemon’s Manifesto, which consists of 31 “rules” to live by and are printed on each bag that comes with wick sweating luon purchases…I decided then and there, by the Opera House, I would live by these rules!`
A lot happened from Rule #1 to #20. But it’s what happened in living by Lululemon Athletica’s Rule #21 that stopped me from going to #22 and made me quickly read the fine print to see if I could escape without giving up my firstborn.
Rule #21: “Dance, Sing, Floss & Travel”
I’m still unsure why these four sacred tasks are lumped together, but whatever, I’m in Australia. I’m singing in the shower. I have a trophy in my attic from an award I won in junior high for “Best Dancer.” I’m pretty sure they made up the category just to so I wouldn’t be left out and back then I was bound to go on tour with Britney Spears (I’m still not willing to give that dream up, she’s making another comeback, ya know).
So I’m dancing. I’m taking Natarajasana, Lord of the Dance Pose, to new cosmic, cultish heights.
And I’m flossing!
This is where my new straight-and-narrow-way-of-life takes a turn for the worst. How can flossing be a bad idea? My dentist and I are still asking that same question. He said he’s never seen someone because they had flossed too much, only the other way around.
I had literally flossed one of my fillings out of my mouth, then was forced to crawl around on my hands and knees for an hour to find it because my motherly instincts told me it was a choking hazard for my one-year-old.
No matter the spiritual path you take in life, it usually attempts to teach universal truths, and more importantly, it teaches you about yourself. I saw a t-shirt recently that said “On Step Four.” Apparently that’s an inside joke for people working a 12 Step Program because Step Four, which states:
“Made a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Myself”
tends to stop people dead in their tracks…
I’ve lived a full life, in many big cities…and in the county. I’ve traveled to 14 countries at last count and my 2-year-old has been to six. I adore cities, with all their vitality and energy, art and complexity.
But I find myself living on our family farm in Arkansas today. My little girl just brought me 4 dozen eggs she harvested herself in her bare feet from the neighbor’s (and by neighbor, I mean other house in a field a mile down the gravel road) chicken coop. We just caught to wild birds that had flown in our farmhouse and set them free with squeals of laughter and now she lays sleeping, possibly dreaming of the mama possum and her babies she found earlier.
I’ve always struggled with dichotomies in my life, but here in God’s country and with a steady yoga practice, I’m learning the delicate balance of my loves. To embrace my dichotomies as what makes me who I am.
My fellow yoga teacher and friend, Holland Taylor: Arkansas yoga instructor by day, New York City thespian by night…is learning and teaching us about this common internal struggle in her blog: CountyGalCityGal.
Read her latest article on finding her way and community in the NYC yoga world…
I lost a loved one recently and learned a lot about life with the help of my yoga teacher and through my practice. She also learned a lot from me and wrote this article… So down and enjoy! Namaste…
I laid a friend to rest yesterday; a young friend, at the ripe old age of 30. Moments like these make you question everything in life: your path, your love, your philosophy, your faith, even your yoga practice…
In everyday life, I’m certain that my practice has sustained me and given me an amazing quality of life. It generates a mindfulness and presence that fills my days with loving moments. It’s given me a strong foundation in who I am, a stability which keeps me centered when the whole world in swirling around and balance that allows me to safely enjoy a little bit of everything life has to offer…
In yoga, we mimic the life cycle, from child’s pose to corpse pose, but what about the taboo subject that balances out life. What about dealing with death?
I went to yoga that night. Is it appropriate or respectful to stand on my head and flow through a Namaskar while mourning the loss of a loved one? I decided to go because it was a safe place to find solace…
Haven’t we all found ourselves on our mat in the studio, with the comfort of wooden hardwoods beneath us? Knowing you’ll sit in quiet reference, never explaining yourself to the silent person just inches away from you. It seems there was a pact created some time ago where we could just quietly be human together in this tradition of yoga…
And no matter the studio, there is a sublime quality in each one. Namastes have been uttered by thousands in each room. “The Higher Power in me honors the Higher Power in you” has blessed the room so many times, that although we boldly claim yoga is no religion, when you enter the studio, it can feel like holy land…
Tears have been shed in savasana. Intentions have been silently held in hearts and minds. Bodies have pushed themselves to their limits for the sake of a million different personal agendas….
Spiritual Law from a Fashionista Turned Yoganista…
I used to be a Dallas Socialite in a former life. I had an alias. Blahnik, as in Manonlo the Italian Shoe God, only to be used when the clock struck midnight and strange things like Porsches turned into pumpkins and water into Dom Perignon in private local celebrity wine cellars.
Today, I’m going with the alias Yoganista, part guru, part girly girl.
I’ll tell you my crazy credentials in a humble manner, only to add street credit to the following tantric fashion rules I’ve put into place. Regulations I intend to give citations upon utter disobedience. Since you no longer have an ego being a yogi, I know you won’t mind when I call you out during class.
Yoganista Rule #1:
Don’t wash your black yoga pants (or any super-cult luon for that matter) with white towels. It’s annoying to you, it’s annoying to the type A who got a pumpkin in their face during a close quarters Prasarita Padottanasana (wide legged forward bend). And while the picking of 1008 white tiny lent balls may be meditative, it seems you’ve got fleas to the next table at the hippy coffee shop.
Yoganista Rule #2: Read full article here on Elephant Journal…
I don’t look in the mirror often. Not on my average, stay-at-home mom day, where I still wear Juicy Couture track pants like its 2007 and I repeat common phrases to my two-year-old in French 90 times a day…
Not on my average, work-at-home mom day, where PBS’s educational cartoons entertain my child with promises that local libraries are cool while my professional brain spreads intelligent love vibes about my new baby yoga mat around the world from my Mac. The 1,000 people that read my social media blitz yesterday had no idea I had green glue on my face and play dough in my hair from our frog art lesson…
Then one day, my two-year-old daughter (and new best friend) said something that took my breath away…