Yoga Retreat
Mother As First Guru ( By Swami Gurupremananda Saraswati
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 friends and the health professionals they come across.
   Sometimes they find that pregnancy and birth become the medical nightmare they had hoped it would not be. In such instances, they may blame themselves, they may blame the “system” or in the end they may simply justify it as – “just the way it turned out. Perhaps it’ll be better next time” or “It was all necessary for the health of my baby”. Second time or subsequent mothers, without access to information about alternative birthing models, usually replicate their previous model, hoping it will be “better this time around”. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. For all these people, I hope that the issues raised in this book may help to awaken them to the serious deficiencies of the mainstream model, and the causes of their difficulties, as well as to offer them ways to create better experiences in the future.
   A second, far smaller, but growing number of women are those who want to reclaim their birthing rights from the medical arena, and who believe that women have all they need inside their own body and mind to give birth. They aim to achieve a more natural birthing experience, through preparing themselves by studying the controversial medical issues; attending alternative ante-natal classes like yoga and meditation, and make Birth Plans. Wherever possible they book into Birth Centres or plan for a homebirth. They try to make it through the whole pregnancy and birth with as little medical intervention as possible. Sometimes they succeed completely and sometimes only partially. These women are open to the self development which pregnancy and childbirth offers and, with a little effort, can definitely create a more natural and holistic mothering experience. I hope this book can take them further along their path and may be a source of information that their daughters may decide to use when their turn comes.
   The third group, also small in number, but rapidly growing in social acceptance and political influence, are those women (and men) who believe that in this day and age, childbirth does not have to be painful or inconvenient. They have total faith in modern medicine, they don’t see why pregnancy and birth should not benefit from these “advances”, and will choose the quickest, easiest options available. They want a hospital birth – “with the works please”. They see medical intervention as the saviour of female suffering. Fear of nature is their motivating force and control over nature is their ultimate satisfaction. Some of their

comments are astounding:
“I was just sitting up in bed reading for most of the time”
“My hair didn’t even get messed up”
“I don’t know what all this birthing fuss is about”
“I would never have done it any other way”
“I was able to go home that night and back to work in just 4 days”.
   Some of this group are the ones now choos-ing elective caesareans so that their vaginas will not be stretched and their perineums can’t tear – and they get their baby from an operation under anaesthetic where they won’t have to see, hear or feel a thing. Whilst this book is obviously not written for such women, I feel a responsibility to present an opposing voice to this growing trend against the natural way.

The Issue of Asymptomatic
Elective Caesarean
Asymptomatic elective caesarean is where a woman requests delivery of her baby via abdominal surgery when no medical reason indicates this is necessary. While some may accept the right of a woman to choose to use medical procedures for her own convenience, I have a complete abhorrence to the concept of using technology in such ways, especially in childbirth. I find every argument and reason for it a complete anathema to the true nature of womanhood and motherhood. I am happy to make no secret of my disrespect for women who choose such a thing. It is very easy to list and analyse the elements of such personalties since their motives are all so superficial and transpar-ently selfish.
   Like many, I believe that elective caesareans are a futuristic trend which, if further adopted, will have disastrous repercussions for future generations of women and children. The long term effects of such “advances” are still completely unexplored. As usual, we get the technology first and then later on the considera-tions of whether it should have been used in that way. Where could this mindset end – using medical technology for no good reason where nature can suffice? Will people one day elect to have an easily disposable colostomy bag rather than use their anus? The principle is the same – denial of one’s humanity, and contempt for nature.
   Derivative from those root mindsets are numerous other “reasons” that may be given for being attracted to such a path, most of which are based on commonly accepted myths or delusions.

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Please Note:
The complete ‘Mother As First Guru’ Set also contains Book 2 + 2 audio cds. Book 2 relating to comprehensive Yoga Practices as well as the Audio Instructional practices (2 cd set) are only available with your purchase and is NOT available on the Reading Room.

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