by Krista Miller
I was greatly saddened by the death of Steve Jobs. As a Shiatsu Practitioner, I sometimes found it difficult to believe that following my passion could actually translate into a profitable small business for me. I was heartened back in 2005 by Steve Jobs’ message in a commencement speech for Stanford University… “You’ve got to do what you love.”
To illustrate, he told three personal stories about pivotal life choices, and reflected that, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
All great entrepreneurs are bringing value to people’s lives, as Jobs’ recent death illustrated in the outpouring of global tributes to his life and contribution. This is doubly true for wellness professionals who innately desire to be of service, and in their quiet way create deep impact in people’s lives.
This led me to think of Megan Hawk, a successful Prenatal Yoga teacher from California. Her passion for assisting expecting mothers through their pregnancies has naturally grown her success in this market. I got the chance to ask Megan some questions about what Prenatal Yoga is, why she loves to teach it, and how she found her niche in it.
KM: What specific style of yoga do you teach and why is it good for pregnant women?
MH: I teach Vini Yoga. Vini means to adapt. So Vini Yoga is adapting the classical asanas (poses) to every body in the class. Vini Yoga is a great style to teach pregnant mamas because it is a dynamic and gentle style of yoga that lets the breath guide you through the whole practice. Vini Yoga is beneficial for pregnancy and birthing because through the calming effects of breath awareness we can better deal with pain and stress.
Vini Yoga is gentle on the joints as well because we are moving in and out of the asana with the breath, and then staying for a couple of breaths. Anyone can come to class, even if they’ve never had yoga before. We check in with each individual to learn what their needs are and I formulate the sequence accordingly.
KM: How did you find this niche, what is your training?
MH: I came upon Vini Yoga when I was pregnant with my second child. I knew I needed something more than walking and dancing (I was taking Ballet at the time), I needed to get in touch with my breath. I felt like Vini Yoga taught me to breathe for the first time. And when it came time to birth I felt already connected to breath enabling me to transcend the pain, and ride the waves of the rushing contractions.
KM: What are the important guidelines for adaptation you keep in mind while teaching this particular group?
MH: I keep in mind how far along my students are, if this is their first time doing yoga, if they have any injuries, special needs, what their emotional state is, if this is their first pregnancy etc.
The most important guideline is the breath. If during the practice their breathing becomes rapid and short, I know we need to slow down, and I basically emphasize the need for each Mama to check in with how they are doing, taking as many breaks as they need and practicing ahimsa (non-harming).
MH: Most Mamas feel renewed, calm, and relaxed. When we finish a practice, the lungs have been expanded. The inhale is deeper, the exhale slow and smooth. They feel strengthened, stretched, grounded, uplifted, their joints lubricated, and hips opened. They feel their spine extended, making room for their lungs and their growing baby. Their aches and pains usually subside, they have the peace and joy of being present with their blossoming body and baby, and they have more energy to face the challenges of being a new Mama.
KM: What have been the important factors in making your classes successful?
MH: Being nurturing and warm, and mothering the mother. I’d say these are the factors that have made my classes successful. Holding the space for this magical time in their lives, and giving them the opportunity to connect with each other, their baby, body and breath.
KM: What advice would you give to other teachers who are considering developing a niche market?
MH: What are the needs of the community? Are everyone’s needs being met? Can I fill a need that aligns with my interests and training? It feels so rewarding to help people feel good, and experience more joy and well being in their lives. How can I help? How can I be of service?
That reminds us of what Steve Jobs so eloquently stated, “You’ve got to find what you love… Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Megan Hawk is a mother of two, loves to dance, sing, cook, hike, and play in the sea. Practicing Yoga for more than ten years, she enjoys creating a place for expecting moms to deepen their relationship with their babies and blossoming bodies. Incorporating the exotic movements of Bellydance and gravity assisting birthing positions, her students gather a wealth of tools in preparing for the birthing journey. She is certified in the Vini Yoga style, and has her Prenatal Yoga certification with Collette Crawford of Seattle Holistic Center. Megan Hawk is offering a Mama yoga class at The Center for Healing in Felton, CA. Please call her to register: (831) 515-7256, or you can e-mail her, email@example.com