Deena Blumenfeld, E-RYT, RPYT, LCCE
Where do you live?
How many years have you been teaching?
Prenatal Yoga – 5 years, Lamaze – 3 years
How, where, and what do you teach (families/consumers, other educators, other health care professionals)?
I teach at my own facility, Shining Light Prenatal Education. I teach fertility, prenatal and mommy & me yoga; Lamaze, breastfeeding, infant care, and many specialty workshops relating to fertility, pregnancy and early parenting. Our tagline is “Illuminating your Path to Parenthood”™.
My philosophy is simple: I believe birth is a natural, normal process which is truly a transformational point in a woman’s life. I understand there is no one “right” way to give birth. I honor and respect the choices my families make. I teach from a point of inspiration. Inspiration means to breathe in. Breathe in a new idea, a new life.
I have taught prenatal yoga at the past two Lamaze Annual Conferences. This year, I’m looking forward to teaching a four-hour workshop at the conference called Integrating Yoga into your Lamaze Class: Making Labor Positions Accessible to All and Teaching Effective Breathing and Relaxation.
What or who influences your teaching?
I read Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin when I was 19. Ina May’s calm perspective on normal birth has been with me ever since. She’s had both a personal and a professional impact on me. I met Ina May for the first time, the day I went into labor with my daughter, a VBAC baby. My yoga mentors, Joanne Vandenhengel, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Max Strom gave, and continue to give me inspiration. My Lamaze mentors, Michele Ondeck and Kathy McGrath are amazing women with a broad scope of experience. I am honored to learn from them, and work with them.
By far, my biggest influencers are my kids, ages 8 and 4. I want our birthing environment to be better for them. We’ve come a long way since I was born, and I would like to see the same forward progress for when they are having their own babies.
What is your goal as an educator?
My goal as an educator is to help all of my students have a positive birth experience, regardless of the interventions they may choose, or need. I want things to be done for them and not to them. I want them to own the decisions they make during pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting. My goal, ultimately, is that my students are well informed and well prepared for the experiences that lie ahead. Empowerment comes from within. My job is to give them the tools they need to access the power they already have inside.
How do you use Lamaze resources to support you as an educator?
I use the downloadable handouts in my classes. They are an easy, comprehensive way to disseminate information to my students. I also refer them to our blogs, Giving Birth with Confidence and Science & Sensibility.
Personally, I’ve used the online forums on the website, as well as through Facebook and Twitter, to connect with other Lamaze educators. I’ve done everything from set up a roommate for the conference to get myself volunteered for jobs within the organization.
How could you suggest other members receive maximum value from Lamaze?
Between the handouts and other online teaching tools and the Toolkit, you’ve got a pre-made, customizable class. Use it! As an independent instructor, I find these tools are invaluable. Network with your colleagues! Our forums on the website are a safe place to explore new options, gather ideas for your classes and get involved with the larger organization. Wear your LCCE proudly!
When you’re not teaching, what do you enjoy doing?
Between teaching, running my business and my two kids, my free time is limited. However, when I can steal a few minutes to myself, heading out to someone else’s yoga class is a must for me. Finding time for a personal yoga practice is the key to my good mental health! I am also a bit of a nerd and I love reading everything from historical fiction to graphic novels. Oh, and I love watching Call the Midwife on PBS… and most anything on BBC America.
Read more about Deena at deenablumenfeld.info.