Ana Davis - Bliss Baby Blog

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Ana Davis 2017 1 LROur Bliss Baby Yoga Assistant and Social Networking Manager, Sophie Duncan, asked our Director Ana some incisive questions to uncover some things about Ana you may not have known. 

What first attracted you to yoga?

Ana:
My mother used to do yoga when I was a child and I’d tag along to classes and retreats with her. So in some shape or form, I’ve been doing yoga since I was a child. My mother used to take us through Yoga Nidra practices to help relax us. So I Iearned about the power of relaxation from a young age. 


When I was in high school, I studied dancing, so I was naturally attracted to moving and stretching my body. I used to practise some yoga poses from a book when I was a teenager. And, then at university, I started going regularly to yoga classes that were offered at the student gym. That’s when I was hooked! I loved how yoga helped bring me into my body and out of my head. It was a great complement to the academic path I was on.

So how did you then get interested in yoga for women and then end up training women to teach in this specialized area?

Ana:
Ah! Good question! Even from my university days I’ve always been interested in feminist issues. I did my Honours Degree in Japanese, and my thesis topic was: “Images of Women in the Japanese Media” – a cross-cultural, feminist analysis! I went on to score a PhD scholarship which involved studying female Japanese authors. As part of my background research I took some (Western) feminist-sociology subjects at university and my eyes were opened to the history of feminism. Even back then, the feminine-sensibility piqued my interest! 


As you can see, as part of this journey with women’s issues there was an intersect with Japanese history and culture. So, when I look back, it’s really no surprise that about 11 years after I’d left university to explore ‘the real world’, I found myself in Japan teaching prenatal yoga and natural birth to Japanese women! I loved working with the Japanese women (still do!); there is something so sweet and feminine yet strong about them. And I love to share ‘feminist’ ideas around empowered, woman-based birth, and honouring menstruation and women’s cycles, with them. 

Ana Davis 2017 3 LRTracking back to when I was pregnant with my son (about 4 years before I found myself in Japan offering Bliss Baby Yoga trainings), was when I was first captured by the idea of adapting yoga for women’s specific needs. The reading and self-practice I did during my pregnancy and in the early postnatal period blew my mind about the potential of yoga to support a woman physically, emotionally and spiritually during these key, uniquely feminine life transitions.  From there I offered prenatal and postnatal yoga classes at my studio in Sydney at the time and the classes became immensely popular.  I tend to think that where your interest and passion goes that’s what grows and what others pick up on - and you can’t help but be successful! 

A few years after I sold my yoga studio in Sydney and moved up to Byron Bay on Australia’s north coast, I re-started prenatal and postnatal classes out of my home yoga studio here and also wrote a number of articles about yoga for women (as well as general yoga topics) that were published in national yoga and wellbeing magazines. From this exposure, women started asking me to train them in this specialized art of pre/postnatal yoga and it just naturally grew from there – Bliss Baby Yoga was born! Again, I truly believe when you are following your ‘dharma’ - your true life’s path, your ‘bliss’ -  success and fulfillment flow easily and opportunities come effortlessly your way. 

Ana Davis 2017 4 LRWhat is your favourite self care ritual?

Ana:
It’s yoga, of course! Without yoga I think I would go insane! I tend to do something yogically-nurturing for myself everyday. If I'm busy that might just be a single restorative pose - Legs up the Wall or Constructive Rest Position - or, a rejuvenating Yoga Nidra or some simple pranayama or yoga san-calpa (positive affirmations). 


The transformative, alchemical qualities of yoga never cease to fill me with deep gratitude for this lifetime practice that accompanies me through good and bad times. It is a practice to celebrate me when I'm feeling strong and energetic with dynamic 'full moon' practises; likewise it is a nourishing practice to support me when I'm feeling stressed, overwhelmed, grumpy, premenstrual or menstrual; or, when I'm recovering from illness as I am now after a particularly bad case of the flu - with 'dark moon' practises. 

I always finish my yoga self-care sessions with a 'gratitude practice' in which I contemplate one or several things in my life for which I feel deep gratitude. And so often it is yoga that bubbles to the surface as a self-care technique for which I feel eternally grateful to have discovered and harnessed for my individual needs. Bliss!

What is currently your favourite scent?

Ana:
Frankincense. I don't wear commercial perfumes anymore. Consequently I am more and more attracted to the purity, beauty and therapeutic qualities of natural essential oils. My naturopath recently prescribed frankincense to support my hormonal health and to balance symptoms of stress-overwhelm.  It really helped. In the busy, stressful lead up to my wedding, I carried a tiny, precious bottle of this nectar in my handbag and sniffed it when I started to feel anxious and wore it on my pulse points on the big day. A divine scent!

I have also been enjoying good old lavender to help me sleep at night when my mind and nervous system is overactive. 

Can you tell me one of the most life changing books you have ever read?

Ana:
Oh there have been sooo many! Being a total bibliophile of both fiction as well as non-fiction, yoga / spiritual books, I'm not sure where to start! I can't limit it to just one I'm afraid! So here are my top four, all-time, life-changing, non-fiction books:

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Ana Davis Yoga for Parents

This month, Bliss Baby Yoga Director and Founder, Ana Davis, shares her experiences of yoga 'off-the-mat' - through the yoga of parenthood.

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Ana Davis Parvrtta Janu SirsasanaThis month, Bliss Baby Yoga Director and Founder, Ana Davis, shares how can we adjust our yoga practice to reflect the changing needs of the different phases of our menstrual cycle and support ourselves on an holistic level.

It’s typically said that our monthly cycle consists of two phases. The First phase, known as the Proliferative or Follicular Phase, spans from the menstrual period until ovulation(usually occurring mid-cycle). The second phase, called the Luteal or Premenstrual Phase, extends from post-ovulation until we bleed again.

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Lunge Pose PrenatalThis month our Bliss Baby Yoga Director and Founder, Ana Davis, shares beneficial postures for releasing the Psoas during pregnancy.

In our Bliss Baby Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training courses we teach that there are five important Posture Groups for a pregnant woman to practice for optimal health, vitality and balance during her pregnancy and to prepare for birth.  One of these Posture Groups is what we call the ‘Releasing Postures.’  The idea behind these type of postures is that we want to release any aches and pains in a pregnant student’s lower back and hip area.  During pregnancy, particularly the latter stages when her growing uterus has expanded well above the line of her navel, it is very common for her spine to be pulled into ‘lordosis’ or a kind of ‘banana back’, and for the top of her sacrum to tip forward. This is due to the weight of her enlarged belly pulling forward on the ligaments that support the uterus and essentially moving her whole centre of gravity forward and out of the natural vertical alignment. 

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This month Bliss Baby Yoga Director, Ana Davis, discusses prolapse, and how the right kind of yoga can support a woman’s recovery from this condition.

Yoga For Prolapse Legs Up The WallA prolapse occurs when the organs in the pelvis (uterus, bladder and/or bowel), drop down into the vagina instead of sitting in their normal position. This can cause a heaviness, dragging or aching type of feeling in the vaginal area, which often feels worse at the end of the day, and better in the morning or after lying down. Some women also notice lower abdominal aching and backache due to having a prolapse.  A bulge in the vaginal area may also be felt, and sometimes this bulge may actually be felt outside of the vaginal opening.  Many women describe the feeling of having a prolapse is "that it feels like everything is going to fall out".

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This month Bliss Baby Yoga director and author of "The Dark Moon - Nurturing Yoga for Healthy Menstruation", Ana Davis, shares the importance of employing nurturing practices during menstruation.

stress 2The concept of 'self-care' is a bit of a buzz-word these days, particularly in yoga and wellbeing circles. And it’s no wonder when you consider that the negative effects of stress and burn out are reaching epidemic proportions in our modern lives.  Even though it’s across the board, women are even more susceptible to the impact of stress.  Arianna Huffington writes in her timely book, “Thrive”, that “women in highly stressed jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks… and a 60 percent greater risk for type 2 diabetes.” She goes on to say that women are also twice as likely to die of heart attack in high-stress jobs and are also more vulnerable to alcoholism and eating disorders when stressed.   

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pawanmuktasana video LRPawanmuktasana is a sequence of movements originating from classical yoga traditions that is designed to mobilise and free up energy in many of the major joints of the body. 

‘Pawan’ is a Sanskrit word for ‘wind’, ‘mukta’ means ‘releasing’,  and ‘asana’ means ‘posture’.   So, these are ‘wind releasing postures’. On a literal level, this sequence is thought to reduce intestinal ‘wind’, so is beneficial for the digestive system. However, the main intention of this sequence is to release the build up of the element of air and ether connected with the Ayurvedic (sister-science to yoga) constitution of ‘Vata’.  People who have a lot of ‘vata’ are likely to have physical symptoms of ‘dryness -  for example, dry, cracking joints – as well as emotional and  mental symptoms of a tendency towards anxiety and ungroundeness.  Practising this sequence is therefore calming and grounding.

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"I really enjoyed the Bliss Baby Yoga teacher training online course because it was flexible, allowing me to do the work and practices at a convenient time....especially helpful for mothers with babies."  Helen Santamaria Popescu

“I found it so convenient as a new mum, working three different jobs I was able to also do the course without feeling overwhelmed. I enjoyed listening to the lectures during my drives and was sad when they came to an end  _ I might have to re-listen.” Leah Gencheff, Newcastle

"This was an absolutely amazing course.  Full of practical, useful information and inspiring teachers."  Lee 

 

 

 

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