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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Barth

Maternity Leave

As many of you know, I will be taking some time off for Maternity leave as I await the precious bundle, and adjust to my new role as a mother. I didn't want to leave you without saying something a little long-winded.... so... here we go:

This is a bit of a personal letter, reflection and a lot of THANK YOU for ALL your support in getting us to this point, and helping me prepare for this great life change I'm about to embark on.

I'm expecting my first child, and getting closer to my due-date. As any expecting mother will tell you, this brings up a mix of emotions: excitement, fear, joy, nervousness, anxiety, and more. However, I have to say that I've happily exceeded my own expectations with pregnancy and preparing for labour - and I truly believe it is because of this Yoga & Wellness Community! I know that there are other variables at play, and I've luckily had a fairly easy pregnancy, but I also know that the mindset and focus you keep, and the way you hold and treat your body has a direct effect on the whole system - and I can thank yoga and all of you, for keeping me in a place of comfort and ease through this huge life transition.

As with all changes - even when you are wanting it, and looking forward to the change - there will be a sense of loss or letting go as well. It certainly has not been easy to prepare for this transition, and I'm so grateful to everyone in our community for the immense amount of support and continued commitment - that has truly helped more than you know. For the last 6 Years Growth in the Grove (& everyone whose been a part of this community) has been my baby, and I've enjoyed watching it - and all of you - grow! And I know that I too have grown immensely through this process. I've learned so much through the years, and through the challenges and successes. Coming from teaching studio classes for other owners, to teaching outdoors with my own unique perspectives and to having built the online Grove Tribe Community. There's been a lot that I've learned and grown through - and I can honestly say I wouldn't be here without all of you!

Through Yoga, and through this journey of opening, managing and growing our little Community, I've come a far ways from where I started, and I'm feeling more confident and excited than ever to move into the role of motherhood, and welcoming this great life change. - I know that I have a lot of women in this community to lean on for support, and advice as I take this next step.

It's been an honor to share my vision with all of you, to offer the values and approaches to yoga that I believe in, and to have it so well received and wanted. I'm constantly inspired by this incredible community and the amazing goals you work to achieve; and to how each and every person brings such a great value to our collective!

So, it comes with both a sense of pride and sadness, to be stepping away (temporarily) and letting you continue this journey, without my full participation. It feels strange already to have not seen so many of you in some time, but please know that no matter how long it's been since I've seen you, I still think about you often. I am leaving you with: the Online Grove Tribe, where a NEW Video will be posted every week (so you can still enjoy yoga with me); a Yoga Challenge that will test you; and a weekly Social Media Post to keep you learning, practicing and flourishing in my absence.

Yoga has given me the tools to navigate life, and hopefully in turn birth. Let me share what I mean:

1) Breathing

I promise I will hear all of your voices reminding me to breathe as I go into labour. Breath is so powerful, and can help us to unwind and relax; as well as to give us something else to focus on when things get tough. Not to mention, to amp us up when we are tired.

2) Return to Centre

Instead of letting my mind carry me away on the thought train, I can return to centre or an anchor that I set for the day, my practice, and of course labour. Whether that's a mantra, breathing technique, scent or visual.... it will help me remain calm, instead of adding tension.

3) To Ground Down & Reach Higher

This I feel will be more important as the child grows, as I know I will be tested. I will root my feet down securely on the Earth and reach higher towards my goals - even if it's just to breathe. This technique also helps for balancing asanas and life.

4) That there's no Perfect Asana/Posture

It's true. There's no perfect asana or posture, and it's definitely not one size fits all. It depends on how we feel, how our body is structured and more - that will change the way our pose looks. No two people posing is the same. And with that, I can bring it into my life as well - there is no perfect life. Everyone will face unique challenges that get hidden behind the scenes, and have to modify for it. - That's the beauty of yoga and life.

5) To Laugh Often

If this community has taught me anything, it's to laugh often. Whether you fumble for words, make a strange sound, or your body makes a strange sound - laughter has found its way into my heart, my life lessons, and this community. Laughter can make things a little easier and lighter. - So when I'm changing poopy diapers, I'll remember to laugh - as it is only a moment in time and I may as well seek joy from it.

Wishing you all a warm and sunny summer, and that you too continue to grow through and use the lessons of your yoga practice to navigate life's challenges and changes. I look forward to sharing the news of the arrival of our child with all of you, and again, appreciate all of your support and care for our whole community through this transition.

With immense gratitude,

Jennifer Howell

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