when pictures fail me…
Sokhna Heathyre is a mother, number one. But she is also an herbalist, a performance artist, a student midwife, a doula, and a yoga instructor with over 20 years of living from the mat. All of that background has culminated with her creating the MamaSutra Loving Arts workshops–yoga training that celebrates the entire glorious and mysterious universe of female anatomy, psyche, and spirituality. YogaCityNYC’s Sharon Watts sat down with Sokhna to learn more.
Sharon Watts: How did personal experience contribute to the insight and knowledge you are sharing in your workshops?
Sokhna Heathyre: My son was born via cesarean section after 72 hours of strong labor and failure to progress. My daughter was born two and a half years later at home via a natural, gentle, and loving birth. I discovered from my two birthing experiences that while my maternal bonding was threatened by a cesarean delivery, it also was restored by a vaginal birth. We are supposed to complete this process. This was the moment of healing for me. In fact, the entire family lineage can be healed.
SW: How would a woman who has had a C-section, and no future plans for a vaginal birth, begin to heal? Is it possible?
SH: Of course! Nature would never put us so far out on a limb without hope, but it takes diligence and will. In a C-section, the second chakra is assaulted through the interruption of the birth process. A lot of breath work, mental work, and trust reintroduces harmony in consciousness to this area. Other help is available through perinatal therapy as well as cranial sacral massage. I was already on the healing path with my son, and as he was being worked on through cranial sacral massage, the kinesiologist asked me “Did you feel that, Mom?” and I said “Yes! I did!”
SW: You are also a performing artist. Tell me more about the second chakra, fertility, and creativity.
SH: Fertility and Creativity are not separate concepts. They are the same. Our creativity must be fertile to create and complete a project. Our fertility is pure creative essence. There is only one chakra system, and it functions to run harmoniously within any environment. The second chakra is the seat of creativity, which is our true nature. When that Self is fulfilled, we are satisfied, and the feeling is wonderful.
SW: So many women are not satisfied. How can they be helped?
SH: The infertility rate is very high. We have to reverse our thinking in order to be fertile/creative beings. By saying the word “can’t” we allow things to block our creativity, and thereby keep it as a separate entity from fertility. Look at what we do–as soon as we begin having sex, we go on birth control. Nature wants us to get pregnant, and we spend our entire fertility season having as much sex as possible, but “better not get pregnant!” Then, later, you want to and you can’t. A whole lot of healing must happen. But instead of doing the healing work, we turn to chemicals to reverse the process. That leads to hormonal and mental chaos, and ultimately a big mess in the relationship between sexuality and the personality.
SW: How does the practice of yoga relate to your mission?
SH: I am so happy to be studying perinatal therapy, combining it with yoga and offering these workshops. Integrating women, men, children, community, society–it’s very empowering. My ultimate mission is to dismantle racism and heal moral wounds. Conscious conception and natural childbirth are the means to healing and collective evolution. It is in this time of mysticism that the woman’s psyche is illuminated and she is no longer afraid to see what is casting the shadows that she fears. Yoga is Union–the practice of yoga is merely the use of the tools of observation, asana, breath study, and focus. Birth is the ultimate union of one being to another, so the practice of yoga is perfect in relation to birth and human development.
SW: Finally, what exactly is this workshop series all about?
SH: MamaSutra Loving Arts Teacher Training began in 2007 and developed into a 125-hour prenatal training that addresses human development through consciousness, conception, chakras, koshas, asana, meditation, physical anatomy, and so much more. The workshop has evolved into a series of individual modules, rather than what would have been one four-months-long, super-intense experience. Anyone can jump in at any time, taking on a particular theme (or module) when ready. Right now Module 2: Embodied Anatomy is being offered. Sheri Winston, an OB-GYN and sex educator, is my guest teacher here. We focus on the childbearing year before conception and the three years postpartum, when the mother and child are bound by the electromagnetic field. In Kundalini there is a lot of discussion about “affinity,” “eternity,” “deathlessness,” and”infinity.” Pregnancy begins this awakening.
SW: It sounds like this workshop can be for all women.
SH: I created this training, with all of the phenomenal guest teachers and artists, as an initiative to bring harmony to the woman’s human environment: her mind, her body, her thoughts, her heart, her ability to love and share and receive, her ability to create and deconstruct with love and respect. It is open to yoginis and yogis, to therapists, doctors, mothers, social workers, and anyone in the healing arts.