The Active Birth Centre was founded by Janet Balaskas in the early 1980’s. Her vision was to create an oasis for pregnant and new mothers and their partners and babies, with a programme of empowering classes and courses, as well as a complementary therapy clinic. Her dream was to create a place where the importance of the beginning of life – the primal years, was honoured and paramount and took its influence out into the world. Today the Active Birth Centre is the place she dreamed of. Janet continues to lead the centre and is assisted by her colleague Lynn Murphy with whom she has worked for many years. They are joined by a team of highly skilled professionals who share the Active Birth philosophy and vision: to encourage, support and inspire women to become actively involved in their pregnancy and birth so that they become the loving parents, and healthy families of the future. It is a testament to the ethos of the Active Birth Centre that most members of the Active Birth team have worked together for years.
Founder and Director
Janet is the pioneer of Active Birth and the centre’s founder. Her innovative ideas have spread throughout the world inspiring parents, birth educators, yoga teachers, midwives and doulas. Obstetricians have a high regard for her work and many who encourage natural childbirth, continue to be enthusiasts and supporters. While she remains a leading voice in the global campaign to transform birthing practices, the core work she still does and loves is with women and couples at the Active Birth Centre in London. Here she leads classes and courses, and runs training courses for professionals.
Janet also teaches across the world, currently in Brazil, Turkey and Israel. Janet’s unstoppable drive to give parents choice in labour and birth, and to provide the guidance and information to enable women to confidently follow their instincts and tune into their babies, has fuelled the global spread of Active Birth. Janet is the mother of four grown up children and one stepdaughter and has five grandchildren. You can read more about Janet’s personal journey, her published books, and her campaign for women to become active birth givers and her international trainings in Janet’s personal website, which is currently being created – as soon as it’s live we will post the link here.
I am sure I’m not the only woman to feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude for everything – and everyone – you have inspired with your work over the decades. Every time I read or heard something that enlightened me or changed the way I felt about birth & parenthood for the better, all roads seemed to lead back to you and your innovations. Just a few months ago, I was one of those ridiculously well-educated but utterly-clueless-about-birth 21st-century, 30-something professional women who assumed I would march into hospital demanding an epidural and every single drug going. The couple of months before my son was born saw a complete epiphany take place in me, and it’s changed me forever, I’m sure of it. You played a huge part in that. So thank you from both of us, and from the bottom of my heart.
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Following the birth of her two children and the inspiration of attending Active Birth Classes with Janet Balaskas, Lynn went on to train with Janet and colleagues, qualifying as an Active Birth Teacher for pre and postnatal yoga and Active Birth preparation for couples in 1997. She went on to teach at the Active Birth Centre were she is till this day, developing her skills and leading classes. She has been part of various trainings at the Active Birth Centre and also co-manages the centre with Janet. Lynn has trained in developmental baby massage with doyen Peter Walker and has devised our Postnatal programme. As well as further training with Birthlight & BabyCalm, she continues to develop this postnatal area of her work imaginatively, learning especially from the mothers and babies she meets.
She brings her skills in Yoga, Massage and Active Birth to all of her classes, and injects positivity and joy into the postnatal classes for mums, dads and babies. She loves the pregnancy side of her work also, working with women and their partners as they prepare for birth and parenthood. Alongside her work at the Active Birth Centre Lynn also runs classes in her local Children’s centre. Lynn is furthering her development in Thai Yoga Massage and Somatic Trainings that are deepening and developing her approach. Lynn will be running a training for the early months after birth, in the autumn of 2015 dates to be announced soon.
Once again the yoga I did with you was a HUGE part of my labour, it really helped that I had been that day. My labour was very calm and I felt in control the whole time and ended up having a water birth which was amazing. I really can’t thank you enough for for the amazing job you do in your class, not just the yoga your advice is spot on and you voice was with me the whole time!! Thank you for being such a helpful and supportive part of a very important time in my life. Please keep up the good work, birth really doesn’t have to be so stressful just taking the fear out of it has let me have two positive births.
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