As part of my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Mindful Mamas, I was tasked with reading at least four books related to pregnancy and/or prenatal yoga and review them.
Each week for 4 weeks I am posting a brutally honest review so all you pregnant readers know what books to read and which to avoid. So far, I’ve discussed my surprising enjoyment of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
Next up . . .
Bountiful Beautiful Blissful Review
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh was, quite frankly, an uninspiring read.
I’ll be honest and admit that I’m probably not the most open-minded yoga instructor and, because this book expects you to believe blindly, an open-mind is essential. The fact that the book is written by an American woman who goes by a single Sikh name and it is forwarded by a supermodel is enough to put off any cynic but, all that aside, the content was mostly drivel that I found uninspiring and unsubstantiated.
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful combines spirituality with yogic philosophy and kundalini movements to provide advice on how to handle all stages of pregnancy with meditation and exercise. It is broken down by trimester, touching upon the experiences a mother-to-be will face in each stage of pregnancy.
In each chapter author Gurmukh offers gentle encouragement to keep the expecting women optimistic and hopeful about the transformation of their body, the challenges they will face during pregnancy, and the changes they can anticipate in their life after the baby is born. She focuses on the positive energy that can be felt within the body during pregnancy and emphasizes how special this time is in the life of a woman.
I appreciated that Gurmukh’s writing style was accepting, encouraging, and supportive. She was not hard-line or assertive in her suggestions for mothers-to-be and she placed primary emphasis on the fact that, at the end of the day, the most important thing is holding a healthy baby. I liked this approach because in the current mommy culture many women have formed opposing camps with firm beliefs on what should or should not be done during pregnancy and childbirth—this can lead to confusion, guilt, and tension in a population already vulnerable to these thoughts.
Unfortunately this book earns no favour with me in terms of content. Gurmukh spews out countless details without basing them in fact or providing a sensible explanation. I’m not going to get greedy and expect scientific evidence behind her claims; a philosophical or theoretical explanation will suffice. Unfortunately Gurmukh stops shy of giving any further information behind her “facts”, thus leaving the reader to assume that they’re unfounded.
“For each month of pregnancy you actually relive on a deep, emotional level your own time in the womb.” Gurmukh stops there and, aside from giving an example of a woman whose pregnancy mirrored her own mother’s, leaves you wondering how this could be true.
“After birth, stay within nine feet of your baby to solidify the aura.” What aura? Mine? The baby’s? What if I stray 10 feet, or 12 feet?
“Women are 16 times more intuitive than men are.” How exactly does one quantify intuition? Is it possible to compare? I suspect Gurmukh herself intuited this fact.
At the end of each chapter there were delightful meditations and exercises that each addressed a different, specific situation that could be encountered during pregnancy, like Meditation for Commitment, Meditation to Unlock Hidden Power, or Meditation for Leaving the Fear and Welcoming the Challenge. I loved the idea behind this, but the execution fell short. Again, Gurmukh provides no
reasoning behind why certain movements, mantras, and meditations were supposed to do what she claimed they would. Like the Prosperity Meditation which “ancient texts have been written on”, yet she fails to explain what those texts posited and why saying HarHarHar for seven minutes will bring prosperity.
In the end, I found Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful to be very disappointing. While I concede that Gurmukh’s nurturing voice in the book is ideal for expecting women, the advice and the exercises she provides lack purpose which prevents her from really connecting to her audience. If you expect a busy pregnant woman to sit still, “maaa”ing like a lamb for eleven minutes, you damn well better explain to her why she’s doing it.