Now Serving Northumberland County!

Happy Saturday everyone!

I’ve finally done it! At the beginning of July I officially moved to Cobourg. I am so thrilled to be here. Cobourg is such a lovely little town; I’m going to the beach every day and we have bunnies in the yard. What’s not to love?

I’m still working with clients in the east end of Toronto (I’m on-call for a couple of Toronto clients right now as a matter of fact!), but will now also be serving clients in Northumberland County and surrounding counties (e.g. Peterborough County, Prince Edward County and eastern parts of the GTA such as Oshawa and Ajax). I will also be continuing to teach group prenatal education classes – primarily weekends in Toronto, along with weekends and weekday evening classes in Cobourg, Peterborough and possibly other nearby towns as well.

I’m not taking on any more clients for the summer or early fall at this point, but if you or someone you know is expecting October through February, I have availability at those times. I’ll keep you posted on my group classes once I’ve got myself a teaching space.


Late Summer Weekend Prenatal Classes


I am offering another weekend prenatal course in Toronto in August. This is a two-day intensive course designed to help you feel confident, calm and prepared as you approach your birth and new parenthood. It will also provide your partner with skills and knowledge that will aid them in supporting you during labour and birth, as well as postpartum.

Join me on Saturday, August 17th and Sunday, August 18th, 2013 from 10am to 5pm at the Centre for Social Innovation (Annex – 720 Bathurst St.).

To register, email with the following information:

  • your name and your partner’s name (if applicable)
  • your phone number and email address
  • your expected delivery date and expected place of birth

This course is ideal for those expecting a baby between September and November. The course is $240 per couple. Discounts are available for doula clients.

Topics for the course will include (but are not limited to):

  • natural pain management and coping strategies for labour
  • the physiology of labour and birth
  • positions for labour and birth
  • risks and benefits of common interventions (including pain medications)
  • self-advocacy/informed decision-making skills
  • breastfeeding
  • postpartum care
  • newborn care and characteristics

Wondering why you should take an independent class instead of one offered by your local hospital? 9 great reasons here.

photo credit: peasap via photopin cc

REMINDER: BirthFire is this Friday!




Don’t forget that BirthFire – originally scheduled for May 10th, but postponed due to rain – is this Friday, June 14th at 7pm in Dufferin Grove Park. We’ll be at the main campfire site (the one nearest the rink house).

Check out the website for more info. Remember, this is an event for anyone* with an interest in birth, not only those who have given birth themselves. All are welcome, regardless of whether you wish to share something or simply to listen and support others. I hope to see you there!

*We would like to remind expectant mothers that there may be upsetting stories and information shared at this event. No one will be turned away, but we do not encourage pregnant women to attend, out of concern that negative birth stories may adversely affect your mindset as you prepare for your own labour and birth.

Freeing the Voice – A Workshop for Doulas

Aviva Chernick leads a Freeing the Voice workshop

Aviva Chernick leads a Freeing the Voice workshop

It saddens me to have to report that this workshop has been cancelled due to low registration. I hope that we will reschedule for another date when more people are available soon. If you did register, you should have received an email from notifying you of the cancellation. (05/31/13)

If you are a doula in Toronto or the surrounding area, you are invited to attend a wonderful workshop with Aviva Chernick on June 2nd, 2013. It will be held at a private studio in central Toronto. Cost is $45 per doula. Email to register. Participants should bring a yoga mat. Space is limited, so register today!

FREEING the VOICE : Vocal Play and Care for Doulas

This three hour adventure is an opportunity for participants to surprise themselves as they discover the pleasure of finding their voice and singing out in community.
We begin with a gentle Hatha Yoga practice that moves into a standing practice of breath, yawns and sighs, finally inviting voice to follow. We continue on through a repetition of simple melodies, finding our way to improvisational set of song circles. Together we review what tools may be found in an improvisational took kit, i.e., unison, harmony, fills, rhythm, echoing, listening, etc and use these tools to enter into and discover our voices anew in a simple, repeated melody.

We will be focusing on vocal play, exploration and caring for doula’s own voices and how this, in turn, might serve your work with others.  The session will include an opportunity to speak about relationship to voice and the ramifications and benefits of this work for the work of doulas.

No previous yoga or singing experience is necessary.


Aviva is a singer and award winning composer, writing, recording, performing and touring a fusion of World Music styles in Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, English and French.  Her compositions and voice can be heard with the two–time Juno Nominated Global Roots Ensemble Jaffa Road, in her own Devotional Music project released December 2012 and through a Virginia Folklife sponsored apprenticeship with Master teacher Flory Jagoda in a collection of Balkan Judeo-Spanish repertoire.

Aviva has been training in the Bel Canto technique and the development of that practice with Fides Krucker with whom she has apprenticed as a teacher since 2009.  Aviva is also a Hatha yoga teacher trained at the Esther Myers Yoga Studio, in Toronto.  She has combined her practices, as well as her work as a prayer leader, merging body and breath to facilitate group workshops in freeing the voice towards singing. These workshops for both amateur and professional singers culminate in solo and group improvisation.

Aviva has been teaching privately as well as leading these workshops as ongoing classes through her own studio in Toronto and for a variety of communities around North America including; at The 2012 Ontario Multifaith conference, and while on tour with groups in Atlanta, Ottawa, Perth and Haida Guay, British Columbia.


I took a short workshop with Aviva and it was one of the most transformative hours I have spent. Under her guidance I was able to understand for the first time in my life how to free my voice and sing. Friends of mine will tell you I can’t sing. But now they are wrong.

Andy McKim, Artistic Director Theatre Passe Muraille

I’m still buzzing from the workshop…singing brings me so much joy, release, power…

Suzanne Bradley Siskind, Teacher and Mother

Over the course of an intensive festival week full of lots of singing, Aviva’s class saved my voice.  Her whole-body approach helped me discover new ways to use my posture and breath to support my singing.  In a renewing, dynamic way, Aviva’s class unlocked my voice in completely new ways.

Ri Turner, Singer and Composer, Participant at the Jewish Women’s Music Festival, 2010

Weekend Prenatal Classes!

Too busy to attend a six-week prenatal series? Then you’re in luck! Due to popular demand I am now offering weekend prenatal courses at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.). Email me now to register!

The first weekend course will be held Saturday March 16th and Sunday March 17th, 2013 from 10am to 5pm.

The course is $240 per couple.

Topics will include (but are not limited to):

-pain management and coping strategies for labour

-the physiology of labour and birth

-positioning for labour and birth

-risks and benefits of common interventions


-newborn care, characteristics and abilities

-parenting options

Education is the key to having a birth experience in which you feel confident, calm and in control.

Education is key! Next prenatal course begins March 5th.

I have another upcoming prenatal series starting at the Centre for Social Innovation, in the Annex, on March 5th. This course will run Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9 pm for six weeks.

If you are expecting a baby between late April and early June, this is the class for you! I cap my courses at six couples, so that my students can get to know one another and start building those new parent networks early. This course will give you and your partner the information and skills you need to cope with labour and birth; self-advocate effectively with your healthcare providers; know how breastfeeding should look and feel; know what to expect of a newborn; and make decisions about parenting that will work for you and your family.

The course is $240 per couple. Discounts are available for doula clients. Email me for more information, or to register.

Topics for the series include (but are not limited to):

-pain management and coping strategies for labour

-the physiology of labour and birth

-positioning for labour and birth

-risks and benefits of common interventions


-newborn care, characteristics and abilities

-parenting options

Education is the key to having a birth experience in which you feel confident, calm and in control.

Prenatal Classes at CSI Annex – Spaces Left!

I still have room left in the prenatal series beginning on Tuesday, January 8th at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.). This is a six-week course, running from 6:30-9pm Tuesday evenings.

Register now!

Refer Me and Get a Special Gift!

Check out my brand new referral program. Now, not only will you be helping a loved one find support for a satisfying, empowering birth experience, you’ll also get a treat for yourself!

Two Prenatal Series Options!


I will have two new prenatal education series’ starting in the new year for those expecting a baby between late February and early April, 2013. Classes at the Centre for Social Innovation (Annex) will be on Tuesday evenings, from 6:30 – 9pm, beginning January 8th. Classes at Women’s College Hospital will be on Wednesday evenings, from 6:30 – 9pm, beginning January 9th. Both courses are six weeks in length. You can choose the series that best suits you in terms of day and location.

In taking the role of prenatal instructor at Women’s College, one of my top priorities was that I would be able to use my own curriculum and that there would be no imposition of a hospital agenda upon my prenatal course content. In other words, these two courses will be identical in content and will focus on preparing for birth as a normal, healthy experience that can be anticipated and experienced without fear and in a calm an relaxed manner. We will also cover topics related to the postpartum phase and parenting.

To register for the course at CSI Annex (Tuesdays), email me at To register for the WCH course (Wednesdays), email or call 416-323-6494.

For more info on topics that will be covered, hit the jump! Continue reading

A New Tool

I recently acquired an Obi-TENS unit to use with my clients. Many women swear by these devices as an alternative to pain medications and I am really excited to begin using it in my practice! They are frequently used by physiotherapists for helping individuals manage musculoskeletal pain and to help encourage blood circulation. As for use in labour, they tend to be very popular in the UK, where many hospitals have them available. In North America you need to have a doula who has one or buy one of your own. The unit is controlled by the birthing woman, which is helpful in encouraging her to feel in control and like an active participant, rather than a passive ‘patient’. As many of you are, I’m sure, aware, research shows that a sense of control is the key factor in how women report feeling about their birth experiences days, weeks and even years later.

Check out this handy blogpost about how TENS works for labour: