Why practice Prenatal Yoga?
Pregnancy brings many changes to the body, sleep, appetite, the rhythms of work and rest, emotions, relationships, social habits… the list goes on.
The body transforms, and like a splendid full moon, it becomes round and supple. In ancient scriptures, the pregnant woman is considered “in perfect abundance”.
Awaiting her newborn, she is advised to take her time, rest, walk in nature, read inspiring texts, sing, practice yoga, meditate, bathe in beauty and love, all while remaining active. This is a consecrated time devoted to higher consciousness. The Mother’s well-being, emotions and mental state all influence her baby and will give her child a solid foundation for the future.
However, in our modern society, where women need to balance careers, it is not easy to take this time, even when the need is clear.
Practicing yoga during pregnancy, for just an hour and a half a week, can be a breath of fresh air amidst life’s many demands.
It is a window into oneself: to connect with the baby, connect to the body and its changes, and prepare for childbirth through exercise, relaxation and sharing with others.
Why learn breathing techniques?
The pregnant woman does not necessarily need to eat for two, but she certainly must breath for two.
Habitual breath is often short and shallow, which permits us to survive, but not to thrive.
Deep breathing brings oxygen and nutrients to the baby and the mother.
The breath pattern aptly named “Long, deep breathing” calms the mind, develops patience, endurance, relaxation, and an abiding sense of calm and belonging.
Why learn meditation during pregnancy
A trained mind stays focussed and centred on the breath during contractions. Mediation facilitates a birthing experience that is present and strong, even joyful and at ease!
An untrained mind can disperse its attention and panic when faced with the strong sensations that a mother experiences during birthing.
Concentration while giving birth (on a mantra, a sound, or the breath) combined with right breathing, facilitates the secretion of Oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for dilation, as well as the secretion of Endorphins, functionally the opposite of adrenaline, which reduce the sensation of pain and support the intensity of contractions.
Preparing for delivery
Just as marathon runners prepare months in advance with modified diets, exercise and breath work, mothers should take time to fully prepare for the experience of giving birth. Just as the runner prepares psychologically before, during and after the race, so too should the mother prepare for her great marathon… when the breath of life travels through her to deliver her baby.
With solid preparation and support, the intensity of the delivery can be experienced without suffering. The practice of yoga tames the power of contractions and manages fear.
Regular practice of yoga postures, breathing exercises, sound and meditation give the mother self-confidence and the capacity to concentrate on her experience during birth. She connects more easily with her baby, and her body intuits postures that are favorable for dilation and delivery.
“One breath at a time, one contraction at a time” brings a sense of satisfaction and strength.
“I am a teacher, I am a vehicle, I am a channel, I bring you teachings. They are not mine”
The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, July 22, 1966