By DeLora Frederickson, ECPRYT500
The inner exploration of Motherhood is an adventure requiring strength, willingness, and curiosity. For eons we as women have turned to our tribe, our kula during these times. Community is an essential element in prenatal yoga, women supporting women. All over, women are gathering in prenatal yoga classes to build kulas, to stir the energies in our bodies, and to ease our birthing experience.
Prenatal yoga cultivates sukha (sweetness) in the birth experience. It gives women an avenue, a pathway if you will, during this rite of passage. Now we can appreciate the shining jewels found in the practice of prenatal yoga.
In our culture, we like to believe we are in control. Pregnancy can show us, sometimes for the first time in our lives, we are not in control of our physicality. This inner confrontation, along with hormonal changes, can create anxiety and depression both pre and postpartum. The emotional rollercoaster of Motherhood necessitates a tool kit!
This is the time for the many exquisite practices prenatal yoga offers for Mothers. From taming anxiety to preparing the body, yoga is a good friend the entire journey. The first place we begin is the breath. Breathing is such an impactful practice because you always have your breath with you. You can use focused breathing anytime and anywhere!
Suggested Practice: Pranic Connection with Baby
Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Bring one hand to your chest and one to your belly. Breathe in and lift your chest. Breathe out and hug your baby up and in gently. Do this for 4 breaths. Now breathe in. Breathe out through puckered lips and you hug your baby up and in gently. Do this for 4 breaths. Now as you inhale open both arms out to the side. As you exhale wrap your arms around your shoulders. Do this for 4 breaths. Bring your hands to your thighs. Breathe freely in and out of your nose. Do this for 4 breaths. Slowly open your eyes. Pay exquisite attention to yourself and what you are sensing in this moment: connected to yourself and your baby.
Pranayama or focused breathing, leads movement through the world, through asana practice, through birth, and through life as a Mother. Invite the breath in. Polish yourself from the inside out. Massage your baby and your spine with your breath. Make space for your baby in your life through your breath.
Suggested Practice: Opening & Allowing
With strong sensations during your birthing time find your breath. Inhale. Relax the lips together and flutter the breath out over the lips as horses do. The lips and cervix as well as the hips and jaw are energetically connected in the body. Relax the jaw and lips – relax the hips and cervix through the breath. Let your exhale be long and relaxed. Inhale. Flutter the lips as you exhale. Do 4-6 rounds anytime you want to relax and soften.
With the essential shifts occurring in the self, the antepartum time can be accompanied by fear, insecurity, anxiety, and depression. Always there, focused breathing is a proven way to find relief during pregnancy. In an anxious state we are in our sympathetic nervous system. This system sends messages to the brain, which then informs the endocrine system we are in a state of fight & flight. This in turn cues the release of chemical compounds known as stress hormones to rush through your body and your baby’s developing body.
Your breath is also affected by the sympathetic nervous system, it often stops or becomes very shallow. To return to your parasympathetic nervous system – where you rest, recover, and digest – turn to your breath.
Suggested Practice: Constructive Rest
Lie on your side with knees drawn toward the chest. Support your head and belly. Begin softly ‘ssssshhhhh-ing’. Inhaling slow and easily. Exhaling slow and easily. After 4 breaths begin to gently rock back and forth side to side. Eyes closed. 6 more long slow breaths with a ‘sssshhhh’. Then breathe in and out of your nose freely for 6 breaths. Press your self up to seated. Take 4 long slow breaths here and pay exquisite attention to yourself and your baby.
With lives being so full and busy we must schedule our breathing breaks. Set an alarm on your phone, put it on your schedule, make a breathing date with a friend. Become more and more aware of the immense benefits of focused breathing during the development of your baby.
You are the perfect Mother for this baby. Savor this time you have during pregnancy. Cultivate sukha. Remember your breath.
This moment in your life…pause, breathe in and know there are 2 hearts beating within you. Cherish this moment.
By DeLora Frederickson, ECPRYT500
Therapeutic Pre/postnatal Yoga