Pregnancy is a wild ride! There is new life growing inside of you. Your hormones are raging. Your body is changing daily. It is a time of wonder and joy but also of stress and anxiety. But the creator was smart -- we get nine months to become accustomed to the fact that soon there will be a little being that is ours to care for.
The excitement of pregnancy can be overwhelming but so can the fear; both are obstacles to clear perception. In Book Two of the Yoga Sutras, Master Patanjali says, “dhyana heyah tat vrittayah.” Through meditation, the turnings of the mind can be overcome. Meditation has a way of subtracting out the negative effects of the whirlings of the mind offering freedom from what arises at this time, whether thoughts of delight about having a baby or of worry about actually delivering a baby.
Your pregnancy is the most intimate time you will have with your baby. Through your physical connection, you are nourishing your baby with food and essential nutrients. But, you are also transmitting on an energetic level. Meditation offers an opportunity to know your own true nature, your own soul, that which is happiness, peace, bliss, ananda. To have this experience while pregnant is to communicate pure love to the soul of your baby.
Set aside time each day to meditate. Find a seat that is comfortable for you to sit in for an extended period of time. It is good to sit up on a block or a cushion, against a wall or in a chair. Set a timer for ten to twenty minutes. As you settle in, bring awareness to your breath. As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience shortness of breath when walking around or practicing yoga because as you get bigger, your diaphragm can’t move all the way down during your inhale. Take the time to control your breath. This leads to steadiness of mind which will definitely come in handy during delivery!
Start by practicing samavritti pranayama, equal breathing. Count to four on your inhalation and count to four on your exhalation. Place your hands on your belly. Traditional Chinese medicine says that the meridians to your heart, the channels through which energy flows, begin in the hands. Feel your heartbeat, your growing belly, and your baby’s movements.
Talk silently to your baby. On the inhale say “I love” and on the exhale say “you.” After your timer goes off, create a ritual that seals the meditation practice and the bond between you and your baby. Chant the sound of Om, read a prayer, or chant Sanskrit verses.
Practice meditation while you are pregnant and connect soul to soul.
Women begin to feel the movements of their babies at different times in pregnancy. Meditation practice is available to anyone at any time. It is an especially wonderful practice if you are having a particularly difficult pregnancy and/or unable to exercise.
This is the second in a series of articles on pregnancy and yoga.