Yoga for 2: Prenatal and Postnatal Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Pranayama Mama

10 min - Practice
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Eden guides a simple pranayama practice to help us feel more centered and connected to our bodies and to our babies. This practice promotes a quiet mind and an expansive heart.
What You'll Need: Square Bolster, Blanket

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Hello welcome. We're here with Kristen and Johanna. We're all in our third trimesters with our babies. We are just gonna talk a little bit about the importance of the breath work in Yoga and in the experience of giving birth. So breathing through contractions and breathing through the whole process of labor and the importance of that and how Yoga is so beneficial for preparing us for that.

As much as you never ever know what to prepare for. (laughs) We embrace the mystery of child birth at the same time the breath in my experience with my first son was very crucial and Yoga did help a lot in preparing me for that. We're gonna do a little bit of pranayama breathing. We're just gonna talk a little bit about, before we get to that space, about what that is and the importance of it. Just a reminder for those of you at home who may already know all of this, and for you two who may know all of this as well, this'll just be my take on it.

But the prana is the life force that we have running through our bodies and with pregnancy there's obviously quite a bit. Pranayama is really tapping into that life force through the breath. It brings us into a much deeper state of meditation, so from the beginning of our practice, whether we're doing restorative or a more active sequence of (speaks foreign language) that's all a movement meditation from my perspective. It allows us to drop deeper into the body, deeper into the anatomy but also connected to the breath. Ultimately it's bringing us into this space where we can go into relaxation.

Relaxation of the breath, relaxation of the body, relaxation of the mind, and then go into the breath work. The breath work really is the culmination of the practice. As I mentioned it helps us really just lift the veil so to speak of the mind and go just deeply into the simplicity of the breath and the complexity of it. Without having to move or to do anything else. How that translates into the experience of child birth, from my perspective, is that just like we think about, we might think about Yoga as something that we can hopefully bring off the mat and out into the world in how we relate to people.

Giving us a sense of more openness. Being able to listen with more compassion and kindness to ourselves, to our bodies, and to other people in relations. The breath brings us into that space, or brought me into that space during labor and child birth, of just being present with what was happening in my body. Not going into a story of oh my God I can't handle this, not to say that there weren't moments of that. I'm not gonna lie.

It did help just bring it into I'm here in this present moment. It's not gonna help me to keep track of time, to think about where I'd rather be, or anything like that so in that sense it's really the deepest form of meditation that we can get to. It's just really being with the chaos that's happening in the world or in our bodies, and the beauty of that chaos and the creativity that comes from it and breathing through it. Let's just imagine that we've gone through a sequence together. With maybe taking savasana or corpse pose.

In our case we're not lying on our backs so a modified relaxation corpse pose and now we're coming to the culmination of our practice. We're gonna work on the breath work, using it as a tool for meditation. Just bringing ourself into the present moment. Just starting with your breath as it is naturally and freely. Noticing how it's flowing in and out of your body.

Now we're just gonna make some very minor modifications to our posture. So just lengthening the spine a little bit and just lifting the sternum slightly. Dropping the chin ever so slightly but still keeping enough space for this air to pass through the throat. For this one we're gonna do 12 breaths. 12 cycles of breath.

We're gonna ease our way into it but we're gonna think of the Ujjayi breathing. Thinking of bringing in through the throat so we're gonna inhale yes through the nose but the air is gonna pass through that throat like a big ocean wave or like that Darth Vader sound. Really making that sound, accentuating it. Inhaling deeply. Pausing just momentarily, exhale.

Inhaling through the throat. Exhaling. You two and you at home are gonna keep with the breath, staying with the breath. Seeing if you can get it even louder with every inhalation and every exhalation. As you breath just bring your awareness into your diaphragm, into that place right here in your collar bone and into your lungs and feel it expand.

As you exhale bring your awareness to your belly. As you inhale you feel a sense of expansion. As you exhale your belly draws slightly in towards the spine and just keep breathing, seeing if you can lengthen it out even more. Exhaling. Now as you breath you're just gonna notice the pause in between the inhalation and exhalation.

It doesn't have to be long particularly when we're pregnant cause we wanna keep that flow moving through us. The prana, the life force, but that pause can be a reminder of the opposition in our body. The masculine and feminine energy. The yin and the yang. Where everything comes together and is one.

As you inhale imagine that life force just breathing through your entire body. When you exhale you're just releasing, detoxifying, letting go. Keeping that breath flowing through the throat nice and loud. Good we're just gonna do a few more now. Just in silence.

Really tuning in to your breath. To the rhythm of your own breath. To the sensations in your body. In your last cycle now. As you start to now just soften it into your own natural breath.

Just noticing any new sensations in your body. Particularly in your lungs and your heart. Good and if your eyes were closed you might just open them gently. We'll just come back together. That was really one of the more simple ways of doing it and probably one of the best for pregnancy because we don't want to hold our breath to much or do any breath of fire right now.

We just want to cultivate energy and presence really. So hopefully the ideal is just to give some visuals, some tools, some things to look for when you're doing pranayama breathing. Some of my ideas about the importance. Generally speaking 12 breaths at the end of a practice is a good way to do it. If you feel like you have time during the day and you just do like a gentle 10 minute sequence of movement meditation and then come into the pranayama could be really beneficial for you throughout the next phase of your pregnancy and hopefully life because it doesn't necessarily get easier after the baby comes.

Just more exciting. So the breath can help you stay centered and grounded. Hopefully that helped you a little bit at home to just like I said have some tools and some visuals to help bring you really deeply into the breath. So thank you Namaste ladies.

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