Prenatal Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 2

Breathing for Pregnancy and Birth

15 min - Practice


Alana guides us through a mindful breathing practice to help draw our awareness inward towards sensation. We explore feeling and sensing the breath in the nostrils, upper chest, and ribs, finally resting our attention in the belly as we connect with our babies. You will feel softly tuned into the present.
What You'll Need: Chair

About This Video


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Welcome, I'm so happy to be here with you and our babies. This is a breath awareness practice, a simple practice that you can do sitting in a chair, you can be on the couch, in your rocker, lying down, wherever you are comfortable, right? So the breath is an essential and vital part of being human and being alive, and it can be an incredible resource to tap into during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. So we'll start just in a comfortable position, and if you have your feet on the floor, take a few moments to feel that connection, feeling the support of your sitting bones, the incredible support of your pelvis, maybe the weight of your belly. And as you arrive and settle, notice what has your attention.

And most likely, the mind is pretty busy, it's pretty active, it's pretty wild, especially in pregnancy, there's anticipation, there's planning, there's preparation, there's worry, so the mind can be very, in my experience, very restless. Just notice, take an inventory, notice what has your attention. Any lingering to-dos, anything swirling around the landscape of the mind. And so it's the nature of the mind to be dispersed in time, moving between the past and the future. And so in yoga, the breath is really one of the primary techniques to help bring us into present moment awareness and really anchor us into this very moment, into our incredible, growing body.

So as you notice what has your attention and energy, let's begin to bring some attention towards your breath. And without doing anything fancy or specific with your breath, just begin to notice the texture of the breath, the quality of the breath. You can keep your eyes open or softly focused or closed, whatever brings you the most comfort and ease. Notice the quality of the inhale and the quality of the exhale and see if you can allow your attention to gently stay tethered to the breath, which is not easy, again, because the mind wants to be swirling and moving and all over the place, but see if just for about a minute or so, you can tether your attention to the breath. As you tether your attention towards the breath, become aware of sensations in your body.

Be noticing areas that might feel a little tight or tense or clenched. There's so many changes that happen through first, second, third trimester. Notice where you might be able to soften and let go, even if for just a moment or two. The eyes, the jaw, the shoulders, allowing the hands and the feet to feel perhaps a bit more receptive. Knowing when your attention kind of wanders and travels away from the breath, where does it go?

What is it up to? What is it planning? Gently coming back for just a few more moments here. Then to bring your attention towards your nostrils and just notice the sensation of the breath in the nostrils without the use of your hands or anything specific. You feel and notice the texture of the breath, the temperature of the breath, the placement of the breath in the nostrils.

In yoga, this would be a practice of dharana, cultivating this really steady single-pointed attention or concentration as if you were staring into a candle flame. You more moments here at the nostrils. And from the nostrils, draw your awareness down into your upper chest and upper lung area, right around your collar bones. You might even bring your hands there to rest for a moment. You begin to feel and sense the movement of the breath in the upper chest, beneath your hands.

Notice the quality of the inhale and the exhale without strain or force or manipulating the breath. What is seeing your natural inner tides and rhythms? You more moments here. Maybe check in with the eyes and the jaw, softening. And then from your upper chest, draw your awareness downward into your rib cage and you might even bring your hands around your ribs.

Begin to feel and sense the movement of the breath down and wide into the rib cage or into the hands. Notice the quality of the inhale and the exhale, keeping it soft through your throat, feeling that natural expansion and contraction. You more moments here. Notice when the mind wanders or gets bored, which it does, and just gently draw it back. And this is a practice and presence and concentration, tuning towards the breath.

From the rib cage, draw your awareness down into the ocean of your belly. You might kind of naturally intuitively bring your hands onto your belly, feeling and sensing your growing belly and your baby. Can you begin to feel and sense the movement of your breath down and wide into the belly? And without force or strain, really just becoming aware of what already is occurring. Where our attention goes, our energy, our life force flows in that direction.

As you breathe or feel the breath in the belly, you also get a sense of the back of your pelvis and the back of your body. This feeling of fullness, as if the breath is expanding three dimensionally in all directions, and widening the pelvis, the hips, and keeping the pelvic floor very relaxed. And notice when the mind wanders, which it does, and gently draw it back into the belly. Feeling and sensing the movement of the breath and maybe even the movement of your baby. For those first initial flutters of energy before there were any kicks or punches.

Beautiful. Then from the belly, relax the effort of your attention. Relax the effort around the breath. Just resting in the field of awareness and space you've created within. You might feel and sense your whole body, your whole being, being breathed.

This inner pulse, this expansion, and this softening, emptying, and contraction. Letting the mind rest in wide open attention or wide open awareness, yogis call this dhyana. Closer to a state of meditation. Feel present with the inner movement, the inner landscape. You might notice in the last minute or so here, if there's any kind of subtle shifts of energy or a state of mind, knowing that the breath is a resource that we can tap into and come into relationship again and again throughout our journey.

Bringing the hands together and just rubbing the hands together. Feeling this warmth, this energy, bringing one hand to your heart, one hand to your belly, your baby, just allowing your presence to gently expand from the inside, grounded, centered, and aware. Thank you for joining us, and may this support you on your journey.


Jenny S
Was looking for an inward-listening meditation and I thought of you and this led me here…I really needed your gentle voice today. I hope all is well with you and your sweet family ❤️

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