Breathe In, Breathe Out: Practicing Mindful Yoga Techniques (For Pregnant Women)
Mindful yoga is a form of yoga, which merges meditation and inward focus with the physical exercise of yoga. It is an integration of disciplines for the body and mind and encourages awakening on every level of one’s being. Through breathing, meditation, and yoga postures, mindful yoga allows one to stay physically healthy and fit while also freeing her spirit and mind. Pregnant women can especially benefit from the practice of mindful yoga. The physical postures and exercise of yoga along with meditative awareness not only helps a mommy-to-be stay overall fit and healthy, but it also allows her to better bond with and positively nurture the growing baby, stay relaxed and both physically and mentally prepare for labor and birth. I practiced mindful yoga throughout my pregnancy. Not only did it help me to feel energized and balanced, but it helped me stay calm, strong and centered during labor and delivery as well. Here are some tips and techniques which I used when practicing prenatal mindful yoga.
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Check with your healthcare provider
Before you begin practicing mindful yoga or any other kind of exercise while you are pregnant, it’s recommended that you check with your healthcare provider first.
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Practice in a place which allows you to find total relaxation
For you and your growing baby to feel the full benefit of mindful yoga, do it in a place where you feel completely comfortable and relaxed, with no distractions. For some, this may be in a group setting in a yoga class. For others, it may mean a quiet, private room at home or a peaceful setting outdoors. If doing it on your own, dim the lights, turn on music if you’d like, and turn off your cell phone.
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Wear comfortable, breathable clothing which will not cause you to become too hot. Have a pillow close by to put under your forehead or between your legs to make certain poses more comfortable for your pregnant body.
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Drink lots of water before and after (and during if necessary) your yoga practice.
Set your intention
As you get started, ask yourself, “what is my intention?” Maybe it’s to bring more joy and positivity into your life. Maybe it’s to feel more connected to the baby in your belly. Maybe it’s to melt away any fears you have about labor and delivery. What do you want to create for the day?
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Stay in touch with your body
Listen to your body to discover your own version of each posture. Honor your knowledge of your body and trust that you know what is best such as how long to hold a pose or how deep to stretch.
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Be present. Without judgment or attachment.
Let the cares of the day or the week fall away. Focus on the present moment, the now. The past is gone, the future has not yet happened, relax into yourself into that particular pose at that moment, and truly be alive. Do not judge yourself for any thoughts that may wander into your mind and allow yourself to move at your own pace.
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Breathe in love, light and vitality to you and into your baby space.
Invite your breath to bring light, joy and love into your being and also into the space of your baby. Breathe in confidence and positivity to you and your little one, breathe out tension and fears you may have regarding labor and birth or anything else. As you go into each new pose, free yourself from judgment or thought and breathe in awareness.
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Work to transform all aspects of your life into light and love
Work through each movement with love for yourself and for the growing baby inside of you. Engage in the activity with kindness and acceptance. Give yourself permission to see clearly, to grow and go higher. Take all aspects of your life higher including the health of you and your baby.
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Become the observer.
Become the observer, the watcher of your thoughts. Allow them to enter and float through your mind. Acknowledge each thought without judgment, sending it love, and letting it pass. Refocus on your breathing between each thought that you may have.
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Connect and communicate with your baby.
Pregnancy is a beautiful, wondrous time of connection and bonding with your baby who is growing inside of you. As you gently move through and hold the yoga postures, nurture your bond. Spiritually and emotionally connect with your baby. Communicate with her on the inner or through your thoughts and feelings.
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Be mindful of your changing body.
Alter your exercise as your body continues to change throughout the pregnancy. If you are past the first trimester, avoid lying flat on your back in poses such as “corpse pose”. Also, as your pregnant belly continues to get bigger, avoid twisting motions which put pressure on or wring your uterus.
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Embrace the feeling of being pregnant.
Enjoy and embrace your pregnancy. As you practice yoga and improve your physical health and strength, feel the energy of life within and without. Breathe in the feeling of carrying your growing baby inside of you. Surround your feeling with light.
Fill yourself up with a feeling of gratitude. You are alive and carrying life within you. Breathe gratitude in with every breath. When holding postures visualize gratitude touching every cell of your being.
Realize that the joy is in the journey.
Accept and appreciate that there is joy and beauty all around at every moment. Whatever you are feeling at that moment, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Your baby will be here soon enough, and you’ll be back into those jeans down the road, but for now, enjoy the journey.
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