Article by Sue Fuller
During pregnancy it is vital that you take time to relax. Learning some basic relaxation techniques will prove to be beneficial and very useful not only during your pregnancy, but during labour and as a parent too.
Putting aside 15 minutes a day for relaxation is an achievable goal and could be the best 15 minutes of the day. During your relaxation it is possible to clear and focus the mind and connect with your baby enabling you to start forming a bond with them.
There are times during your pregnancy when you feel that your mind is busy or overwhelmed. Take time to relax you will be glad of it and if you form a habit now, then when the baby arrives you will hopefully be able to find the time to continue with your relaxation as this will help with your parenting.
Following a guided relaxation or learning some simple meditation techniques is a great starting place.
This can be followed whilst in the flapping fish position (see yoga for the second trimester).
In your mind visualise different body parts whilst directing your attention to that area and ask the area to relax. Name each body part three times. For example for the right hand, begin with, relax the right hand, then, feel the right hand relaxing and finally, the right hand is relaxed. Start at the top or the bottom of the body and visualise each body part in a natural sequence either up or down the body or circle from right to left. Once you have moved through all of the obvious areas then finish by visualising for the whole body and asking the whole body to relax.
Another great way to relax is to just lie in the Flapping fish position (see Yoga for the second trimester) and breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Feel yourself becoming heavier each time that you exhale.
Begin sitting in a comfortable sitting position, either with the legs crossed or sitting on a chair. Ensure that the spine is straight. Focus on the breath entering and leaving the body, allow the breath to deepen. Time should be taken to tune in to the rhythm of the breath. Follow the breath and the path that it takes. Awareness should eventually be brought to the ribcage to ensure that it is expanding and contracting, during pregnancy avoid breathing below the naval.
Focus on how the breath feels entering and leaving the nostrils.
Begin to observe the body and its actions. Now start observing the mind, allow thoughts to enter and then leave the mind. Do not give the thoughts any time just allow them to pass through. Begin to focus on the space between the thoughts and lengthen that time.
Visualizing the Baby in the Womb
This meditation will help establish a connection between mother and baby.
Begin in a comfortable sitting position with the spine straight. Focus on the breath entering and leaving the body, take time to deepen and slow the breath.
Place your hands onto your abdomen and visualize the baby in the womb, send love and light to your baby.
Once the connection has been established start to visualize the baby, picture its tiny head, the eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth. Imagine the curve of the baby’s spine and legs tucked up in the fetal position. Visualize the arms, hands and fingers, legs, feet and toes. Visualise your whole baby and be as detailed as possible.
Visualize a stream of golden light bathing the child. Send messages to the baby, reassure them, and let them know that they are loved and welcome.
This meditation is very important as it will develop a bond between mother and baby and should be practiced regularly.
When it is time to end this meditation let your baby no that you will be connecting with them again very soon and how much you love them and then slowly allow the images to subside.
Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher with a range of over 40 audio yoga classes, including a selection of pre and post natal Yoga classes. All yoga classes are available on CD or as a MP3 download from www.wellbeingworldonline.com or from www.yoga2hear.co.uk. Classes are easy-to-follow and suitable for all levels of yoga experience.
Sue is also the author of The British School of Yoga Pre and Post Natal Yoga Teachers Course, The resident yoga expert for Natural Health Magazine UK and a mother of two.