“Pranayama” is a branch in Yoga that teach us different types of breaths and their effects on a body. Depending on which technique you practice you will find yourself more relaxed and grounded or more energized and active! Such a simple thing as breathing is able to aid many kinds of challenge related to pregnancy and motherhood.
In this post I will explain you specific breathing techniques that helps with nausea, fatigue, pain during labor and lack of energy postpartum!
1. Nadi Shodana (“Nadi” means “energy channel”, “Shodana” means “to clean”)
It is a yoga breathing technique that balances both sides of our brain and cleanse energy channels in the body! It’s prefect for pregnant women as it also stimulates energy flow around the womb and the baby. It is great practice for women trying to conceive as it balances hormones too. I would also recommend this pranayama for parents who experience a lot of stress and anxiety.
Sit comfortably, lengthen your back, reach the sky with the top of your head opening more space in your body for fresh new air to come in!. Take your right hand and bend your index and middle finger inside. Close your right nostril with right thumb and inhale into left nostril. Close left side now with your ring finger and exhale from your right side! Keep left close, Inhale with your right nostril, close it then and exhale from left! This was 1 round of Nadi Shodana pranayama.
If you feel lack of energy during your postpartum, try one-side Nadi Shodana! Inhale using right side only, exhale through your left! And vise versa – if you feel overstimulated, stressed and restless – use left side breathing: inhale using left nostril, exhale using right side! Try to do 10-15 rounds at a time, 4 counts – inhale, 4 counts – exhale. It might be confusing first with fingers position, but do not worry, it doesn’t really matter how you close nostrils at the beginning! If you want to learn here is one of my videos there I explain and show the techniques! The video is in Russian, please, use subtitles in your language!
2. Sitali (“Cooling” breath)
This is the pranayama created for Bangkok :). It protects from overheating, helps to ease nausea, focuses and calms you mind. I do not recommend this pranayama for the first weeks postpartum as the aim after birth is keeping the body warm, not cool.
Sit comfortably, take a cushion to help you elevate your pelvis. Reach up to the sky with the top of your head! Bring your tongue out and curl it in “U” shape! Some people are not able to do that, if that is you then place the tip of your tongue behind your teeth and open your lips, like if you would smile, separate your tongue from the roof of your mouth. No matter if you are in first or second position – start to inhale through your mouth so that you feel cooling sensation on your tongue! While exhale out of your nose, bring your tongue back in, close the mouth. Repeat 10-15 rounds!
3. Breathing into your baby!
Last pranayama I will explain here is a contemporary technique based on classic pranayama and modern labor support systems like Hypnobirthing, Calm Birth or Mindful birth. This breathing is combined with visualisation and can be practiced before and during labor. It helps the body to relax and oxygenate better, helps brain to slow down and focus!
With your inner gaze find you baby in your body, in your belly, in your womb. Slowly start to inhale with your mouth into the baby. Imagine you ihale beautiful golden light from the heart of the earth and draw it down to your pelvis! Feel how this energy nurtures you and your baby! Count to 8 while you inhale! Exhale through your nose, counting to 8.
If you are in labor it’s a great tool to help your cervix to open. Imagine you are inhaling into your cervix and it opens like a rose or other flower you like! Soften your face, mouth, neck and throat more and more with each inhalation! In labor you can exhale from your mouth or nose – see what makes more sense to you! Imagine the contraction softens and sensations melts away while exhalation! Inhale – opening cervix, exhale – soften and melt the sensations of contraction!
There are so much more useful tools to take not only from Pranayama, but from Yoga in general! Yoga is a great support for your body and emotional balance while pregnancy. Here you can find is 5 most important reasons why you should practice Yoga while you are expecting a baby!