To prepare for birth, I recommend you begin to nourish your mind-body connection. During labour and birth, the ability to control your breath, your mind and your body can have a significant impact. Here are 5 daily habits to build your mind-body connection during pregnancy:
The whole purpose of practising Yoga is to release tension in the body and therefore in the mind. This is one of the reasons why you feel so relaxed after class. Every pose or ‘asana’ has an emotional or mental aspect to it. For example, ‘child’s pose’ calms the nervous system whereas ‘sun salutation’ increases energy levels. During Yoga classes, I always reccomend my students to tune into their own mind and body, choosing poses or variations that are right for them at any given moment.
Closing your eyes, focusing inwards and gently starting to slow down your thoughts is easier said than done. Many people avoid meditation as they don’t fully understand it or feel as though it is not working. Maintaining a regular practice is key to developing the skill of meditation. Even just 5-10 minutes each day will really help you develop your overall mind-body connection. When you first begin meditating, you will most likely notice that you have an extremely overactive mind. This is normal – I cannot emphasise this enough, we do live in the 21st century after all! Just the simple act of noticing how busy your mind is can have a positive effect on you as you are gaining a bit of distance from this busyness. Learning how to let go of the mind is crucial for birth and listening to your body.
The practice of visualising an outcome ahead of time has been proved in studies to increase their likelihood. As many women these days fear labour and birth, I would highly recommend visualising your ideal birth. To learn more about visualisation, check out these tips.
Pranayama is the practice of various breathing techniques. Learning how to control your breathing can help to release tension from the mind/body, calm the nervous system or increase energy. Please see here for 5 types of pranayama during pregnancy. You can also check out my recent video linked on MAMA’s Facebook Page for a cooling breath technique – great for these hot summer days!
- Begin to listen to your mind and body:
Generally, beginning to tune into your mind and body is also really important. Begin to notice how you feel in certain circumstances or even each morning you wake up. Start noticing if you hold emotion in your body. Some further tips include:
• Checking in with your body before making decisions (big or small). How does each option resonate with you?
• Noticing any uncomfortable sensations, pain or emotion as it happens in the body and dealing with it as it happens.
• Sharing thoughts and feelings with those close to you.
As I’m sure you can understand by now, building the mind-body connection is a holistic practice and will take some time to develop. Try integrating one or two of these practices to begin with and be patient with yourself as you develop the skill of listening inwards.
Louise is a Registered Nurse, Pregnancy Yoga Teacher and Doula.
She is committed to improving birth outcomes worldwide.
Subscribe to the Mamma Mudra Blog for weekly posts and special offers for online pregnancy meditation and yoga