This is Part II of a three part series on how yoga can support you doing labor and childbirth. In the first part we discussed how yoga can help connect you to your breath. Haven't read it yet? Be sure to check it out here.
Our own strength can surprise us sometimes, and nowhere more so than in childbirth. However, it often takes our yoga practice to help us understand that strength and how we can push through something even when it is physically demanding or difficult. Here are some ways that yoga can help us explore how strong we are as we prepare for the physically demanding reality of birth:
Try exploring staying in yoga poses longer than you think you can: in poses like Warrior II or Squats at the wall, we have foundational support for our bodies and generally are not putting them in a precarious position. So, when you’re in the pose, notice when your body tells you its time to come out (this might show up as trembling or a sense of exhaustion or tiredness in the muscles) and see if you can stay a few breaths longer than you think. Of course, if your body is telling you to come out because you’re in legitimate pain, please come out when you get that feedback.
When we stay in difficult poses for longer periods of time this also gives us the opportunity to practice different forms of managing our sensations. When we are in a place of intense sensation, be it a long-held yoga pose or a contraction, we can manage the sensation by keeping our mind on something else. If we keep our minds busy and focused on something else, the brain has less bandwidth to focus on telling us we’re in pain. Yoga poses can be a great place to start exploring this as a practice for managing sensation in labor. Here are a few ways we might distract our minds in yoga poses or in labor:
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