Meditation is another aspect of yoga practice which is very important. In fact the whole purpose of practising yoga postures, is so that we can sit comfortably in meditation. Only practising physical yoga without pranayama (yoga breathing) and meditation, in addition to the right livelihood associated with yoga, is really just aerobics.
The dictionary definition of the word “Meditation” from the Oxford Reference Dictionary 1992 is:
“To think deeply and quietly; to do this in religious contemplation.”
You don’t have to be religious or even a yogi to meditate and it is not associated with any religion.
There are many forms of meditation and the word “meditation” holds many connotations for yogis and those new to yoga alike. I have included a short baby bonding meditation for you to try, assuming that you are either new to meditation, or at least new to pregnancy.
WHY SHOULD I MEDITATE DURING PREGNANCY?
• Meditation helps to calm the mind, reduce anxiety and anger and helps to eliminate stress. Avoiding these emotions is important for mum and baby’s wellbeing during pregnancy and so meditation can be an important tool.
• Meditation affects the body on a deep level and allows us to connect to a healthier state of mind and body.
• It can help us move towards becoming more patient, more aware and more tolerant: all fantastic skills that you’re going to need as a new parent!
Here is a gentle introduction to yoga meditation for pregnancy. Just now, you are probably thinking and wondering about your unborn baby all of the time, so it makes sense to focus on your baby while meditating.
During this baby bonding meditation, you will connect with your baby and begin to communicate with them in utero. It will help you to feel completely relaxed and will encourage you to enjoy your pregnancy.
HOW TO DO IT
Find a comfortable position, in Hero Pose (Virasana,) Easy Pose (Sukkhasana or simple cross legs) or in Padmasana (Full Lotus.) You can meditate lying down, but when you are pregnant there is a tendency to fall asleep. Use a blanket to cover your knees or around your shoulders to keep you warm and dim the lights if you can. Just as with Pranayama, it’s great if you can have a quiet space to practise, but if you don’t, just bring your attention to the background noise and then let it go. Keep bringing your attention back to your breath.
1. Inhale deeply and then exhale slowly, a nice long extended exhale. Close your eyes softly and allow yourself to relax completely into your breath and into your body.
2. Take another deep inhale and then exhale slowly to the count of 8.
3. Continue to take a gentle inhale and a long extended exhale. On the in-breath, bring your awareness to your expanding abdomen and as you breathe out, become aware of air leaving your abdomen. As you breathe in, visualize all of your energy as a beautiful pink glow, going down to your belly and to your baby as you inhale. Imagine the pink fuzzy glow warming your body on the in-breath.
4. Now it’s time to speak with your baby. Tell them: “I love you.” Take this moment to talk to your baby, introduce yourself to them and tell them what life will be like with their new family. Take this time to get to know your new baby. Tell them all about their mama and how much fun you are going to have together. Tell baby how excited you are about the pending birth and how you are going to work as a team to make it a calm, peaceful and speedy experience.
5. Continue to breath and as you do, visualize the beautiful pink fuzzy glowing energy surrounding you and your baby now. This energy is protecting you both. Relax into your breathing and allow the flow of pink energy to travel around you and your baby’s body.
6. Breathing naturally in rhythm now, allow yourself to relax and rest. Be at peace with your baby and just become aware of their essence. You and your baby are safe, happy and loved. You can spend as little or as much time as you like meditating. When you are ready, just open your eyes and gently return to your normal daily activities.
This is an extract from Cheryl MacDonald’s new book YogaBellies for Pregnancy available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.co.uk click here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/151736583X