Friday, September 9, 2011
Prenatal Yoga...listening to your Inner Wisdom.
YOUR INNER WISDOM DURING PREGNANCY
I was despondent when I learned I was pregnant with my first child. I found myself crumpled on the floor of our closet, in the middle of the night, crying and feeling lost. I was scared to be pregnant at this time. Wasn’t this supposed to be a time of bliss? And this poor child … I yearned to want him, not feel this way!
Earlier that day I had purchased a prenatal yoga book, Beautiful, Bountiful, Blissful by Kundalini yoga guru Gurmukh. I opened to:
“Having a child is a beautiful kind of alchemy. What this soul brings you, and what you bring to the soul, transforms you both for all time.“
As I continued reading, I felt my energy shift as love and gratitude flowed in. My tears of terror turned to tears of joy. “Wow. Wow! I am going to have a baby!” As soon as I accepted this precious gift — instead of resisting it — strength and love poured in, allowing me to fully enjoy, be present, and embrace my pregnancy.
Soon after the magical birth of my son, I became certified by Gurmukh in The Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga. Later I expanded my knowledge by becoming certified in The Kabbalah of Birth and Beyond with Dr. Joseph Michael Levry (Gurunam). I share with the mothers-to-be in class that pregnancy is a time when your intuition, that “still, small voice,” is stronger than ever and ripe to be heard.
I have heard many midwives say, “The body of a woman in labor knows exactly what to do to get the baby out.” I 100% believe this to be true. But what if you are not used to trusting your body or your instincts? What if you don’t know how to listen to your body? What if you don’t know how to go inside and block out the noise? What if you haven’t learned to depend on your inner strength? Then, instead of listening to your inner, wise-beyond-comprehension voice, you will listen to those around you: your family, partner, doctor, friends, etc. And no one, no one, knows your body like you. This is not anyone else’s pregnancy or birth. It is yours. Own it.
We have a heightened capacity to go inward while pregnant. All of life steers us in this direction. We are bigger, heavier, and have less energy. We must literally slow down, sleep more, plan, and think in terms of “we” instead of “I.” Do not resist these changes. There is a reason you are being taught to slow down! Did you know that a newborn nurses 10 hours per day? Our intuition is super sensitive during pregnancy. Welcome your new thoughts, inner-knowing or impressions that begin to unfold during pregnancy. Do not discount them as “hormonal” or “irrational.” And do not allow anyone else to do that to you either. We must rely on our intuition during our pregnancy, childbirth, and while raising children.
How can prenatal yoga help us listen to our inner wisdom?
In a prenatal yoga class we take time to just sit, breathe, and listen. Radical, isn’t it? We listen to our bodies, our hearts, and our babies. We even listen to our fears and anxieties surrounding birth and motherhood — and use ancient tools to transmute them into strength. The sacred space of a yoga class, away from the rush and noise of everyday life, allows your intuitive eye to open like a flower.
Prenatal yoga also creates the space for an expectant mother to not only connect with her unborn baby, to develop that bond, but also allows her — the woman — to breathe more, sing, stretch, and connect to her own divinity, her own spiritual self. This may be the most important part of your prenatal yoga practice. Your emotional, mental, and spiritual health directly affects the health of your child.
As a woman, a mother, a human, I encourage you to listen to your inner voice. She is wiser than any book, therapist, or friend. She will guide you in everything from how to raise your child to what decision to make in a business transaction. Learn to respect her all-knowingness. Remember that 10% of life can actually be seen with our physical eyes. We must rely on our third eye, our intuition, to navigate the other 90%.
Ultimately, childbirth will be a tremendously empowering passage. But you will be able to trust and surrender to this passage with more grace and ease if you have repeatedly practiced and experienced the power and wisdom of your intuition beforehand. That is where the sacred space of a prenatal yoga class, or your own meditation practice, comes in. Use the nine months before your birth to practice hearing and trusting your inner voice.
The birth of my son was one of the most magical experiences of my life. I am still in awe of the power of my body and psyche during childbirth. The yoga techniques and breath work empowered me to give birth naturally, without drugs or interventions, and be fully present. It was my inner voice that told me that I had the strength inside to birth my baby naturally. To respect your inner voice is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your children. Life will become magical when guided by her.
I am a certified Naam Yoga Therapist and instructor of both Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga and the Kabbalah of Birth and Beyond. Prenatal Yoga Classes are held on Tuesdays from 5:00-6:15 at Kundalini Rising Yoga. For more information visit: www.bethanyhard.com or call 615.772.3528.