Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tuning into the moment

Tanya, my dental hygienist says of her recent birth experience to her 3-month-old baby boy, "I was fully present for the moments I wanted to be fully present for."  Of course I reflected on her statement and pondered, "What are the moments that we want to be fully present for?  For me, I wanted to be as fully present for the entire experience as I could because in my mind, it would bring me closer to my baby.  This may sound irrational, but I've long felt that love is not about what is rational but rather what one is willing to risk for the sake of truth, connection, and happiness.

Consider that in labor, unlike most of life's moments when our vision rules most of our perceptions, it will be what you hear that will help to heighten your awareness to the experience. 

Begin now, in your pregnancy.  Take a safe, comfortable seated or lying posture.  Bring your attention to your breathing and as you exhale, feel how the eyes so naturally want to close. Keep your attention focused lightly on your breathe, and let yourself be drawn to the gentle sound of the breathe moving out of your body.  Gradually, let the sound of your exhalations become louder, so that you begin to make a soft humming sound. With every exhalation, like a gentle flowing water fall, let your awareness be drawn to the sound inside.  What do you notice?  Can you feel how the sound of your breathing helps to quiet and sooth your mind?

How does your baby respond to your more audible breathe? Do you feel that your baby is more active or quieted by the sound? Consider that your baby is cushioned in approximately 2 quarts of fluid and that sound waves travel much quicker through fluid than that of air.
 I am reminded of a very endearing story about how qucickly sound travels through water.  The story teller was in our circle,  pregnant with her first child.  She said "when I was younger I'd go and visit my grandmother who lived on the lake. My grandmother warned me, don't share your secrets on the beach unless you want our neighbors across the lake to hear you."   So the gentle humming on your exhalations will certainly be subtely felt by your baby.  We can use our mindful, more audible sounds to help make a stronger connection in pregnancy.   For example, as you sound, direct the energy to the space that your baby holds in your body, or imagine him/her in your mind.

In labor, we can apply the same principles. The gentling humming, infused with thoughts of holding your baby in your arms, or usurps from your diary that bid farewell to a most cherish confinement  help to deepen our connections. 

The sound of birth.  When your baby slips out of your body, most likely it will not be what you will see that will tether your moment, but rather what you will hear.  Consider that the actual moment of birth is so intense for most women that they are unable to clearly see their babies.
Too, the release of rectal pressure often forces the spine into extension causing the head to be gently thrusted back so that your eyes initially will be directed up, towards the ceiling.  So for several seconds, it will be what you hear that keeps you more connected to the moment. The now empty, hollow space that once held the reassuring sounds of your baby's thumbing, beating heart beat will quickly acquise to the sounds of your baby's first gasps for new life, and your careproviders gleeful shares of joyful celebration.

Of course, your eyes will certainly devour the first sight of your newborn. But until then, practice stilling the mind with the sounds of your breathe to help yourself be fully present for these precious, short lived moments.

Let yourself make a strong connection between the sound of your breathe, your mind, and connection with your baby.  Who knows, you just may find yourself so mesmerized by what you hear in labor that you'll want to live more of your life tuned into every moment.

Together, forever, in our hearts,


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Candy sweet for mother's day

I direct Meghan's attention inside herself and give instructions to make the connection between her and her unborn baby.  Meghan is due with her first baby at the end of October.  She doesn't know if she is having a boy or girl, so she calls her baby "Candy Corn", coined by her older sister.

 I love the name because it is another blending of the power inherent in 3 for me. The stripes of yellow, orange and white stack neatly together like that of family, season, and the festive time of Holiday.  Of course, too I think of my own beloved daughter, Candyce.  Although we never called her Candy, she was the sweet that first drew me inside.

To better connect with her baby, I suggest  to Meghan that she recall the "special hearing pathway" that we revisit often that was created to help affirm the special connection that mothers have with their unborn babies. We then chant the sound "o-u-m" for 90 seconds, the time of one contraction during transition, considered to be for many women the most intense part of labor. I asked Meghan of her experience. She said, "I could easily imagine my baby, but not myself."  The following week we engaged with the same exercise and Meghan described having a very different experience.

 She said she imagined herself to be pure, white light, like how on an overcast day the light burst through a cluster of gray, thick clouds.  It's important to mention that there was no discussion or mention of "light" prior to her experience.  In other words, I did not cue her to imagine herself to be such a form.  Meghan imagined this on her own, guided by threads of her breath, sound, and deep connection with unborn child.

For many pregnant women, communicating with their unborn baby is ongoing, and is as natural and normal as the often contented, peaceful, endless days of the second trimester.  At Birth Blessings Yoga we take this connection to another level by providing a framework that affirms and honors the power of our love to make this amazing, magical connection. The three pillars of our frame our intention, imagination, and attention. Together, they enliven 3 specific, highly concentrated, energetic areas of our subtle body known in yoga as Chakras.

 It's the 6th Chakra called, Ajna that is located at the brow, in the middle of the head, in the same space that we imagine, that enables us to be a transmitter for telepathic communication. In scripture, it points to our ability to connect with our teacher or Guru for transformation which is really at the heart of our yoga practice. But it can be any extraordinary connection, and to me, there are few greater than that of a mother and her unborn child. Indeed, in my case, I believe it was in fact my absolute certainty that in pregnancy my baby heard every word of my gracious bubbling heart that a decade later helped me to connect with my Guru.

 The 5th Chakra,Vishuddha is located at the throat and it is responsible for helping us to speak truth. Our speaking isn't necessarily verbalized but rather words infused with raw feeling that holds power to manifest. One of my favorite aphorisms that reflects this knowledge is from Patanjali, a great yogic expounder, when he said that, "words, meaning a feeling are interwoven. As words are eternal, so are meaning and feeling."

The 4th Chakra, Anahata is located at the heart. It's here that we begin to know the power of intention behind our ability to touch. Touching not in a physical sense, but rather touching what is elusive, the formless. It's a first for many of us, to be so enraptured with the invisible.

When we allow ourselves the full expression of how we are feeling about carrying a baby coupled with the power of affirmation, our awareness quite naturally will be drawn to lighter, more subtle forms of ourselves.  Then we can more readily experience the full power of our connection. And who knows, it just may be the very impetus that keeps heaven's gates open to more experiences that our as sweet as Meghan's with her candy corn!

Happy Mother's Day,