One of the best ways to regulate the nervous system and in turn the body and mind is through breath. The health of our central nervous system is inseparable from out stress loads. “Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate,” says Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.” (The Benefits of Yoga) Utilizing simple mantra meditation and chants prenatal yoga allows you to reduce the stress we pick up from being in overly noisy environments, anxiety inducing situations (work, parade routes, Mardi Gras Balls and parties - New Orleans living), while facilitating a deeper connection to the baby in your womb.
A baby’s ears are mostly developed by about 20 weeks gestation, and they start responding to sound and developing preferences to sound around 24 weeks. Establishing a meditative practice that utilizes both sound and breath is a tool you can carry through pregnancy and into challenging nap times or scenarios in which you baby may need comfort. Because they associate the vibrations of this practice with a calm, relaxed mama in utero they will feel safe and familiar with this practice outside the womb. Establishing a mantra which empowers you will help you regain control in moments you feel overwhelmed such as labor or trying to sooth a sleepless baby. A simple example of a mantra used in prenatal and postpartum yoga classes is the So Ham mantra.
The Soham mantra is a natural mantra because it is already part of your nature.
Sooooo... is the sound of inhalation, and is remembered in the mind along with that inhalation.
Hummmm... is the sound of exhalation, and is remembered in the mind along with that exhalation.
The Soham mantra has been called the universal mantra because of the fact that its vibration is already a part of the breath, and everybody breathes. Sooooo... is the sound of inhalation, and Hummmm... is the sound of exhalation.
I am that: While the English translation may not be as important as the quality of the sound vibration, Soham translates as I am that. When remembered repeatedly, it declares I am that I am that I am that I am. Remembering the Soham mantra often during the day can be a very useful practice
Taking time to balance yourself and your system this time of year is the best thing you can do for your body and baby. Reducing stress and mental overactivity is perhaps the most important element of self care, you need to nourish you body with healthful cleansing foods, practice yoga, and throughout your day, week, month contemplate the ultimate question: “Why am I doing this?” (Yoga Journal) By taking time to practice these tools on the mat, you will shift your consciousness to a more balanced, mindful life off the mat.
Prenatal and Postpartum yoga is taught every Tuesday evening.
For more information about the Soham mantra visit Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters