Prepare yourself well
It is tough to define health but for ages it is perfectly defined by Indian Rishis as
Sam doshah samamgnisch samdhatumalkriyeh.
Prasnnatmeindriymanah swasth ityebhidheyete.
Perfectly healthy is one whose three doshas (i.e. vata, pitta, kapha), agni, dhatu and discharge system are balanced and who is light at ten senses, mind and spirit all together.
Different preventive devices and systems of medicines are exercised to provide good health to all individuals but all such systems fail if we ignore the very important aspect of spiritual health in which we treat our senses, mind and spirit with five ‘Yama’ (Non violence, Truth, Non stealing, Celibacy and Non indulgence) and five ‘Niyama’ (Purity, Contentment, Resistance, Study of holy text and the self & Dedication to Divine) prescribed by Maharishi Patanjali in yogic discipline. If we are sick at senses, mind or spirit, we can never be healthy at body even after all possible medicines or other alternate devices of good health. In wider sense Yama and Niyama are the real applied form of religion that bless us with strong body, calm mind, healthy spirit and smooth lifestyle.
Sixteen Sanskaras (Garbhadhan, Punsavan, Semntonnayam, Jatkarma, Namkaranam, Nishkramanam, Annaprashan, Chudakaran, Karnbedh, Upnayanam, Vedarambh, Samavartanan, Panigrehan, Vanprehstha, Sanyas and Anteyeshtikarm sanskara) described in Indian art of life have also been introduced to induce practical form of religion in the individual since it descends in the womb of mother. Three of these sanskaras are performed before birth when baby is in the womb. They prepare the solid ground for proper upcoming of the baby and for maintaining perfect health of the mother, physical as well as mental, emotional and spiritual. These sanskaras are the best yoga training for baby and the mother at initial stage that work like preparing the field before sowing the seed for best harvest. These sixteen sanskaras continue along with the growth of individual till ripe old age and even during onward journey. These Yama and Niyama lead us to perfect health and enable us to accurate and effective performance of yogic skills such as asana, pranayama, meditation and deeper stages of yog sadhana.
Rapid changes in diet discipline, living standards, working conditions and environment do call for special care of mother and the baby during pregnancy. Yoga is the best answer to this requirement when woman is engaged in creation of a new life not merely with body but with emotions, mind and spirit. Yoga helps to the best possible pregnancy and delivery. Our latest experiments reveal that meditation and slight amendments in asanas are beneficial in this period. Ladies who have never practiced yoga before will also feel that these simplest poses will improve the mother’s fitness and well being. Relaxation, breathing and meditation help us to handle the whole process with sweetest experience.
All women experience some fear of labor pain but yoga teaches to face it. Yoga practice will not only contribute to an easier labor pain but also help you to handle any eventuality calmly from deep resources of spiritual strength and energy.
Yogasana during pregnancy
Welcome! Today I am introducing a few risk free asanas to comfort you during pregnancy, to be practiced during this very special period
Follow these nine sutras
- Never take asanas as a part of your daily routine work or start the asanas all of a sudden but just prepare yourself physically and emotionally before you begin with.
- Wash yourself, clear your stomach, nose & throat, spread your asana on the floor and sit comfortably for at least ten minutes in crossed leg or folded knee position with spine straight and head relaxed.
- Suspend all worries for the time being and concentrate on yourself – just on yourself.
- Let your mind be stress free, joints & muscles tense free, face cool comfortable and calm with breathing rhythmic. This practice will suspend your worries and problems for ever.
- Always come out of an asana if you feel any strain or discomfort but at the same time don’t be too easy on yourself. The baby is well protected both by your abdominal muscles and by its sac of amniotic fluid in the womb.
- Remember, the baby in the womb screams with fear when you are in fear, it flourishes when you bear a cheer. It gets proper nourishment when you are nourished. It is within you but still a part of our existence so directly affected with the changes that come to your personality so be very careful and balanced as you are shaping a new creation.
- While at yoga devote yourself absolutely to asana and imagine the baby too moving with you while practicing asana.
- Listen to your body as you are the best judge of what you can and cannot do while you are pregnant and how to adapt your asana to meet your own particular need.
- At the end relaxation is a must for at least 10 minutes. For perfect relaxation technique of shavasana may be learnt under expert guru or ask him for its audio/video CD to practice it and then come out of shavasana properly.
Stand straight on your mat / asana and grip your right ankle with left hand to rest your right sole on the left thigh. Keep the palms beside both thighs. Balance on the left leg and lift both arms from sides to above head position while inhaling. Give a moderate upward stretch to your entire body and bring the palms to observe prayer pose in front of your chest while exhaling. Continue to be in the prayer pose with rhythmic breathing. Keep balancing gradually with eyes closed for perfect results. Concentrate on breathing rhythm only to develop wonderful feeling of inner peace and concentration to steady the mind. Repeat it with changing the position of legs. The calming influence of the asana will be enormously rewarding during the months to come. Practice both positions – stretching and the prayer pose, placing your foot high against the opposite thigh. Try to hold the position with eyes closed.
This asana may be performed even during late pregnancy and prevents any deformity. This asana adds a lot of muscular and nervous strength & energy and refreshes you against any fatigue. It protects you against painful labor. This asana strengthens your legs, helping to carry the baby comfortably. Women who practice this Dhruv asana during pregnancy are blessed with healthy baby with wonderful devotion and concentration like Bhakta Dhruv.
Sit with legs spread in front of your body. Hold the right toe with your hands to rest the right ankle on left thigh joint. Now hold the left toe to rest the left ankle on right thigh joint. Ensure both heels touching the lower abdomen with your spine, neck and head quite straight but still tense free. Sit comfortably but try gradually to ensure that your both knees come closer to floor. You may try on single leg also alternately in the beginning if you find it tough to perform all together.
Hold ‘Brahmanjali Mudra’ during Padmasana. For that rest your palms in your lap below naval placing right palm over your left palm facing sky. It will equip you with Laghima shakti and keep you very light at body and mind during this tough period. You may prefer to sit in ‘Gyan Mudra’ too if feel the necessity of ‘Garima shakti’ with index finger of both hands making a circle while touching the tip with tip of the thumb. Keep the complete arms relaxed resting the wrists on the knees.
Padmasana is popularly known as ‘Sarv Vyadhi Vinashanam’ or the rare asana that eradicates all ailments from the body of its practitioner. This asana tones up your digestion generally disturbed during pregnancy and develops a rhythm and strength among stomach, heart and mind. Padmasana helps to open up the pelvis for the birth.
Sit with your legs spread straight in front of your body. Fold the right knee, hold the right toe with left hand and bring your right heel closer to left side of buttocks. The same way fold the left knee holding the left toe with right hand and bring the left heel closer to right side of buttocks. Ensure that your knees are placed one over the other like the Photograph of Goswami Tulsidas and your left knee is placed over the right one. Keep the spinal column straight and lift your left arm above your head allowing the upper arm touching the left ear. Fold it at elbow so that the palm touches our upper back. Now try to catch it with right hand from back side. Hold this position and continue rhythmic deep inhalation and exhalation for about 20 times. Repeat the same process with changed position of knees and the arms. Ensure that the chest is lifted high and back is maintained straight during Gomukhasana.
It strengthens the legs, arms, knee and back. Gomukhasana is specially meant for people suffering from breathing problems especially asthma and bronchitis. Especially pregnant women facing breathlessness and short breathing with increasing size of baby in the womb are deeply benefited with regular practice of Gomukhasana. Ample oxygen supply in this asana purifies the lungs and adds proper purified blood supply to entire body and the growing baby. It helps activating the milk grenthis in women before the child takes birth. The cross legged position in this particular asana supports the lower abdomen in a balanced way which is already bearing the weight of growing baby for over nine months.