The times of pregnancy and postpartum are incredibly challenging and intense. While pregnant, we grapple with our changing physical bodies, emotions and moods, and the unknowns of the future. Once in postpartum, we grapple with much the same concerns - new body, intense emotions, continued unknowns and new worries for the future of our baby - all without our normal mechanisms to help cope with these stresses, like sleep or time for self.
Finding ways to love and giving grace can help keep you steadfast and strong. Practicing finding love and grace now, whether in a yoga class or in a spare moment of your own, could help keep you grounded, full of love and goodness when challenges arise in our daily lives.
Find a comfortable seat on a bolster, blanket or pillow to slightly elevate your pelvis and make space for your body as it is today. Rock you and baby gently side to side, back and forth, and eventually come to stillness. Soften your gaze or close your eyes in a way that feels right for you today.
Take an opening breath, feeling your ribs and belly moving out in all directions. Let the flow breath out, perhaps as an open mouth exhale.
Visualize your pelvis broadening and descending in a way that makes space for baby; then visualize your spine lengthening, your shoulders releasing and finding space across your chest.
Take another broadening breath or two, feeling your pelvic floor move with your diaphragm and lungs.
Bring your breath back to something easy and comfortable and visualize the following:
With an open heart, we let go of the urge to judge ourselves, our bodies, our efforts, and each other. Take a moment to visualize judgements like these melting away, as a pile of snow melts in the warm sun. We give ourselves grace to be and love who we are now.
With an open heart, we let go of expectation or requirement for what we want and do our best to be present with the goodness, generosity and life we have all around us. Take a moment to think about an expectation you may have for your pregnancy, birth, postpartum or for your baby. Visualize the expectation melting away like snow melts in the warm sun. Imagine the warm sun on our heart helping us feel love for the present moment, for our baby, for the goodness and life we have now.
We give ourselves grace to be and love the present moment.
With an open heart, we visualize how we want our baby to see the world, full of hope, love, warmth and goodness for all beings.
We give ourselves grace to hope and want this goodness.
Take a few breaths while slowly repeating the mantra, “Open my heart."
Notice your body, notice baby, notice your breath and heart space. Linger in this feeling for a moment or two.
When ready, gently open your eyes, refocus your gaze, and smile.
Much love to you and yours on Valentine’s Day!
Portions of this practice were adapted from Yoga Mama by Linda Sparrowe