Pregnancy is a roller coaster. Fact!
I feel so grateful to have tools at my disposal to surf the ups and downs and stay sane. I think without them, I’d probably drift into a pit of worries and anxiety. I am not saying I am always positive and stress-free, that would be lying, but I think I am doing pretty well at managing my emotions and changes in my body.
I will let you into the secret of what’s kept me grounded so far. It is so simple, most of us completely overlook it.
Yes – that simple!
I find focusing on my breathing is the best way to anchor myself in the present, moving from a state of ‘doing’ to a state of ‘being’. It helps me slow down my thoughts, release the tension I carry in my body and it makes me feel more centered.
I tell you why it is amazing. It is transportable (can’t leave it at home – can you?). It doesn’t require huge amount of time. And people can’t see you’re doing it.
I have worked with many expectant mums before and breathing has also proved to be the most effective relaxation tool to help them through labour.
There are so many breathing exercises out there it can become a bit overwhelming. My advice is always to start by simply focusing your awareness on the air coming in and out and the movement of your chest or your abdomen. Once you find this comfortable enough, you can venture out and try other exercises.
I have tried many different ones but 3 of them stuck with me and are particularly helpful throughout my pregnancy. I am sharing them with you today 🙂
When you first try these, make sure you have a good 5-10 minutes ahead of you and you can practice eyes closed in a calm environment. Once you feel comfortable enough with them, you can practice them anywhere, you won’t even need to close your eyes.
Before any exercise, close your eyes, quickly scan your body from head to toe and release any unnecessary tension in your body.
Choose a word that you associate with feelings of calmness and deep relaxation. Mine is simply “Calm” but pick whatever works for you… peace, serenity, relax…
If you want you can associate it with a colour. Mine is baby blue.
Once you have got this in mind, synchronise the word and colour with your breathing. Imagine that the word or colour is entering your body as your inhale and diffusing throughout your whole body as you exhale. Breathe in the word and associated feelings of calmness and breathe out, let them reach all parts of your body… your muscles, vital organs, your cells. You can also direct this word specifically to your baby, as if you wanted to communicate these soothing and calming feelings with him.
Breathe this way for a few minutes. Then take a moment to acknowledge how you are feeling before coming back to the room.
Choose a flower that you find beautiful. Mine is a white lily. Imagine it is sitting on your abdomen. As you breathe in, let your abdomen rise and visualise the petals of the flower opening and revealing its beauty. As you breathe out, let your abdomen lower and visualise the petals closing up. I find this exercise very soothing.
Breathe this way for a few minutes. Then take a moment to listen to how you are feeling, body sensations and emotions before coming back to the room and opening your eyes.
This is fab to release negativity and tension in the body.
As you exhale, visualise breathing out dark bubbles which are carrying any tension, discomfort, negativity you might have been experiencing recently. Breathe out anything that doesn’t not serve you right now. Let your body relax a bit more on each out-breath.
After a while, start visualising golden bubbles entering your body as you inhale. These golden bubbles are carrying light, energy and warmth and are nurturing your whole body as you breathe in.
Keep breathing this way for a moment. And as usual, take a little time to tune into your body sensations and feelings without labelling or judging your experience, before coming back to the room and carrying on with your day.
All these are really good to feel relaxed and stay calm during pregnancy and but also great to practice in the first stages of labour.