Pregnancy. The time where you most need sleep, but cannot get comfortable long enough to get it!
Between roundhouse kicks to the ribs, getting up and down to go to the bathroom, and achy hips, getting a good night’s sleep can be pretty difficult. Some people say that the waking in the middle of the night is to help prepare you for the sleepless nights to come. Oh, mother nature, you think of everything, don’t you?
It is also quite common to be dealing with anxiety and heightened emotions during pregnancy. With hormones pumping to grow your sweet baby, your worries and thoughts can become a tornado. Add to that the fear of the unknown, and our culture’s tendency to scare new mamas about birth…and no wonder you can’t get a good night’s rest!
That’s where a sweet and refreshing yoga nidra practice comes in to save the day!
As you learn this trick during pregnancy, it can be especially helpful for the postpartum time period when sleep can be even more elusive. (Yup, I hate to break it to you…but it gets worse!) But the good news is, you can do yoga nidra snuggled right up next to your baby or toddler. It is said that yoga nidra can be as beneficial as hours of sleep, which you know you need as a mom!
So here is how to get started.
Typically, in a yoga nidra practice, you would lie down on your back. However, lying on the back is not recommended during pregnancy. But not to worry, there are many other comfortable ways to get started with your yoga nidra practice safely. You can lie on your side, with a leg draped over a bolster, or perhaps a pillow in between the knees if there is hip tension. If you have access to yoga props, you can set yourself up in “reclined goddess pose.” Set your bolster up on two blocks (one vertical, and one horizontal). Line up your lower back with the edge of the bolster, and lean back. Feel free to bring a blanket over your body, as your temperature tends to drop.
Set your intention for your yoga nidra practice. It can be as simple as “I am relaxed” or you can even set an intention for your birth process such as “I am strong,” “I trust my body” or “There is no rush.”
As you notice the sounds in the room, begin to notice the sounds within yourself. That oceanic sound to the breath. Observe your inhales and exhales, and notice that just by taking time to observe the breath, it changes. It becomes deeper, softer, and more nourishing.
Starting at the scalp and crown of the head, bring awareness to your body. Feel each part of your body relax. Bring attention to your forehead, and find space between the eyebrows. Relax them. Relax the jaw, and the throat. Work your way down into your heart space. From there, relax and release the left shoulder, arm, and hand. Work your way back to the heart, and then to the right side. Relaxing down into the belly, take a moment to send a little love note to your baby. Then continue down your legs, drawing attention to each part of your body…and then relaxing.
When you are ready to wake up, do so slowly. Move with care, bringing gentle movement to your fingers and toes first. Breathe in, and feel refreshed and relaxed at the same time.
Keep yoga nidra in your back pocket for the rough days to come. Figuring out breastfeeding, teething, colic—it’s all tough stuff! Cuddling with your baby and including a yoga nidra relaxation will be perfect self care in the postpartum period.
Author: Logan Kinney
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Image: Alena Getman/Flickr