Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh

Read this book if: you are looking for an unconventional book about birth that introduces you to alternatives to hospital births, celebrating 120 days when kundalini yoga tradition believes the soul enters and 40 days post birth,  an introduction of kundalini yoga, meditations for pregnancy and birth etc.  She also has a Prenatal Yoga DVD that I recommend and a book on Kundalini yoga/8 chakras.

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Support the author if you enjoy the summary by purchasing the book here:

I found this book so positive and inspiring. It led me to do the Khalsa Way prenatal yoga training in LA, which was such a transformative week for me. I met inspiring women from all over the world and really was able to connect with the soul growing inside me. This book shares knowledge about birthing and infant care that isn’t in the mainstream of today’s Western culture, but which has been around literally for eons. You also don’t have to read the chapters in order.

Summary of book: BBB is a treasury of advice, information, and inspiration for pregnancy and motherhood, based on the spiritual and physical practices of Kundalini Yoga, which Gurmukh has taught for the last thirty years. With illustrated, step-by-step instructions, she teaches time-tested techniques, meditations, and exercises that will help you physically, mentally and spiritually. The sections of the book cover each trimester of pregnancy as well as delivery and life with the baby. In her wise and comforting voice, Gurmukh suggests meditations, exercises and yoga positions to answer the various needs of expectant and new mothers as you undergo dramatic body changes. She teaches Kundalini yoga as taught to her by Yogi Bhajan who brought the technology of Kundalini yoga and meditation to the West. Yoga sets he recommended for pregnancy are based on the Khalsa Way – a program for life that addressed childbirth education and parenting, as well as community-awareness issues.

The goal of Kundalini yoga is to awaken the Kundalini, the primal energy that rests at the base of our spine. Kundalini moves this energy up our spine by means of asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), mudra (hand positions that stimulate centers in your brain) and mantra (repetitive sounds we make to bring about a change in our consciousness). Kundalini is “the yoga of awareness” where you stimulate and balance your chakras – spinning vortexes of energy throughout your body, each radiating a particular energy that is important for your health, happiness and well being.

Introduction – Gurmukh starts the book with her own life experiences and what led her to explore non- conventional birthing methods and start teaching yoga. She believes she was meant “to physically, mentally and spiritually prepare a mother so that she can guide new soul on an amazing trip through their lifetime”

 

The First Trimester

The First Step of the Journey – The first 120 days is building the house. The soul enters after the house is built; that soul has specifically chosen you as a parent.

• Meditating- Choose a warm, clean, uncluttered quiet place. Wear loose, light-colored and natural fiber clothing if possible to expand your body’s aura. Barefoot. Best in morning as a way to center yourself for the day ahead or before going to bed to help you relax fully. Sitting in the same place every day for your yoga and meditation is good because that space starts to take on the meditative energy you create.

• Meditating in Easy Pose- Hands in gyan mudra (or index and thumbs pressed firmly together), which creates wisdom. Inhale through nose and exhale through mouth in equal lengths. Hear “Sat” on inhale and “Nam” on exhale, which means “Truth is my identity”. Repeating of certain syllables stimulates nerve centers in your body. Repeat for 11 minutes.

Pregnancy As a Living Prayer – Create a sacred space- Make an altar in your home.

• “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” repeat at least 3x up to 26x to reach a state of equanimity, which means “I am bowing to that creative wisdom inside myself”
• Meditation for Infinite Connection: Easy Pose Cupping Hands – Pinkies touching, 6 inches in front of your heart center. 3 minutes. Eyes at 3rd eye point.

Bountiful Beautiful Blissful – the teaching of Kundalini yoga is that as a woman comes to know and love herself, radiance shrines through to the outside and we call her beautiful. As she grows to be compassionate not only of others but of herself, we call her bountiful. And as she comes to experience the vastness of who she is and of what she is capable, we call her blissful.

Babies come from the center, the point from which our chi, or life energy radiates. The navel represents the third chakra, the fundamental element of commitment.

• Meditation to Honor Your Womanhood. In easy pose, right hand straight forward, palm facing down, reaching for the horizon at 60 degrees, left hand in gyan mudra and repeat “I am the light of my soul, I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am bliss, I am, I AM”. Sit for 3-11 minutes facing east, where each new day is born, outdoors if possible

The Emotional Abyss – Adjust diet or move in a way that will stimulate your body’s own healing energy or talk to someone to alleviate morning sickness; you don’t have to feel bad. Ginger root tea help regulate the wild flux of hormones in the early stages, support your nervous system and cleanse your liver. Make from fresh ingredients if possible ~finely chop 1 inch of fresh ginger root and add to 1 cup of water. Let boil for five minutes, then add a little honey, milk or lemon.

• Exercise For Emotional Balance (Easy Pose Stretching Arms) –- Stretch arms above ears with palms facing each other stretching to the sky. Fingers are side by side but thumbs are separate. Keep arms and palms stiff, reaching high. Move arms back and forth like fanning head, 6-9 inches out and then back in. Eyes at 3rd eye point. 3-7 minutes.

Morning Sickness – Drop in blood glucose levels caused by the added work your body is doing to create a baby can make you feel fatigued, irritable and emotional. Eat something every two hours, preferably a little bit of protein and a vegetable or fruit. Eat as many whole, live, organic foods as you can. Sitting with family/friends during a meal releases oxytocin as we look into each other’s eyes. Always bring water and a snack when leave house – raisins, almonds, fruit, crackers, soy nuts etc. Walk 5 miles a day – walking balances the brain, hormones and the glandular and nervous systems.

• GoodBye to Queasiness – Walk for a half hour and press thumbs to fingertips in the following order: thumb to index (gyan mudra ~ knowledge), thumb to middle finger (shuni mudra ~ wisdom, intelligence and patience), thumb to ring finger (surya mudra ~ vitality), thumb to pinkie (bhudi mudra ~ ability to communicate well). Chant Sa-Ta-Na-Ma, one syllable to each finger, starting each round with the index finger and ending with the pinkie.

The Importance of Breath – Life force prana comes to us through breath. Breath relaxes, gives clarity and cool-headedness because it brings oxygen and nitrogen to the brain cells and pumps spinal fluid to the brain. It prevents the buildup of toxins in the lungs and as lung capacity expands, the pituitary gland becomes stimulated.

• Breathing Better Exercise- Open book against your navel as if reading it. When inhale, belly pushes book away from body. Exhale, let book glide back toward spine. Inhale Sat and Exhale Nam for min. 5 min. Blood becomes more oxygenated.

Healing Old Wounds – If having trouble accepting pregnancy, for 3 minutes each day, place left hand over right hand, put over heart and repeat the mantra “Happy am I, Healthy am I, Holy am I” while rolling eyes to third eye point.

• Meditation for Self-Love and Acceptance – Sit in easy pose with left hand stretched out in front of you holding a piece of fruit. Hold opposite hand 4 inches above fruit. Keep arms straight and eyes closed. Concentrate on connecting navel point to the fruit as if taking the prana (life force energy) and blessing the fruit. After 9 minutes, hold fruit with both hands at navel point and breathe long and deeply for 2 minutes; continue 7 minutes. Exhale and eat fruit. Great 90-day meditation. If too long, start with 3 minutes in each posture.

Remembering Your Own Birth – What makes us what we are today is what happened in the womb and in the first three years of life. For each month of pregnancy, you relive on a deep, emotional level your own time in the womb. Interview your own mother and find out what she was thinking/feeling when she carried you. Hypnotherapy can unlock these questions if mother is not around.

• Healing Emotional Wounds from the Past – Sit in easy pose and raise right arm up to 60 degrees in front of you. Bring left arm behind you in 60 degree angle pointed downward. The two arms should from a straight line; keep them straight with thumb locking down other fingers. Close eyes and focus downward as if looking through center of chin. Breathe slowly and deeply for 3 minutes. Extend pinkie finger and index fingers for 3 minutes. Extend all fingers and tighten muscles of body while you stretch towards infinity for 3 minutes. Inhale deeply, exhale slowly and evenly – repeat 2x. Start at 1 minute for each posture and build to 3 minutes.

Creating a Neutral Mind – When you are confused, stop and press your third eye point on your forehead between your eyebrows with your thumb and shut your eyes, inhaling “Sat” and exhaling “Nam” for 3 minutes. This will bring you back to center. For every negative thought, have a positive one.

• Meditation for Mental Balance – Sit in easy pose, extend arms out to sides like great wings, palms flat and facing floor. Flap your wrists and hands rapidly as if flying furiously. Action is in the
wrists. Breathe in long, deep inhales and exhales for 3 minutes.

Cultivating Patience – Get a plant to practice nurturing and connecting to the physical world; experience more sunsets, play with dirt. We get mad if food takes too long at a restaurant or sitting in traffic. In India, people just sit around “doing nothing” – enjoying life; some Westerners are shocked to see. Osho: “What took 6 weeks 200 years ago now takes 1 day.” Imagine not having to fill every single second of your time and just see what develops.

• Meditation for Being Patient (Jupiter Meditation) – helps bring nervous system into balance and helps grow patience. Easy pose, eyes closed and rolled upward, extend arms straight out, palms up. Move Saturn (middle) finger – inhale as raise, exhale as lower; coordinate this with the breath for 7 minutes (start w 3 min).

Appreciating Your Partner – Fathers during pregnancy wondering if they’ll be able to provide and how your relationship will change (including sexual from lover to mother). Tell your husbands they can always say, “My wife is pregnant and not able to come tonight.” No man is ever ready-made; you pick up where mother left off. For most of us in a relationship, it is work to stay together. Not just coexist, but to grow together, build something great together, reveal the truth of our hearts together. It is worth the work and every ounce of commitment.

• Happy Couple Mediation – Venus kriyas are partner mediations. Sit back to back in easy pose, spines touching. Single parents do with close friend. Deeply inhale and exhale, then begin chanting together “Sa Ta Na Ma” for 11 minutes. Begin loud, then whisper, then silently to yourselves and return to loud.

Creating a Positive Picture of Pregnancy and Birth – TV depicts horrible picture of childbirth. For most American women, the birth experience has been removed from the home for several generations and been turned into an institutionalized experience. Some birth stories are exaggerated as well – some may say 60 hours of labor; ask how many hours of active labor (where we have to breath with our complete attention through every contraction). Ask to hear positive birth stories. Read books like The Red Tent and Spiritual Midwifery to learn of childbirth history as females, past and present.

• Meditation for Banishing Fear – Easy pose with eyes closed and rolled upward and extend arms out. Close hands, bring fingertips to base of palm, thumbs up. Inhale and bring thumbs to shoulders and return – go as fast as you can and don’t let thumbs touch shoulders. Continue with powerful breathing for 2 min to stimulate pituitary gland – work up to 7 minutes.

Considerations For How and Where To Birth – When you own your birth, you own your life. Consider early so no last minute rush. You have options – hospital, birthing center, home. 95% of births are without complications and can be done at home; home or birthing centers deliver 7% of babies. In N. Europe, 70% of births occur at home. Ancient times, mother birthed at home where she was comfortable and was surrounded by female relatives and midwives who supported and encouraged her. If interested in home birth, take husband/partner with you to discuss instead of telling him as fact. Ask plenty of questions including if labor assistant welcome, eating/drinking allowed, views on Pitocin/epidurals, C-section rate, definition of “overdue”, birthing in squatting position etc. Trust your intuition; ancient teachings say a woman can sense something “sixteen moons before it will happen” a metaphorical was of saying we are more intuitive than men. What’s your gut reaction to the hospital? To the Dr? To the midwife? But don’t be rigid – allow mind to accommodate all possibilities as births are unpredictable. Children are born exactly the way they need to be born. Sometimes a soul coming through needs a certain experience for its journey, or the mother needs it for hers, or the father for his.

• Meditation for Making Decisions (help build inner knowingness)- Easy Pose with eyes at 3rd eye point. Prayer pose at center of chest; slide left hand up until entire palm is higher than right (right palm will be touching left palm just below the wrist). Inhale “Sat” Exhale “Nam”. Breathe as long and slowly as you can for 3 minutes.

 

The Second Trimester

A Soul Arrives – honor soul who arrives on 120th day after conception (4th month of pregnancy). A majority of miscarriages happen at end of first trimester, when soul hasn’t been completely fortified. Before that date, the entering soul is unaffected by world influences, existing only in radiance. When soul enters, baby’s subconscious mind begins to develop. Father and friends of mother can organize celebration preparing delicious food, arranging flowers and lighting candles.

• Meditation for Connecting With Your Baby (can connect mentally at this stage). Enjoy with partner and friends, opening heart chakra, the center of compassion. Sit in Easy Pose, press palms together in front of nose; middle fingers in front of brow. Focus at 3rd Eye point, eyes
closed. Breathe deeply and evenly – start at 3 minutes and work up to 7. Stretch body after.

Nourish Yourself – Well being of family depends on women remaining healthy. Women’s bodies different than men in that Earth’s energy moves up bodies and inward – female energy is “drawing in” energy or centripetal force, which also makes women the centers of the household. When a woman elevates her life for the better, the entire family benefits. Good nutrition one of central pillars of a healthy pregnancy: cut out junk food, white sugar and fast food; better to eat fruit than drink it as a juice; support body with foods filled with “prana” – life energy – fresh and alive and organic; drink lots of pure water; if swelling of hands and feet, cut out salt; eat cucumbers and watermelon for water retention; flying in airplane is dehydrating so bring cucumber slices and put on eyes for comfort. Organic foods not genetically altered are best. Fresh fruits and veggies full of prana – life force- so you receive the energy and goodness. Fill fridge with fresh, live and colorful food. Eat more veggies than fruit. If crave lots of sweets, eat more protein (60 g a day) – mung beans and rice great (Recipe: 4.25 q water, 1 c mung beans, 2 c basmati rice, .5 c chopped ginger root, 1-2 onions chopped, 1/2 bulb garlic chopped, 2-8 c veggies, 2 tbsp ghee or oil, .5 tsp crushed red chiles, 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp coriander, .5 tsp pepper, 2 tsp curry powder, .5 tsp cumin, 2 tsp sea salt: Rinse beans, boil water until start to split (~30 min); Rinse Rice and add. Add veggies in order listed. Heat oil in pan and add spices -sizzle 30 sec; add to bean mix. As rice breaks up, lower heat and stir occasionally. Cook uncovered until a bit mushy. Total cook time 1.5 hr or cook in crockpot overnight.) Can be vegetarian while pregnant – find protein other places. Lifelong health shaped in the womb – tooth decay and prostate cancer two diseases linked to life in utero. Read Chinese Tonic Herbs for Chinese recipes. If experiencing heart burn, constipation or hemorrhoids, look at dairy and bread in diet – soy products can be a good substitute for dairy. Try eating main meal for lunch. Earaches, bronchial infections and asthma can all be common indicators of weakened immune systems. What a baby eats after is born is what mom eats while pregnant and nursing. If drink milk, make it organic.

• Meditation – Tree Pose for Balance, Strength and Focus: Hands in prayer pose at center of chest and lift one foot up and place on inner thigh. Lower eyes and focus out and down about 5 ft
out. As balance steadies, lift arms and straight to the sky. 2 minutes each side breathing long and deep. Inhale and exhale from baby’s home.

Believe in Miracles – Amazing is all around us if we stop to listen. Birth from within. Yoga and meditation can be the golden chain that links the two of you together in this profound miracle we call creation.

• Meditation for Being Happy (Smiling Buddha kriya) – Easy Pose with ring and pinky fingers curled in, held by thumb, keeping first 2 fingers straight. Palms forward. Concentrate on 3rd eye
point. Chant “Sa Ta Na Ma”. “Sa” expresses infinite, “Ta” expresses life, “Na” diminishing and “Ma” light and regeneration. 11 minutes, inhale deeply, exhale open and close fists a couple of times and relax.

Revel In The Joy – “What a child learns in the womb cannot be learned on earth” Yogi Bhajan. Create a space that is slower, more joyous. Dancing, bouncing and laughing are good for your lymphatic system and your baby needs it for all the same reasons and to stimulate brain development. Babies love to
dance. Celebrate your pregnancy – where what you want. Wear colors!

Chakra colors

  1. Root chakra – red – base of tailbone; life energy, sexuality, strength
  2. Associated with ovulation; orange – located at uterus where baby lives
  3. Solar plexus – yellow. Emotions
  4. Heart center- green; healing and prosperity
  5. Communication and power to speak at throat – blue
  6. 3rd Eye Pointe – Indigo; hidden knowledge, intuition, meditative mind
  7. Crown of head – Violet; spirituality; God consciousness within us
  8. Protective Shield – White; magnetic field produced by each living being (white represents union ofall colors in spectrum)

When you live in joy, you are imparting that to our child. Don’t read horror stories or novels – junk food for the mind. Ask yourself if you’d read that to your child.

• Dance of Joy – Don’t let a day go by without dancing. Play whatever music you like. Go for 11 minutes or more and move your hips. Don’t let one part of your body go unmoved!

Your Most Important Job – Job of growing baby within your healthy baby is more important than any career consideration. Not suggesting career isn’t important, but honoring motherhood as a role is the most central and necessary role in our human society. Caring for your pregnant body is a spiritual experience if only you let it be one. Some like to see how much we can do while pregnant, but let us not devalue the miracle of motherhood in the process. Learn to be more, not do more. No matter what work you do, it is ideal if you can stop a few months before you have the baby so your sole occupation is the babe. It’s not always possible, but you can slow down, work fewer hours, take naps or put your feet up at work. Slowing down can give you the luxury of connection, the time and space to really tune in to your child.

• Meditation for Being Enough Just As You Are – Easy pose with right arm on right knee. Left hand faces heart center 6 inches from chest. Say “I am” with hand 4 inches from chest, then 12 inches from chest. Inhale and repeat for 11 minutes, starting at 4 minutes. Imagine the hand close to your heart is represent the “little me” and the further hand represents the big, ever-expanding non limited Self. They merge together. You will have an experience of how great, strong and vast you really are.

*Squatting For Strength – Since the beginning of time, women have squatted to birth. Some with a birthing stool, kneeling. Delivery can take place in a few minutes with the mother squatting according to book “Childbirth Wisdom from the World’s Oldest Societies.” Only in Victorian times did the birth in supine position, flat on back. Whether or not able to birth in squatting doesn’t matter, but practicing it gives you strength: no compression on vena cava and aorta, the major blood supply that runs through center of body; mobilizes entire pelvic region – widening it as much as 25%; during labor, produces minimum muscle strain, maximum pressure inside pelvis and creates perfect angle of descent for baby – makes gravity work for your vs against you; gives baby optimal oxygen throughout the process and also relaxes the perineum area to lessen potential for tearing. Practice unless on bed rest or baby is breech in last 6 weeks of

pregnancy. Helps lessen stiffness in legs, helps tone and stretch back muscles and hips, takes pressure off spinal discs which can help easy aching back and helps elimination amazingly. Do 15 squats daily, because they align the pelvis, strengthen legs, and condition all muscles involved in the birth process. May be difficult at first since Americans have lost primal art of squatting since we sit in chairs all the time, putting the back in a weak position and sapping our spines of the innate energy – natural curve of spine is flattened and knees at 90 degrees cuts off circulation to legs below. All American health would improve if we squatted more, so encourage others.

  • *Creating Stamina and Power* (to be included in every prenatal yoga workout): If straining, stop. Breathe into it – so when you get to contractions you don’t have to run away because you don’t know what to do.
  • Feet parallel to each other, hip-width apart, hands in prayer position at center of chest and eyes slightly closed but open enough for good balance.
  • If heels come off floor when you come down, double up a blanket and place beneath heels.
  • At bottom of squat, tip forward, placing hands on floor and pushing buttocks up then slowly rollbody up, raising head last.
  • Begin again, taking buttocks each time as low to earth while feet remain on floor.
  • Always use hands to push up, don’t come up with just legs because puts too much pressure on uterus.
  • Inhale “Sat” as you raise your arms above your head and exhale “Nam” as you bring your hands to the floor.

The Power of Touch – Skin is the largest organ of the body, but that’s not something we stop to
consider. What comes in through our pores is absorbed into the body. Though most of us think twice about eating or drinking anything loaded with chemicals, too often we slather our skin with consumer, over the counter creams and lotions and never give it a second thought. Keep your skin as wholesome as you do your diet. Chinese medicine tells us by abstaining from eating too many sweets, called “yin” foods, we lessen varicose veins. Red raspberry leaf herbal tea, sometimes sold as “pregnancy tea” tones the uterus. Make a big batch at a time and store in fridge. Can’t drink too much of it. One of best moisturizers is pure almond oil – buy at health food store and massage before you get into shower or bath. For stretchmarks, use blackthorn oil (Dr. Haushka brand great) and rich shea butter from African shea

nut. Reconsider using antiperspirants under your arms – they clog your pores and keep toxins from escaping your body. Instead, use a dab of lavender oil – natural antibacterial agent or natural deodorant that doesn’t contain laurel sulfate or aluminum. Read ingredient labels – make it a way of life for you and your family. Keep rubbing your belly and talk to baby – communication you develop now will stay with baby whole life.

• Prescription for Glowing Skin – Massage with almond oil from head to toe. Rub belly with blackthorn oil. Then step into cold shower. Cold shower opens capillaries, blood ruses to outside to balance body temperature. Massage belly under cold water until it becomes warm so you give extra blood supply to that area and help babies develop great strength. Step out and wrap self in large, warmed towel, briskly rubbing yourself to dry. Glowing, soft skin, a clear head and happy baby. May begin with warm water and go to cold if this is new for you. Best to do in morning for wake-up. Warm, scented baths perfect for nighttime. Can fill with scents and almond oil but avoid bubble baths because they take natural oils out of skin. Use natural soaps and only use under arms and in private parts to avoid stripping skin. Scrub well with natural-bristle brushes or loofahs to help slough off dry layers and reveal new, soft skin. Put cucumber slices on your eyes as you soak. Use candles and music. Your baby is in water, you are in water…everything is perfect 🙂

Making a Healthy Environment – What comes into your body also goes into your baby’s body. Organic based cleansers do the job but are gentler on our environment, hands, children’s clothes, floors they will crawl upon etc. Water filters through entire home’s plumbing can reduce many of the chemicals that come in through the pipes. Many of us drink bottled water, but think nothing of turning on shower or sitting in tub – more water absorbed by body through skin than when drinking a glass of water. Can take filtered water to hospital to bathe newborn. After the bath, choose closing and blankets in soft, natural fibers rather than synthetic, especially for underwear. Take your shoes off before entering the house – avoid tracking in potential health threats like lead and pesticides that cling to soles.

• Exercise for Energy and Circulation – Stand against wall with arms in front and palms flat on
wall. Lift weight on ball of foot, squeezing muscles of ankles, calves, knees, thighs and
buttocks. Release and lower weight slowly so entire foot is on floor. Do 26x build up to 54. As the circulation increases, your legs will burn.

Intimacy and Your Partner – Sex not encouraged after soul enters at 120 days because subconscious mind of baby is being formed and sexual vibrations too intense. Medically, there’s no reason not to have sex in a normal pregnancy with no complications. Love hormone oxytocin that’s released during orgasm is the same one that get’s labor going – tip to remember at end of pregnancy. Broaden your defintion of “making love” – connection, attention, touching, giving. Dads can get physical other ways – work out hard, go hiking, swimming, yoga, walk 5 miles a day with wife etc. You are not only creating a child, but a family unit.

• Creating Deeper Intimacy with Your Partner – Lie together facing each other and take turns telling each other 5 things you are grateful for about the other person. Do this everyday and watch what happens.

Reconsidering How You Will Deliver – It’s never to late to change doctors.
Reconsider How You Will Deliver – Who can really be there for you and this baby during labor? You have a whole world to explore our there on birthing. Does your doctor agree with you philosophically? Take a good childbirth education class (outside the hospital so you can hear different points of view).

• Meditation for Increasing Intuition – Easy pose with eyes closed. Move arms as if swimming freestyle in big circles. Imagine swimming away from a storm. Do for 11.5 minutes (begin at 5 and work up). Put on music with a good rhythm. Then come into child’s pose. Stay here for up to 7 minutes. Inhale deeply and move spine to loosen it up. Gradually rise and relax.

Birthing at Home – Read about it and educate yourself if you are interested in this option.

• Meditation for Commitment (keeps spine strong)- Easy pose, hold ankles with both hands and inhale. Flex spine forward and lift spine up. As exhale, flex spine backwards, keeping head level. Repeat 108 times, about 3 minutes. Will release tension and send energy up your spine. Every vertebra will awaken.

Born at the Hospital – Most women in U.S. have hospital births, which is a reasonable choice, especially if you have health concerns or might need a medical intervention. Life saving technology at our
fingertips. Also know you have choices – can birth in bath in hospital. Can pull baby out. Can keep baby with you instead of sending to nursery (recommended). A baby is born the way a baby needs to be born, in the exact time, and the exact space.

• Easing Back and Hip Discomfort – Standing position, open legs as wide as can while maintaining balance. 90 degree bend of elbows, forearms parallel to floor extending away from chest in relaxed position. Rotate hips in as large circle as possible. Move from hips, not knees. 3 minutes to left, 3 minutes to right.

Birth by C- Section – Appropriate use of technology is important, even vital, but technology as a way to avoid human experience is not what it’s all about. About 20% of births in U.S., can be scheduled and cost 2x more. Babies not allowed in surgery recovery room so cannot be with mother right after birth (have baby’s father stay). A baby is born the way a baby needs to be born, in the exact time, and the exact space.

• Meditation for Health, Head to Toe: Easy pose, stretch arms to side with palms down, parallel to ground. Touch each thumb to mound of pinkie and close fist around thumb. Arms and fists in backward circles. Breathe like a cobra with a hissing breath through nose. 3 minutes.

Things to Consider About Epidurals – Past 50 years, epidural anesthesia has become a typical part of the hospital experience. Popular with C-sections because it allows you to stay awake and aware without
pain. Epidurals interfere with the body’s natural production of hormones and neurotransmitters involved in the birth process; they can actually slow labor down (which leads to doctors giving synthetic form of oxytocin to speed up labor and intensify contractions, so when epidural wears off, you are left with intensified contractions and no natural opiates). Some reports suggest that babies whose mother have had epidurals are slower to feed. French researcher Michel Odent says the drugs disturb eye-to-eye contact between mother and baby, which is crucial for bonding. (An experiment with lambs showed the ones with epidurals disinterested and wouldn’t take care of spawn). Take the time now to give yourself tools to come to know your body and the power of your mind. Childbirth is a transcendent experience. When we feel in charge of our birth experience, we may go into mothering more confidently and make choices that are in the best interest of our children, even if those choices go again the train of what the rest of society is doing. Weigh all potential benefits and risks.

  • Practice for Owning Your Birth Space – Kegel exercises. During urination, stop and start the flow of urine 4-8x.
  • Meditation for breaking through Fear: Easy pose, extend arms out. Close hands, fingertips to base of palm, thumbs up. Inhale and rotate hands around wrists, thumbs revolving full circle. 7-8 min with powerful breathing. (Start at 3 min).

Water Birth – French obstetrician Michel Odent was among the first to advocated birthing in water as the ultimate, gentle introduction of a baby into the world. Baby has just spent last 9 months in a sea of amniotic fluid. For his first contact with the world to be the warm, familiar buoyancy of water rather than cold air makes sense. Can ease contractions with water pressure on lower back as well.

• Opening Your Heart (to new concepts, possibilities, freedom)- Easy pose, hands in gran mudra, pressing index finger to thumb. Butterfly stroke swimming through water – opens the heart, lungs, diaphragm, immune system and glandular system. Breathe deeply and evenly through nose for 3-5 minutes.

Strengthening Your Soul – Pregnancy is boot camp for your soul. Think about the most challenging thing you have ever had to deal with. Where did your mind go? You need to explore how your mind relates to the challenges you face in everyday life. Birth is like climbing Mount Everest; you need a guide you trust and who knows the way and you need to be in condition. Not just physical, also mental and emotional. Making the commitment to have all 3 of those aspects of your being in the best shape you can will allow your spirit to soar. You are the strongest you have ever been – you are the most intuitive, most flexible. Let our pregnancies be the time for us to take our power back and remember again who we are: part of a long, golden lineage of women who have throughout millennia had the strength to survive and thrive: We are strong, we are woman! Never stretch your body soar that you hurt yourself, but do stretch your mind and your spirit further than you though you could ever go before, because that is exactly what you will be asked to do in your labor and in your life as a mother.

• Meditation to Unlock Hidden Power – Easy pose, hands cupped below heart center. Look into hands with your eyes 1/10th open. Inhale deeply and sing out a long, smooth “Maaaaa” – the ancient sound for the creative nurturer of the universe. Listen to this sound through your cupped palm. Continue 11 min.

Learning from your Dreams – Often the dreams we have now will be important, although what significance they might have may not make sense until later. When you daydream, you are recording it in your baby’s psyche, or, then again, maybe your baby is recording it in your psyche.

• Meditation for Pleasant Dreams (those who practice this “kriya” have all things they need come to them)- Sit with straight spine in comfortable position and roll eyes up to 3rd eye point. Take tongue and roll it into a V shape with the tip just outside the lips. Inhale deeply through rolled tongue and exhale through nose. This breath pattern releases obstacles in your mind to allow intuitive truth to come to you. Continue for 3-7 min.

 

THIRD TRIMESTER

Time to Surrender – Try to create space within your body instead of focusing on fitness during
pregnancy. One of the best exercises you can do along with yoga is walk. An old adage says if a woman walks 5 miles a day, every day, the baby will just fall out when the time is right. When we walk everyday, we feel stronger and healthier when it comes time to labor. May be hard in beginning and end of pregnancy, so listen to your body. Release strict concepts of due dates and how you will birth. There’s a month of grace around your due date – 2 weeks before or two weeks after. Babies are born exactly when they are supposed to be. When we relax in our lives all things come, when we try to “make” things happen, we tire quickly. Our shoulders are the place we hold tightness, fear and stress. In labor, let your birth assistant and partner release tension in shoulders (you may not want it at certain moments during labor). Start to consider that you don’t need to do so much – that those things you absolutely, positively have to do aren’t such a big deal in the long run.

• Meditation for Trusting and Letting Go – Easy pose and raise arms parallel to floor with palms facing down. Split fingers of each hand so index and middle fingers are together and ring and pinkie fingers are together, thumbs relaxed. Close eyes and breathe for 7 minutes. To finish, inhale deeply as you stretch your arms and tighten your whole body. Exhale and repeat this sequence 2x more.

The Art of (Not) Sleeping – Learning to accept broken sleep, not resist it, will give you more peace of
mind. Preparing you for when baby is in your arms. In the sleepless stretches of time, talk to your child (especially during amirit vela – 3-6AM, when veil lifts between conscious mind and unsconscious). Cat naps are the secret. Cucumber slices on the eyes, lavender oil at your temples and 3rd Eye point really help relax you.

• Peace Sleep Practice:- Before bed, take a nice, warm, candlelit bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil in the water. After drying off, put on a nice cozy robe and sit in Easy Pose.

• White Swan Meditation Make a fist with both hands, put both fists with backs of your palms towards you, palms away from you 6-8 inches in front of brow point. Extend thumbs and press them together until they become white (not hard, just firm). Allow the last joint of thumb to relax and bend back as much as possible. Fix eyes for a moment on white tips of thumbs, then close eyes and envision white tips. Begin long, deep and slow breaths, inhaling “Sat”, exhaling “Nam”. Do this for 5 minutes and work up to 11. Sleep into bed and sleep like a baby.

Trusting Your Partner – We make ourselves miserable when we want life to be other than what it is; seeing clearly and not having a fantasy of your partner as being something other than what he is will help you avert a lot of misplaced anger and disappointment. You can hire a doula to help during labor. Understand that you chose your partner for a reason; don’t expect them to be like you. If the best love your partner gives you is making money and providing you with a comfortable life, then hire a nice doula or birth assistant. This is the second generation of fathers involved in the birth process. Lie around together, listen to baby’s heartbeat, read to baby, sing, practice foreign languages, tell jokes – be a family together even now!

• Prosperity Meditation – Easy pose facing partner, knees touching. Palms in front of you, elbows bent at sides. Begin with palms facing down, thumbs and outside of index fingers striking, then turn to face up with outside of hands striking. Keel alternating as you repeat mantra “Har, Har, Har” with tongue pressing to the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth. Doing this for 7 minutes brings abundance on all levels.

Redefine the Idea of Pain – Rather than say “pain” of labor, use “sensation.” Medicine tents to approach birth as a potential catastrophe, not as a likely joyful event. “Pain” of labor caused by ligaments of, muscles surrounding and uterus stretching and child pressing on cervix, lower vertebrae of back and birth
canal. Labor will be overwhelming for you if you think about it as one long, unending constant pain. Rather than think about ways to distract it, dive right into the middle of the sensation and welcome it, because with every contraction you are that much closer to holding your baby in your arms. Go deep within yourself and find that meditative mind. If you meditate on this more than anything else, it will change you not only during your pregnancy, but for life.

• Meditation for Preparing for Birth: Leaving the Fear and Welcoming the Challenge – Extend arms straight out to sides with palms facing out as if traffic police holding back cars at
intersections. Inhale as you raise your arms up over your head, creating an arc. Palms cross over and slightly in front of your head but down touch. Exhale arms down and return arms to original position. Next inhale, raise arms and cross but behind the top of your head. Continue for 2 minutes, work up to 7.

Pregnant Pause: Waiting for the Birth – When we get hung up on due dates we set ourselves up for disappointment, fear sets in, as well as a feeling of failure or “Is there something wrong?” We think about what more we can do to get this labor started rather than letting the labor come to us. Think of a list NOT to do – how much can you relax? Talk to your child and meditate on 3rd eye point, which corresponds to pituitary gland which regulates hormones, the direct line to the womb. Sex and walking help labor. If you want to get labor going, hang out with babies and children. Hold them, play and laugh with them – they get the oxytocin pumping.

• Meditation While Waiting for your Baby (have partner/good friend who will be present at birth to do this venus kriya with you) – Sit facing each other, knees touching and look into each other’s
eyes. Put palms together, fingers up with your partner’s. As you push each other’s palms back and forth, alternate hands like padding a boat. Sing “Row your boat” as you rock from side to side. Listen to the words as you sing them – they’re remind you to go with the flow. 3-5 min. Have fun and laugh! Remember your baby is hearing the words too!

 

BIRTH…your spirit as a woman has all the knowledge and power you need to give birth and to nurture your baby.

What Laboring Women Need – a private, peaceful and natural place, away from prying eyes and strange faces. In labor, we change our state of consciousness – most active part includes pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Things that stop labor, like adrenaline release, come from neocortex, the so-called intellectual part of the brain. The basic need of labor is to be protected against stimulation of the neocortex. Language and bright light stimulate.

• Using Mother Earth Energy Meditation – Sit in comfortable position on floor or outdoors and roll eyes upward. Think of pulling energy from Mother Earth up your spine as you inhale. As exhale, take energy down your spine back to earth. “Sat” on inhale. “Nam” on exhale. Wrap your arms around your belly, your baby’s home. Start to feel how Mother Earth holds the space for your and the soul within you and how she will support you and uplift you if you call upon her.

Who Attends the Birth? People who won’t feed into fear or transfer it to you. Protect yourself and your child from needless tension during this time by not inviting everyone. Labor support can make all the difference in your experience. A doula is an important figure, because she is your advocate. She can help hold the sacred space and tend to the flame of your commitment when it flickers. Doula means “she who mothers the mother.” Presence of doula can shorten labor time, decrease amount of pain medication or eliminate it entirely and significantly reduce C-section rate. Someone who is informed and is looking out for your best interest is so vial to help you ask the necessary questions and reason out the answers.

• Exercise for Casting Out Doubt (Standing Cat Cow)- Stand and place hands firmly on thighs above knees, knees slightly bent. Exhale and bring chin to chest, tucking in tailbone. Inhale and raise head and tip pelvis up, creating a sway in back as much as comfortable. Alternate for a
minute. Then grind pelvis in circular motion clockwise. Reverse. 3 minutes.

Labor – Don’t wish for labor to be over and done. You’ll miss living in the moment right now. We never really live when we’re always jumping ahead or stepping behind. Dance, walk, do squats if you like with your partner’s loving aid. It is all about spiraling inward to get in tune with the sensations in your
body. Kiss! The same energy that got your baby in there is the energy that will get him out. Understand that every contraction is bringing the baby that much closer to your arms. When each contraction is over, ome back to your breath. “Head down, Chin tucked, Back to Belly, Arms Down, Yeah Baby, Yeah Baby” to help baby come along. Call upon all souls of women before you in time to help bring your baby forth into this world. Fear and anxiety shut down flow of oxytocin, which makes uterus contract. Lavender and neroli (orange blossom essence) are relaxing essential oils that can help you at your birth. Lose all thought. Go beyond counting – how long a contraction was, how many centimeters, how many hours you’ve been in labor, if you’ve slept. Experience a contraction and let it go. Ride each wave as if you’re surfing. Surrender – to each breath, each contraction. Now is the time for patience.

• Meditation for Powerful Focus – Easy pose, stretch arms to sides and up at 60 degrees, palms faced inward and fingers pointing up. Sing “God and me, me and God, are one” for 3 minutes with hands over belly.

The Secret of Mothering – Sacrifice. Let your “self” fall away and become something greater than what you have ever imagined possible.

Moving Through Fear – Our spirit as women has all the knowledge and power we need to give birth and to nurture our babies. If we can stay focused on the 3rd eye point during labor, we will have all the information we need. Either you are a prisoner of your mind and your fears, or you’re the ruler of your mind. Ask your labor assistant to always bring you back to your own center of power, not join you in fear. Ask that of everyone in the room helping you. Every time you feel grateful for something, it counters a fear. If you get caught in “I can’t do this, it hurts too much…”, come back to your breath and inhale “Sat” and exhale “Nam” and draw attention to something you are thankful for. The uterus is the only muscle in your body that has two opposing muscle groups – one contracts and opens the cervix, and the other closes and tightens the cervix to stop labor. When a birthing mother becomes afraid, adrenaline creates the flight-or-fight response and tightens the cervix while at the same time the uterus continues to push the baby’s head down with each contractions. The result is the very real pain of two powerful muscle groups pulling in opposite contractions. Think of all who birthed before you.

• Bright Light Meditation – Easy pose. Inhale and extend arms straight out, parallel to ground with palms facing up. As exhale, bend elbows and bring hands up to shoulders. From this position, raise both elbows toward your head, touch your hands behind the back of your neck, lifting the shoulders and entire spine. Lower your elbows as you exhale. Continue for 3 minutes with powerful breathing while you mentally chant the word “Har” which means God.

 

And Beyond…

Baby in Your Arms – Doesn’t matter how your labor went, what matters most is holding a healthy baby in your arms. At turn of 20th century, births moved from homes to hospitals and women were unconscious due to anesthesia so they couldn’t care for their babies after birth, so babies were moved to a nursery. A lot happens in those first few moments and hours after birth. Our bodies have natural opitatelike hormones, which play a role in establishing the conscious bond with our infant. Oxytocin is highest right after birth. In the hospital, when your baby leaves you, he has no idea where he is being taken when he goes to the nursery. You have been your baby’s sole home and experience for 9 months. You can keep your baby with you at all times and if he needs to go, have daddy go with him if you are unable.

• Exercise for Strong, Loving Arms – Stretch arms out in front of you with palms firmly pressed together, arms parallel to floor. Inhale deeply through nose, open arms out wide. Fill lungs with air. Keep arms opening and stretching as far as they will go, stretching shoulder blades to each other. When arms are stretched as far as they will go, begin exhaling through your nose and bring arms back to original position, ending with palms pressed together. 26x with eyes rolled to 3rd eye point. Inhale and exhale powerfully “Sat” on inhale and “Nam” on exhale. Move at a moderate pace. Good for dad also.

Advice and Options on Nursing Your Baby – Mother’s milk is powerful. If having trouble nursing, it usually can be solved with help, rest, relaxing, sleeping and even “Mother’s Milk.” Don’t give up! Get
help. Resources like La Leche League that can help. Hospitals have lactation consultants. Pump station in LA – anyone can call. First 10 days are most challenging. Will be giving your child the most important gift you can for his immune system nervous system, skeletal system, brain, ever part of him. Can decrease pain for infants getting blood drawn. Continue to eat alive, fresh and organic as best as you can – food full
of prana (life). Certain foods great for toning uterus and bringing in milk – ginger curry, tapioca pudding made with milk or soy, sautéed almonds, mung beans and rice and Yogi Tea. A lot of hospitals now have “Baby Friendly Status” encouraging mothers to breastfeed.

• Ultimate Exercise for Better Nursing – Easy pose. Grasp shoulders with fingers in front, thumbs in back. Close eyes. Inhale through nose and twist to left, exhale through nose and twist to
right. Inhale “Sat” as turn left and “Nam” as turn right. 3 minutes. Opens heart center, improves circulation and purifies the blood that makes milk.

Including Your Community – 40 Day Celebration – 40 days of sacred privacy and quiet for mother and

bay. Time of rest, rejuvenation and bonding for Mom, Baby Dad and other children. Bring them into the world slowly, one day for each of the ~40 weeks in the womb. Also gives the baby’s immune system time to develop before being exposed to bacteria and viruses from the outside world. Food preparation, cleaning and laundry should be put in care of someone else; mother should do as little as possible. Sleep when baby sleeps; it can take up to 2.5 years to regain your full strength rather than a mere 40 days. Have friends take your other children to the park. After birth doulas are great too. Best to stay within 9 feet of baby during these days to solidify the aura, the link of energy between the two of you, which will last a lifetime. Worries about finances, work or opinions of others need to fade into the background. You will never have this time again and it goes by so quickly. The 40 days ends with a celebration of community. Everyone brings gifts for the baby as at 120 days people bring gifts for the mom.

• Meditation for Connecting to Family – Breathe and out deeply through your nose a few times. Scrunch your shoulders up tightly to your ears, then relax and lower your shoulders. Repeat 5x or more. Close your eyes and roll your head around, first to the right and then to the left, inhaling and exhaling deeply through your nose. Roll eyes to 3rd eye point and start singing “Ong”, pressing the back of the tongue against the back of the throat firmly. 3-7 min. “Ong” means Infinity in its most creative form.

Establishing New Roles and Traditions – The U.S. is the only country that practices routine circumcision for nonreligious reasons. You are the ultimate authority for your child’s welfare, period. The foreskin protects the glans of a man’s penis throughout his life, and it’s now known that good personal hygiene provides all the protection against infection.

• Song of Gratitude and Love – May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You, May All Love Surround You, And the Pure Light Within You, Guide Your Way On. (Sing at child’s birth as a welcoming song to the world; say it to all those people in your life, for your children’s grandparents, your parents, because they gave you life. It brings trust and love and sunshine.)

The Family Bed – Anthropologists say that in most cultures in the world, the baby and children share the bed with parents. Your baby does not need or want a fancy crib or nursery, only your physical
closeness. Sleep with your baby and don’t get so carried away with schedules. In a year, your baby will probably be talking and walking away from you a little farther and farther for the rest of his or her life. The time with your baby during pregnancy and the first year will never come around again. You don’t need a fancy stroller, any of the new gadgets to be a good parent – only your arms. Can’t afford a changing table? Change the baby on the bed – it’s so logical when you remove all the marketing aimed at you and tune into the heart of baby. Trust your intuition and all-knowingness. You chose your baby and your baby chose you. Can put mattress on floor so baby doesn’t have anywhere to fall (make sure baby can’t fall in between mattress and wall). Let us hold each other, let families sleep together; peace and solidarity begin at home.

• Facing the Challenge of Tomorrow Together – With your partner, come sitting on the floor, sitting on heels if possible. Have knees touching your partner’s and clasp hands. Both lean back as far as possible. Shut your eyes and inhale “Sat” and exhale “Nammmmm” with a long even breath. 3 minutes, come back to center and kiss.

Time Enough: The Transition of the Family – With all of the hustle and bustle of just making it through the day, it’s sometimes easy to forget that a huge and important transition is taking place. You have gone from wondering about nursing to bringing milk in, imagining what baby will look like to caring for the little soul in your arms. Having an awareness of this alone can help smooth the challenges of this transition time. Everything will work itself out a day at a time…a few days at a time.

• “There’s Love Enough for Everything” Exercise – Sit on heels or in easy pose with straight spine, hands at center of chest in prayer pose. Focus eyes at tip of nose. Extend arms fully out to your sides as if pressing two walls, then return to start. As move your arms, repeat the sound “Hummmmm” out loud with lips coming together as if to create a gentle buzzing, like the sound of a bee. This opens the heart. 3-7 min.

The Infinite Horizon of a Mother’s Love – Love builds on love; the more, the more. Go help your community and show your children universal love.

• Mother Power Meditation – Easy pose with hands at knees in gran mudra, pressing index finger to thumb. Chant “Maaaaa” 8x per breath for 3-7 minutes. Then sit quietly and see light expanding throughout your heart.

Final Thoughts: A New World – “Each of you who studies these ancient teachings and puts them into practice in your life is a pioneer of the new age. You are the historical crest of hope and development that will user in a new level of consciousness and civilization. Each of your efforts gives birth to the Aquarian Age” – Yogi Bhajan.

Children born now are in Age of Aquarius (since 2012). Sometimes called “indigo babies” for the deep blue of the aura they are said to radiate, these children are more aware and present an evolution in spiritual consciousness. Let us look to our children as our teachers. The greatest gift you can give your child, and every child, is becoming a grateful, graceful, conscious adult who walks mindfully in the world.

• Meditation for Creating a Beautiful World – To be done for 40 days – Sit tall with straight spine, pulling chin slightly in, chest out, shoulders relaxed. Hands in prayer pose as center of heart, pressing palms firmly together. Roll eyes to 3rd eye point and imagine sitting atop a tall mountain overlooking all of humanity and sending waves of peace over the entire globe. The mantra, “Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung” is a very powerful sound current and has immediate effects to bring healing to yourself and others. Chant out loud 12 minutes, whisper for 5, silent for 1. End by inhaling deeply as you exhale sit for a little bit and give this prayer to those who need it. (Ra = Sun; Ma = Moon; Da = Earth; Sa = Infinity; Say = Totality of experience; So Hung = I am Thou)

About The Author

Jessica