Meditation - or as the act of simply being, is ridiculously simple, free as air, and offers several health benefits - combating anxiety and stress, increasing mental clarity and lowering your blood pressure! Clearly it's not just for aging hippies, ninjas and mountaintop gurus.
An added benefit to meditating while pregnant is the potential to help you bond with your child as you take the time to be still and attend to your bodily sensations - uninterrupted or distracted by external events.
- Step 1: Set aside 5 - 20 minutes of uninterrupted time alone in silence. Turn off your phone, any music or noisy devices.
- Step 2: Sit comfortably with your back and spine straight, rest your hands on your legs, palms up.
- Step 3: Slowly exhale out your mouth, emptying your lungs and relaxing your muscles in your neck, face and shoulders.
- Step 4: Inhale slowly through your nose, filling your lungs and diaphragm as you visualize the oxygen entering your bloodstream, energizing your cells, nourishing the placenta and your child while strengthening your hearts capacity to pump the extra blood circulating through your system.
- Step 5: Repeat the above four steps for 5 - 20 minutes daily to reap the clarifying and relaxing benefits of meditating.
If you've never meditated before, try for shorter intervals first. Although it's "easy" to meditate, truly quieting your mind and focusing solely on your breath takes practice. The more often you do it, the easier you'll find it to reach a peaceful state and the longer you'll be able to sustain a balanced body and mind.
If anything interrupts you while you're trying to meditate, accept it peacefully as part of the meditative state. Respond thoughtfully to the interruption - especially if it's your newborn.
In a nutshell: Taking the time to quiet your mind and emotions - even if only for 5 minutes a day, can seriously bolster your sense of well-being, mental clarity and combat stress-related symptoms during and after pregnancy.