The 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood: Pranayama

On our journey up the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood, the next limb we come to is Pranayama, but we'll call it PranaMama since we're bringing this all back to motherhood. Prana is breath, it's the life force, the constant inhale and exhale that brings energy to our being. Pranayama(Mama) is the control or regulation of this breath, often through exercises and specific techniques. This simple practice, this holds so much power, and it is a great tool for mothers!

Our breath is beautiful. It can be nourishing and energizing, bringing vitality to our bodies and clarity to our minds. Motherhood is beautiful too. But it a can feel depleting at times, leaving us exhausted and drained. Our prana is a guiding light out of this darkness and back into the light. Just like when we practice yoga, in motherhood we must also continue to come back to this powerful breath. We must acknowledge when the tides of motherhood are carrying us out too deep, and return to our inhale and exhale to feel grounded, supported and strong once again.

We walk through our days with shallow inhales and exhales that are cut short. We forget about this thing we have called breath, and we ignore the strength we can draw from it. The hours fly by and the days tumble into each other. We are scrambling to keep up and to be the best mothers we can be. It's so easy to forget to take time for this beautiful thing called breath. But we must.

So sit down mama. Relax the muscles your jaw. Draw your shoulder blades just slightly closer on your back. Breathe in through your nose and feel the cool air travel in through your nostrils. Feel your lungs expand completely, your belly rising. Embrace that fullness.

Pause at the top of that inhale. Can you sip in just a bit more? Now pause again.

Now move into the exhale. Releasing the air back out through your nose. Feel your belly release, your lungs emptying fully as the last of the warm air leaves your nostrils. Embrace that emptiness.

Pause at the bottom of that exhale. Can you release just a bit more? Now pause again.

Repeat if you like. Notice the shifts.

Draw strength from this practice of PranaMama. Feel grounded and supported. Welcome in that clarity and peace. We can all use a bit more of this in our lives. Now venture back out into that world of motherhood, and know that these inhales and exhales are always here, right here, when you need them.

Mom and Baby Pranayama

The Primal Fears of Motherhood

The human condition is part of our journey. Our ability to recognize fear in our body, mind, and intuition is rooted in our DNA. Our ability to respond to fear is optional. Fears can show up wearing different masks but can generally be reduced to three primal fears. Which of the following show up for you?

Fear of not being loved (community and connectedness)

Also known as fear of rejection or being judged. Feeling connected is a primal need. Take other mammals and even our ancestors as an example; traveling together is safer. We are stronger together. We have more skills, strengths, and support when we belong to something greater. That is, when we can negotiate through conflict and disagreements. Fear in this area can surface when our sense of belonging is threatened. For mothers, this might show up as judgement from communities, family members, other mothers.

Fear of lack of purpose (profession and higher purpose)

Bringing life into the world illumines the primal sense of purpose in a whole light.  As mothers there is a new sense of responsibility when your little one depends on you for everything. Fear of not fulfilling your divine life’s purpose for new mothers can translate to fear of your professional identity on hold. Your higher purpose may shift during the transition into motherhood. In general, with transition brings fear of the unknown.

Fear of dying (baby is thriving, survival needs met)

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our most basic survival-based needs must be met in order to ascend to higher goals and aspirations. If we are concerned with where we live, eat, sleep, or if our safety is compromised we cannot act, speak, or think from a place of love. It’s stressful being an adult responsible for the needs of your children. The stress of sustaining life and providing clean, safe space might look different in modern day world than in primordial times.

So, what’s the antidote for fear?

Connect to the love you have for yourself and your baby.  Share your fears and bring them out of the shadows. Fear itself serves a purpose. It can teach us about ourselves and help us to grow. When we expose our deepest fears they no longer have the power to control our thoughts and actions. Use your tools. Whether it be meditation, yoga, dancing, breathing, singing, painting... The more we create with wild abandon, the less room fear has to occupy our subconscious.