This is Part II of a four part series on how yoga can support you doing labor and childbirth. In the first and second parts we discussed how yoga can help connect you to your breath and your strength Haven't read them yet? Be sure to check it out Part I and Part II.
Relaxation and labor seem to be polar opposites right? The trick with labor is that there are moments of relaxation, even in active labor. Between each contraction there is always a resting period. We might think about contractions as a wave that rise, peak and then ebb. Following the ebbing of a contraction is an opportunity to rest. The closer contractions get to one another, the shorter this rest period is, but taking advantage of these rest periods can make a world of difference in labor, particularly in longer labors.
It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the ways that we can teach ourselves to drop into relaxation is to notice tension in our physical bodies when we are doing something challenging. In our yoga practice, we might notice parts of the body that start to tense up when we’re in a yoga pose for a long period of time. And I’m not talking about the parts of the body that are involved, but the unconscious places we tense when we’re navigating something hard. For many of us it might be a tightening of our shoulders, our jaw or a furrowing of our eyebrows. Notice these when holding a pose for a long period of time, and as you watch these parts of the body invite them to soften. Sometimes this softening comes by simply brining our attention to a particular part of the body, but it might also mean we need to move that part of the body a little bit to encourage it to relax.
The more we can relax these parts of the body that are involved in a yoga pose, the more the physical body can recover quickly when we coming out and the same can be said for the body in labor.
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.