In my last entry, I wrote about how I am rereading two books, "A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya" by Satyananda Saraswati and another book titled, “Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond" by Nancy Bardacke. I also talked about my desire to share this re-journey through these books because they are inspiring and accessible. Just like mindfulness and yoga ;) And so, in regards to the Mindfulness Book:
[It's] an invitation to use the life-changing process you are living right now as an opportunity for self-discovery, inner growth, and transformation. After all, you are living through the most transformative period in the adult life cycle, and your life – and the life of your partner – will never again be the same. So why not learn as much as you can from the process. (5)
What I like most about a Mindfulness Practice as described in the book "Mindful Birthing," is that its benefits apply to all people, not just individuals preparing for and/or experiencing labor. In fact, we could technically apply the benefits of this book to every single situation in our daily lives .
So how do we go about using this book? I think that, for the most part, I’ll share information about how the mind directly affects the physiology of labor and how the capacity to be in the present moment can be a critical skill for giving birth. We’ll learn ways to work with pain during labor, for most women in the process of giving birth, whether they intend to use pain medication or not, will experience some powerfully intense physical sensations we usually call pain. We’ll also explore helpful positions for laboring and birthing, partner skills for supporting the pregnant woman through the birth process, breastfeeding basics, and how to manage the physical and emotional needs of the postpartum family. Partners may be coming to understand that they themselves need these mindfulness skills, for they too will be having a birth experience and becoming a parent
[And so what if you’re not a woman or not having a baby.] It’s just that now, the present moment is where your life actually takes place; it’s the only time you have to learn, to grow, and to be fully alive. If you are constantly rehearsing for the future or rehashing the past, you’re missing this moment of your life, which is the only moment you ever really have. (11)
Learning to be fully present is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. Sometimes the present moment isn’t an easy place to be – like when you’re laboring to birth a baby. And so we practice meditation to learn how to be present with things as they are, however they are, even when they are challenging. And what we discover is that when we spend more time in the present, life becomes richer, more interesting, and certainly less stressful.
The Foundational Attitudes of a Mindfulness Practice
In the following presentation, I have chosen to read portions from a chapter in "Mindful Birthing" about the foundational attitudes necessary for cultivating mindfulness in our daily life. It's like an Audible recording, but of me reading... and sometimes Isabella babbling in the background. ;) And, as I said before, whether or not you're pregnant or your partner is... whether you practice yoga or you don't.... it doesn't matter. The benefits of a mindfulness practice are for everyone, right now.
I think we should take a look at our Kriya Book and the exercises listed there for our first Asana Program regarding pre-meditation exercises. If you've forgotten what I am referring to, read the previous blog or take a look at this photo. In the meantime, consider reading up on Jala Neti or the reasons why you might want to practice yoga :)
Love is the essence of our life. I have written this blog with love, and I offer it to you, dear reader, with the hope that the suggestions offered here will become a vital part of your self-healing and continued well-being. ~ Ashley
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