There is plenty of material available to support the idea that meditating during pregnancy is a good, sound and advisable thing to do, that the mental and emotional calmness and stability it produces is beneficial for both mother and child.
Just to prove a point: UCLA research published in Psychology and Health (volume 29 Issue 3, 2014) took pregnant women suffering from high levels of pregnancy-related stress and anxiety, and showed how just six weeks of meditation helped.
And the research carried out by one Cassandra Vieten (PhD) at the California Pacific Medical Centre Research Institute in Los Angeles, showed that meditation during the second trimester significantly reduced anxiety and negative emotions by the third trimester.
And, if truth be known, we at Anamaya will be banging on at length on the same subject at every chance - just because it does help so.
But it is worth pointing out that there are other incidental benefits to meditating while pregnant, and as important as the mental and emotional stability, the equanimity, is, these other benefits are significant.
First, let us look to breathing. Generally, we pay little or no attention to breathing. When we sit in meditation with Anamaya, however, we draw attention to it. And whilst we do nothing special with the breath other than count it, it is a strange but true phenomenon that when we focus on our breath, it becomes slower and longer - and particularly on the outbreath.
It is a simple physiological fact that when that happens, we relax, physically. Our heart rate drops, our blood pressure goes down. We, quite simply relax physically. Of course, this is in addition to the mental relaxation from the focus on the object of meditation.
And the physical relaxation is wonderful for baby.
Staying with the breath and with relaxation, the meditation period has another benefit. Sitting, relaxed physically and mentally, the muscles around the abdomen are relaxed. The correct posture (as to which more below) is balanced and not tense, and requires little to hold the body upright - and so the whole torso is relaxed.
And as a result each breath slowly but gently raises and relaxes the abdomen, and this movement is felt throughout the area: yes, you are gently massaging the baby. It is not only good for the baby - it is such wonderful, warm, connecting thing to do.
Finally, the posture. Holding yourself firmly but gently upright with a cushion on your lower back as described in the ‘Four Points of Setup’ in the App is a wonderful pregnancy posture. The spine is open (those channels everyone talks of in yoga), the motility muscles are relaxed, and the core muscles are gently engaged.
This is a wonderful posture to maintain for a while - good for you, good for baby.
So, aside from the wonderful mental and emotional benefits sitting in meditation will give you, there are physical benefits, too.
The reasons for you to maintain a daily meditation practice during your pregnancy are really mounting up!
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