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Prenatal and Healing Yoga Breath

Note: Check in with your doctor or medical practitioner to be certain this breath work is safe for your condition. Stop any breathing technique if it creates any undesirable effect, such as lightheadedness. All of these breaths are part of a usual prenatal yoga practice.

Breathe deeply enough. Chances are that means dropping everything at least a few times a day to tune into your breath & nothing else. Breath is life force. Here are a few types of breath you can try to see what effect they have on your mind and body. If you're hurrying or feeling stress and you need calming, this is your go-to. 

Breathing is also a significant factor in healing. 

In prenatal yoga we practice these breaths so Moms have a repertoire of breath to use for birthing, recovery, and breastfeeding. You'll see a note about when each may be most useful if you're a Mom to be. 

Email me with any questions or if you'd like to a schedule private breath coaching or yoga session preconception (fertility), during pregnancy or after baby is born. Breath and yoga sessions for physical and other healing are also available for you in all ages and phases of life.


Dhirga: This is known as 3 part breath. Inhale through the nose fully so your belly, ribcage and chest expand.  Exhale just as slowly and fully through the nose or mouth. 

For prenatal ladies, add a sound to the exhale. Exhale a long aaahhh or any other vowel sound you choose. Dhirga can be used during labor and the sound helps release anxiety.

Golden thread: This calming breath incorporates a soft exhale through the lips, like a low whistle. Inhale fully and exhale through slightly parted lips as if your exhale takes the form of a thin, golden thread. 

Moms may try golden thread breath for calming in the spaces between contractions.

Nadi Shodana, Alternate Nostril Breath: This can be done with or without the hand placement. Using your left hand, take thumb to left nostril and ring finger to right nostril. Inhale through both nostrils and close the right one with the ring finger as you exhale only through the left. Follow with an inhale through the left then close it with the thumb and exhale through the right. Inhale right, close right nostril, exhale left. Inhale left, exhale right. 

Without the finger placements just direct your breath in the same direction. Inhale once through both nostrils, then exhale left, inhale left, exhale right, inhale right, exhale left, inhale left, exhale right...
This is a balancing breath, steadying energy and centering you.

Candle Breath: Inhale deeply through the nose, exhale slowly blowing out an imaginary flame on each finger of one hand, like blowing out candles on a birthday cake. 

Lion's Breath: Big release of tension or energy as you inhale through the nose and exhale while shaking the head no, opening the mouth, sticking out the tongue and making a sound. This should make your cheeks shake as you exhale. It's a fun one to do with children too, so it's good practice for play! (the video doesn't show them shaking their heads but I like to teach it that way).

Shitali Breath: Cooling breath helps when you're overly warm. Nursing and pregnant Moms often feel warmer than usual. Try this breath for a cooling effect. Inhale over a folded (taco shell shape) tongue. Let the tongue move into the mouth and exhale through the nose. Note that usually you don't want to inhale through the mouth as it can raise anxiety. This breathing method is an exception.

Bee Breath (Brahmahri): Create a buzz to calm the mind. Inhale through the nose and exhale a "mmmmmmmm" sound that buzzes like a swarm of bees. Release to an inhale through the nose. Feel like you're shutting out external things as you keep the eyes and mouth closed and the sound vibrates more internally. There are a couple of hand placements you can use to go with the breath. I like pinkies to the space between the lip and chin, ring fingers below (but not blocking) the nostrils, middle finger to the side/bridge of the nose, index over the closed eyes and thumbs to ears to shut out other noise. This is for calming the nervous system. Plus making a sound releases tension. 

Robin's Nest Prenatal Yoga happens at Breathing Room Yoga Studio in South Portland, Maine Sundays 3-4:15 pm. 
Breath, meditation, posture practice, and building friendships & support between Moms.
All trimesters welcome.


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