At the time of writing, I am in week 23 of my first pregnancy and I am experiencing a lot of changes happening in my body. One such is shortness of breath; I can barely walk up the stairs to our apartment on the second floor, with out taking a break to catch my breath.
Furthermore I have been experiencing stuffed nostrils and nose bleeds.
Many women experience nasal stuffiness due to a change in hormones, which occurs naturally during the pregnancy.
Learning to breathe deeply and consciously, is one of the first things you will encounter, when attending a yoga class. So I think it is only natural, that we start with the breath here aswell.
The breath is a powerful tool, which will be helpful as you face the physical demands of labor, birth, and new motherhood.
Below we will explore some options that can help improve your breathing.
The Neti Pot
If you too find it hard to breathe, I recommend cleaning your nostrils with a Neti Pot.
The Neti Pot is a device designed to wash your nasal cavity, and has been used in India since The Vedic ages. This practice helps flush out pollen, dust and excess mucous, aswell as alleviating dryness of the mucous membranes. You will need a neti pot and luke warm water with added himalayan or sea salt. Please follow instructions as provided with your neti pot
Pranayama – Breathing excercises
Pranayama can be translated as extending the life force, meaning that you keep energy inside you for longer. Think of it as a way to keep you batteries charged for a longer period of time, only instead of an electrical charger, you use your breath.
The first pranayama we will learn is called Nadi Shuddhi.
Sit comfortably, with your back straight. Place your left hand on your left thigh in Chinmudra: Index finger touching the thumb and the three other fingers pointing straight. Left palm, pointing toward the sky.
Hold your right hand in Vishnu mudra: Place your index and middle finger on the soft part below your thumb and straighten all other fingers.
Breathe normally in and out through your nose, with no sound nor retention. Close your eyes. Now place your thumb on your right nostril, closing of the airflow through that side. Breathe in through your left nostril, place your ring finger on your left nostril, closing it off and let go of your right nostril. Breathe out through your right nostril and in through your right nostril again.
Breathe in and mentally count to 4, breathe out as you count to 8. Exhalation should be twice as long as inhalation. Reduce the count at the slightest sign of discomfort.
One round goes; Inhale left, exhale right, inhale right, exhale left. Continue this for 5 rounds when you are a beginner, as you gain a bigger lung capacity, you can slowly increase the rounds up to 9 rounds.
Relax your hands on your thighs, palms facing up and sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes and relax.
My recommendation is that you take time to do 5-9 rounds of Nadi Shuddhi before meditating, once or twice a day.
I hope you enjoyed learning Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama. In the next blog we will look into yoga poses during pregnancy.
Namasté and keep smiling !