Tapped out, exhausted, running on fumes. These are common phrases we hear from women who are struggling to become pregnant. Some have described the emotional and physical roller coaster of the fertility journey as “sucking the life” out of them. Thankfully, the teachings of yoga have an answer for this state of mental and physical exhaustion. The Sanskrit word prana means “life force” and the word pranayama can be understood as exercises that help us to control and strengthen the life force in our body – or put in more mainstream terms pranayama is the yogic science of breathing. Numerous studies have shown that the practice of pramayama elicits an immediate down-regulating effect on the stress response (Sengupta et al.). In addition, pranayama is traditionally viewed as a gateway to deeper practices such as meditation.
While breathing seems to be an elementary, even unconscious, activity most of us would benefit from breath work. Our patterns of work keep us curled around computers or slumped in our cars. Common breathing problems include short shallow breathing, holding our breath due to stress, reduced physical activity and time in nature as well as poor posture that limits our ability to take full, deep breaths. Yoga sages also believed that our breath reflects the state of our mind. Traditional teachings state that the more we can control our breathing the better we will be able to work with our negative thought patterns.
Our new drop-in class in River North is called “Pranayama & Meditation: Tools for Rejuvenation” and will be a weekly exploration of yoga breathing and meditation techniques designed to promote rejuvenation and well-being in a supportive environment. In this weekly drop-in class you will experience the supportive community of Pulling Down the Moon, learn gentle stretches to encourage better breathing patterns and delve deeper into the benefits of specific yoga breathing techniques (pranayamas). Each session will end with a short meditation. All are welcome at any stage of the fertility or pregnancy journey.
This weekly drop in class will be held at our River North Center on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. starting November 1. Don’t miss it!
Sengupta, P Health impacts of yoga and pranayama: a state of the art review. Int J Prev Med 2012 July; 3(7):444-458