How the Path of Pregnancy Echoes the 8 Limbs of Yoga-Part 3


Breath Practices During Pregnancy

The path of yoga echoes a woman’s journey through pregnancy. The parallels between making more and ethical choices mirror’s a woman’s natural tendency to make healthy choices during pregnancy. In addition, the poses, referred to as asana, help a mom-to-be relieve physical discomforts while helping to train and steady her mind. Practicing asana helps develop physical and mental strength and stamina. The next limb or petal of yoga, the breath, is an essential guide and support for a woman  preparing for labor, birth and motherhood. 

Prepare for Labor, Birth and Motherhood

The exploration of pranayama, breath work, is fundamental to yoga as well as childbirth preparation. Cultivating intimacy with the breath is one of the best and most effective strategies for a woman to prepare for birth and motherhood.


On a purely physical level, as Baby grows, the diaphragm, the main breathing mechanism, compresses and it becomes difficult to breath. Exploring breath techniques can literally create space and bring relief. Breath practices also help a woman steady her mind and calm her nervous system.

When planning for the birth of a child, it’s often challenging to stay present. By learning to observe her breath, a woman can remain present, moment-by-moment, and tune out the distraction of her mind’s chatter. This helps reduce fear and anxiety, two states that often disrupt an easeful labor and birth. Conscious breathing helps a woman differentiate between mind and awareness.  The mind’s chatter causes suffering.  Awareness, on the other hand, observes without reacting or judging. In awareness, a woman can remain relaxed and confident. This is essential during labor, especially when intensifies.  

By breathing deeply and consciously, a woman creates more space internally, in the body as well as the mind.  Deep conscious breathing also supports the physiological development of her baby. Directing the breath as well as positive thoughts and vibration to the womb center, supports Baby's brain development, in particular.  With energetic resonance, Baby is acutely attuned to his mother’s state. 

Finally, by exploring the expansiveness of the breath during pregnancy, a woman builds prana, life force, that can be stored for later use during labor, birth and recovery.  Conscious breathing calms, heals and revitalizes.   

Breath Practices for Daily Life

Some breath practices that are helpful during pregnancy include: 

  1. Womb Breathing 
  2. 3-Part Breath 
  3. Alternate Nostril Breathing 
  4. Lion’s Breath 
  5. Sitali 

By practicing breath techniques during pregnancy, a woman can spontaneously recall them when she needs them during labor, birth and motherhood. 

Harness the Power of Your Breath

Would you like to learn how to harness the power of your breath as you prepare for labor, birth and motherhood? Join me for a prenatal yoga class or schedule a private session today.