Get yourself into a comfortable position and begin to observe what is in front of you. Now take a deep breath through your nose, filling your abdomen with air. Feel it blowing up like a balloon. Good. Now, as slowly as you possibly can, exhale through your mouth and send the breath all the way down your spine. Now, just focus on your next three exhalations. Don’t alter them in any way; just observe them. Well done.
Now, contract your feet and your ankles and gently release them. Contract your calves, your shins, and your knees. and relax them. Take another deep breath in through your nose . . . and exhale as slowly as you can through your mouth, sending the breath into your right big toe.
Contract your thighs, and then relax them. Inhale through your nose; exhale as slowly as you can through your mouth, sending your breath into your left big toe. Focus on your exhalations. Now turn your attention to your abdomen, placing your hands gently on your belly. Silently explain to your uborn what you are doing and why you are doing this. Now become aware of any feelings that you maybe holding in your belly. Label these feelings as a point of reference, not in judgment. Make a decision to deal with these feelings later. For now, take a deep healing breath and breathe all of these feelings (that may disturb you) out of your abdomen.
They have no place in a body that is trying to relax. In hale deeply and breathe out, sending your disturbing feelings way out into the universe . . . Again, take a deep, healing breath and release your feelings, sending them way out into the universe…
Now contract your chest and your shoulders and relax them. Now take your arms, cross them, and rest them gently on your chest. Place your hands gently on your breasts and begin visualizing your breasts nourishing your healthy baby; your milk flows freely, and your baby latches on and suckles well and easily. . . Now contract your right arm, and your left arm. Make a fist with your hands, and now extend them and let them relax and fall wherever they are comfortable.
Now contract your spine until your entire back is arched with tension . . . and release it. Good. Take a deep healing breath and send it all the way down your spine. . . Contract your face, your jaw, scrunch it up like a prune. . . and now open your mouth and your eyes as wide as you can. Stick out your tongue and try to touch your chin with your tongue. Imagine that you are an animal in the wild and that you are releasing your energy through a grand stretch of your body and a great release of sound from deep in your being.
Practice your sounding now. (Sounding during labor could use the vowels or the mantras explained in the following bold text:
Many women have found great comfort in chanting their own mantras during pregnancy (or anytime, really). Many religious traditions use chanting to induce a trance state or simply to sing praises or say prayers. The prayers commonly used with the rosary in the Roman Catholic Church might be considered mantras, for example. Catholics repeat these mantras while keeping track of how many times they are said. Gregorian chants have been recorded in cathedrals around the world, and the sound is relaxing and empowering.
When I talk about labor and birth I suggest a mantra that fathers/partners can use to calm the mother and to help her remember the things she should do to remain calm and focused. You can create your own mantra, based on the things you most want to remember to do, or use prayers you already know. In meditation classes I have learned these simple mantras, and even though I did not understand the language I used at first, they have proven effective to help me enter a state of peace and to quiet the mind.
● Hebrew mantra: “Yod hey vav hey.” This is actually the spelling of the name of God, Yahweh, in Hebrew.
● Christian mantra: “Ma ra na tha.” This means “come, Lord in Aramaic. Try one or several of these mantras in your meditation practice. They can sound like music, and they can become a signal to your body to enter the meditative state.
● Buddhist mantra: “Nam mo a di da phat.” This is calling the name of Buddha.
● Nonreligious mantra: “Pa cem ma.” This means “peace” in Latin (plus an extra syllable – ma – for fluidity.
Try one or several of mantras in your meditation practice. They can sound like music, and they can become a signal to your body to enter the meditative state.
(The mother makes these controlled sounds, which can facilitate the birth through resonating in various parts of her body as the baby moves through the birth canal. It helps to practice these sounds, to avoid screaming or out-of-control sound.)
The more you practice sounding before labor, the more comfortable it will be for you during labor. It is part of your nature to make wonderful, contributing sounds to the birth of your baby.
Now feel your entire body letting go to the force of gravity. Now imagine yourself climbing down a safe and sturdy wooden staircase that leads you to your own personal healing place, a birthing place. It is a lovely, late spring day. The temperature is perfect. It is midday, and the sun is almost directly overhead. There is a gentle breeze, and you can hear the soft sounds of nature. Enjoy the sounds. Now, keeping your eyes gently closed (after you read this to yourself, do it again from memory with your eyes closed), focus on your eye and eye socket. What do you see as you look at your closed eyelids? Now create a perfect birthing place in nature through your sense of sight alone. Note the colors, the patterns, the shapes, the movement, the stillness.
Now become aware of your nose; inhale and experience the air as you draw it into your nostrils. Now become aware of the scents and fragrances in your natural birthing place. Let them comfort and soothe you. Now become aware of your mouth, your lips, teeth, gums, mucous membrane lining of your mouth, your tongue and your throat, your saliva. Imagine luscious fruits growing in your natural birthing place. Begin to taste the rich, full, juicy taste of your own birthing fruit. This fruit will help you carry your healthy baby to full term. At delivery, your birthing fruit will help you to dilate easily, readily, and to allow you to have an easy, comfortable vaginal birth. Now become aware of your ears and all the convolutions of your ears. Become aware of the distant sounds and then the closer sounds, listening to only those sounds and being aware of nothing else but the sound of your breath and all the other sounds around you. Allow any sound that enters into your consciousness to deepen your relaxation; allow any sound that enters into your consciousness to deepen your concentration and focus.
Listen now to the sounds of nature that you hear in your birthing place or healing place. Enjoy those sounds. Let them comfort you and soothe you. Now experience your body in your birthing place. Feel your skin and your clothes, if you are wearing any. Feel the air, the current, and the warmth or the coolness. Feel the textures. You are more and more comfortable. Now experience your birthing place through all of your senses. See it, smell the fragrances, taste the fruits or the clear fresh water. Feel the air, the currents, and the coolness or warmth, the textures, the comfort of your entire being. Now focus your breath, observing both your inhalations and your exhalations but not altering them in any way. All will be silent while you do this. As you inhale silently, say to yourself, “so “; on your exhalation, silently say to yourself, “hum.” On the “so,” you are inhaling the life force of the universe, and on the “hum,” you are exhaling your ego-bound limitations. So, hum.
(Remain quiet for three minutes; then count the mother down.) “Ten,” and down deeper, “nine,” deeper and deeper, “eight,” down deeper, descending into your own boundless state of well-being, “seven,” down, deeper and down, doubling your relaxation. “Six,” down, and deeper, now down deeper; double your relaxation, “five,” and down, and “four,” deeper, and down again, doubling your relaxation. “Three,” letting go even more; you are safe and centered, and you have again doubled your relaxation. “Two,” and down, and deeper, and “on
Inhale. Begin to visualize the rest of your pregnancy exactly the way you want it to be. Relax your breath. In hale. Begin to visualize your first stage of labor at term exactly the way you want it to be. You are moving about, coin fortable, relaxed. Relax your breath and inhale. Begin to visualize your active labor at term exactly the way you want it to be. You move your position for your comfort. You easily use sounding. Your hands and your jaw are completely relaxed. You are completely in the moment. Relax your breasts.
Inhale. Begin to visualize your birth at term exactly the way you want it to be. Easy vaginal birth, stretching comfortably, knowing when to push. Relax your breath.
Inhale. Begin to visualize your postpartum exactly the way you want it to be. Your healthy baby is in your arms, the placenta arrives, there is little or no bleeding, and you are all joyous together.
Inhale. You will also naturally know the best position for pushing, and you will know when and how to push your baby out with ease. You will have the energy for your labor/work. It will be enjoyable and engaging. Your healthy baby who you just easily pushed out is now safely in your arms and at your breast. Your perineum is relaxed, and the placenta arrives; there is little or no bleeding, and, as before, you are all joyous together.
Inhale. Now focus on your breath, just observing it and not altering it in any way. With every breath, you go deeper and deeper and down deeper and deeper, deeper now, down and down and deeper. You are at your own center, your place of complete silence within . . .
Now, take the middle finger of your left hand and make a circle on your chest. This is your anchor. Anytime you make this circle once on your chest, you will immediately be able to focus on the task at hand. The more you make the circle on your chest, the more deeply into a trance you will go. When you are deep enough for you, just relax your hand wherever it falls and is comfortable. This will work for you anytime you use it. Of course, you would never use this anchor technique if you were the driver of a moving vehicle.
Now repeat all of the preceding exercise while listening to your Leclaire Smart Beginnings Music tape (see Store at top of this website). Listening increases the learning process by allowing other parts of your brain to be reached than were reached while you did the exercise without music.
At term, your cervix will easily, comfortably, and progressively efface and dilate, and your baby will continue to move down through the birth canal. The stronger your contractions (now known as rhythmic risings), the more deeply you will relax. You will participate one contraction (rythmic Rising) at a time. You will be able to find the proper position for yourself as your labor easily progresses. You will be able to rest or meditate deeply between each contraction (rhythmic rising). With every contraction (rhythmic rising), you will double your relaxation, concentration, and focus. You will remain comfortable and confident throughout your labor and birth. You will naturally know when to “so” and when to “hum.”