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Every pregnancy is different for every person. While you may experience joy and excitement at the thought of bringing new life into the world, you can also confront feelings of fear, doubt, and worry about all the changes to come—within your body and your life.
Corinne Andrews knows this all too well. As a Massachusetts-based prenatal and postnatal yoga instructor and mother of two, Andrews has worked with expectant parents for years. Her in-person and online yoga and wellness program, called Birthing Mama, was created as way to support parents in experiencing pregnancy as a “sacred and holistic life event and as a pathway to awakening.”
Now, her course has been adapted and expanded upon in an upcoming book: Birthing Mama: Your Companion for a Wholistic Pregnancy Journey includes week-by-week reflections, yoga, wellness recipes, journal prompts, and more to guide expectant parents through the ups and downs of pregnancy and the postpartum period. Here, Andrews shares an excerpt on grounding practices to try during the second trimester.
Also from Birthing Mama:
Yoga: Standing on and with the Earth
We all have developed ways of standing that affect not only our posture but also our sense of self. Some of us tend to rock backward, digging in our heels. Some of us curl and grip with our toes clinging to control and rigidity. Whatever your stance, pay attention to how it feels to change it physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
When you stand with your whole foot planted on the earth—your heels, balls, and all 10 toes—you engage your entire pelvis, which then positively affects everything above and below it. This allows you to root yourself more deeply into the earth and to receive that support coming back up through you.
Try this meditation to truly embody the way Earth’s energy supports you, holds you, and sustains you throughout your pregnancy and later on as a mother.
- Stand in Mountain Pose with your bare feet hip-width apart to give yourself a wide and steady base.
- Bend your knees slightly and try massaging whatever you are standing on with your feet as though you were kneading dough, clay, or wet sand.
- Notice the connections between your toes and feet and your pelvis and hips. Try walking slowly and see if you can feel these connections. When you walk, push off with your big toe on the back leg.
- When you stand, try to sense that you, yourself, are just an extension of the Earth—a part of her. Imagine that roots grow out of the bottom of your feet to tether you. Then notice a rebound of energy that rises up through these roots, helping you hold yourself up through every moment—just as it would happen for a plant or tree—whether you are standing still or walking slowly.
Reflect: Feet to Earth
During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin can cause the ligaments in the feet to loosen and the bones under them to spread slightly. Your feet might even grow up to a whole size larger. Think of it as encouragement to become more grounded through your feet into the Earth’s body and to strengthen your relationship to the Earth.
Notice how you stand. Are you standing with all parts of both feet touching the ground? Spend as much time as you can in nature, and notice if you can feel that your body and the Earth’s body are one body—that we are all beloved children of Mother Earth. And she is here to support us from underneath and all around if we are open to receive.
Describe your connection to Mother Earth. Are there places where or seasons when you can more deeply feel her presence? Are there ways of engaging with her that allow you to feel grounded and centered?
Nourish: Awakening Your Feet
This week, practice caring for your feet as a way to feel grounded and connected to yourself and the earth.
Try massaging your feet gently with your hands or rolling them on a tennis ball to stimulate them and bring your energy down and into the earth. Take your time—consider spending 10 minutes on each foot. Be sure to get under and in between your toes! You can also use an oil or lotion on your feet.
Before or after your foot massage, soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salts, or add any combination you like of the herbs and essential oils (just a few drops) listed below:
- Mint essential oil and/or leaves
- Lavender essential oil and/or sprigs
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Chamomile flowers
Nourish yourself and your family by planting seeds. It doesn’t matter whether you have just a few pots in a sunny window, a raised garden bed, or a huge garden in your backyard. Choose some of your favorite vegetables and herbs (look for organic, non-GMO seeds), and plant them with love. Tend them over time with sunshine, water, nutrients, and your attention. Or give back to the earth by planting a bush or a tree.
Excerpted from Birthing Mama© by 2021 Corinne Andrews. Used with permission from Storey Publishing. Find Birthing Mama prenatal yoga and wellness videos at Wellmode.
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