Yoga Retreat
Mother As First Guru ( By Swami Gurupremananda Saraswati
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   As the pregnancy nears the end, a woman needs to feel ready, not just sick of her bodily aches and pains, but mentally and spiritually ready, for the challenges of the birth and what lies beyond. The last month or so of the third trimester is the time for that, so please don’t leave it until very close to the birth or you may find events catch you unprepared.
   During the birthing process, the mind can interfere with what the body needs to do, and can block the natural bodily process. This can manifest as tiredness during labour and can quickly escalate the amount of medical assistance or intervention. Put very simplistically, birthing is just a process of sitting back mentally and watching it happen before your eyes. Shakti, the energy of nature, just comes along and does her thing. The body and the baby should just know how to do their thing – if properly prepared. But the equation is more complicated when, subconsciously, either a mother or her baby do not feel ready for birth, or when the woman wants to rationally manage or control it in a way which is against the natural unfolding of things. So we have to prepare the mind so it doesn’t get in the way.
   Approaching childbirth with an attitude of – “Oh I hope it is all over soon” – is a sure way to find that it is not! All those attitudes of fear, impatience, aversion to pain, dislike of blood, embarrassment at screaming out loud, worry about post-natal sexual function, will in no small way hinder an easeful birth. Even for a woman who has experienced one or more previous childbirths there is often the uncertainty of – “How will I go through labour this time?“ There can be remnants of previous birthing pain and difficulties. For a first time mother there is of course the fear of the unknown, and for every woman there are those niggling concerns – she hopes her baby will come through the birth unharmed. Is it too small? Is it too big? Maybe it's twins! What if this, what if that? But these fears are not coming from the rational, thinking mind, they come from deep within our unconscious mind. The rational mind is over-powered by the more primal forces which arise during pregnancy and birth. Intellectually there is nothing that can manage the circumstances. Losing this otherwise “safe logical railing” to hold on to, can be scary for many.
   The ideal way to mentally prepare for the end of your pregnancy phase and beginning of the birthing phase is to set aside some time in each day to meditate and prepare a psychic space in your life for your new baby. At this stage of pregnancy, visualisations of giving birth,

opening up, bringing down a new consciousness, riding the waves on the sea of birth, getting grounded and connected to mother earth and your maternal lineage can be helpful. However, during your meditations some of those unwelcome unconscious thoughts may arise, which, if left unattended, may block your birthing experience.
   The closer you approach giving birth, the more strongly the unconscious mind is activated. The child growing in-utero is putting pressure not only on the physical organs of uterus, bladder, stomach, diaphragm, bowels, cervix, but is also putting pressure on Swadhisthana Chakra, at the coccyx or tail bone. Swadhisthana translates as “one’s abode”, and is the storehouse of the unconscious impressions, all those skeletons in the closet Freud was so obsessed with. As the foetus grows bigger and pressure increases, the unconscious material of Swadhist-hana is released and becomes seen by the conscious mind. It can also manifest in dreams. During pregnancy, women have a rare opportu-nity to learn more about these aspects of themselves, and through Yoga Nidra and meditation these impressions can be handled and transcended.
   Closely connected to Swadhisthana is Mooladhara Chakra, located at the perineal plexus. After the baby turns head down, and even if it doesn’t invert, pressure increases on the cervix, and when labour commences, pressure on Mooladhara Chakra increases immensely. In conjunction with many other factors, as labour progresses, the woman is taken over by a deep primal energy which very few people properly understand. More than just a few painful contractions, a bit of panting and pushing, women experience the awakening of Mooladhara as an uncontrollable urge, almost alien to them, but they know of course it is coming from within them. It is variously described as “mind … blowing”, “extra … ordinary”, “in … describ-able”, “para … normal”, “all … powerful”. Observers (husbands usually) say it is as if a screaming, moaning, cavorting, shaking, demon entity has taken over their wife! Both the birth mother and the observer are describing attributes which are deeply, deeply hidden within us and which only surface at this time. This is the result of the simultaneous awakening and expression of raw shakti through both Moolad-hara and Swadhisthana chakras. In total opposition to the modern trend of anaesthetising this experience away with pethidine and epidurals, I say it is to be welcomed, explored and understood

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Please Note:
The complete ‘Mother As First Guru’ Set also contains Book 2 + 2 audio cds. Book 2 relating to comprehensive Yoga Practices as well as the Audio Instructional practices (2 cd set) are only available with your purchase and is NOT available on the Reading Room.

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