by Suzanne Swan, founder of yogababy
“Bliss is the source of unrequited love,
it is everywhere – inside of me
and all things simultaneously
co-arising in each synchronistic instant!”
In yoga tradition, it is called“Ananda”, a Sanskrit word meaning "divine bliss", "unending joy" or “spiritual ecstasy”. In birth, it is the expansion of a woman’s entire being to more closely match her God Self.
Birthing my daughter, Amrta was an ecstatic experience. I felt the power of nature flow through me and I surrendered to its force. It was as if I opened to the flow of creation. In Fredrick Leboyer’s words “it was an occasion of vibrating with the universal rhythm, a moment to feel the perfect accord of what is below with what is above, a merging with the cosmic dance”.
I felt that my body was no longer my own but the opening gate through which my daughter’s soul expression entered the world. I became the ultimate vessel for her re-emergence and this created an opening in my physical body forever. I have since experienced this blissful flow of energy, which purifies as it moves, in many other forms. Like when I dance, make love, breastfeed, commune with nature or practice yoga.
In the months before my daughter’s conception, during the pregnancy, and in the lead up to her birth, I practiced yoga. I looked forward to the birth as an opportunity to be one with all of creation. In labour I read a powerful Irish myth of a man whose strength could crush a thousand men. I knew the power of birth to be immense like this myth. I sensed that birth had the ability to move a mountain with its strength. I told myself not to be afraid when the baby knocked at the door, instead to step aside and let the baby come. During labour, I had a vision of planets flying through my opening birth canal. I was birthing the Universe.
In yoga tradition, the blissful state of Ananda can be obtained through being present, filling oneself with love and holding the ideation of the Devine upmost in one’s thoughts. Often times, Ananda is experienced within a community of like minded people or within a spiritual community. A friend of mine birthed her daughter whilst chanting the mantra ‘I love you, I love you, I love you…….’As her family lovingly observed her birth her baby.
Here are some yoga practices which cultivate a blissful state;
- Dhyana – Meditation- focus on your womb as the centre of creativity
Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the reflexive, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. Meditation often involves turning attention to a single point of reference such as love to invoke the state of bliss. It is a well known yogic principle that where we put our awareness we place our energy. For example we can place our awareness and energy into a sense organ to enhance its function ie. womb breathing.
- Shavasana – Deep relaxation – practice slowing down
In spite of its' passive appearance Shavasana is one of the most difficult poses to master. To put the mind and the body in a state of deep relaxation takes practice. It is important to allow time for relaxation and nothing else ie. regular practice of deep relaxation scripts.
- Mantra – Affirmation – Say to yourself ‘I am Happy, Healthy and Holy’
A mantra is a spiritual formula; a combination of sacred syllables that forms a nucleus of spiritual power ie.“Sat Nam”, I am truth. Use affirmations in daily life ie. “I am the light of my soul, I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am bliss, I am, I AM.
- Pranayama - Regulation of breath – Breathe down and out for your baby
Meditating on your breath brings peace and fosters calm, alertness, and concentration. Focus several times a day on your breath rhythm. Ask yourself, where does my breath travel to and in what direction does it flow. Take your breath into your womb and connect with the downward flow of energy.
- Tantra – Asana – Physical health
Based on the path of transformation, tantric yoga works with the energy of the body and the transference of consciousness. Find the pulse, the wave and the spiral movements in your body that undulate and create energy to open for birth.
With birth as the ultimate act of creation, it is no longer a physical experience but one that uplifts the experience to the spiritual plane. Beyond time and space the birthing woman can enter into union with her highest self and experience being one with all creation.
Suzanne Swan is the founder of yogababy, teaching preconception/prenatal/postnatal yoga classes and active birth workshops for couples. She is a passionate about learning how to move with the powerful forces of nature. You can contact her on info(at)yogababy.com.au .