The Soothing Role of Yoga and Chanting

Below is an offering from De West, a prenatal and postpartum Yoga teacher extraordinaire in Boulder, Colorado. While moderate and severe emotional distress really does require the support of a professional trained in the treatment of perinatal mood disorders, it is understood that there are many complimentary supports that can help decrease mild symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. You're up in the middle of the night, wandering the house, restless, perhaps even crying. Your whole life has changed with the arrival of your new baby. You should be excited but you feel alone and unmotivated to do much of anything.

This restlessness and sadness that occurs in the first few weeks after giving birth is what is commonly known at the “baby blues”. Many new mothers - as many as 80%, according to the National Mental Health Association - have the “baby blues” right after delivery, and these relatively mild symptoms: mood swings, crying spells, irritability can go away within a few days to a few weeks.

Even though these symptoms will pass, you don’t need to suffer. Try what yogis have done for centuries to feel more grounded: simple chanting. Making sound and chanting can:

• Release tension • Focus your intentions • Soothe yourself (and possibly your baby) quickly • Re-connect you to your self • Move energy

You don't have to be a sage on a mountain to bring the benefits of chanting to your life. Chanting: • is easy to learn • doesn't cost anything • is portable and available anywhere • feels good

Try it now. Start with simple humming. You can do it with your mouth open or closed and use the sound to vibrate your whole mouth and body. Allow the exhale to extend your hum to be longer without straining your breathing.

Another simple exercise is to use a word. Shanti is the Sanskrit word for peace. You can repeat it three times. The first time chant it for yourself, the second for a specific person and the third time for all beings.

Chanting is a simple method to change your mood easily and quickly. Try it and see how it affects you.

If the “baby blues” linger or become severe it’s important to seek help. Call your doctor or you can find help at the Postpartum Support International and the National Mental Health Association These and other yoga practices can help ease the transformation into motherhood.

For questions, please contact De West directly at dewestyoga@yahoo.com. For anyone interested in gaining education around this and other practical and powerful practices, De is conducting the Third Annual Prenatal/Postpartum Yoga Intensive with herself and a dozen other presenters in Boulder, CO.

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1224 Pine St. Boulder, CO 80303