There’s no time like the new year to resolve to start meditating. Especially if you’re pregnant or a new mom. We know what you’re thinking: what’s so special about sitting and doing nothing? A lot. Don’t beleive us? We asked certified meditation teacher Danielle Dugan of Pure Yoga (and NYC mom of two) to break down the benefits of meditation for pregnancy and motherhood and give us a 5-step plan meditation plan for beginners.
Why is meditation so important during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, I used guided meditation to find peace with all the rapid changes happening in my body and life and also, to prepare for labor and delivery. The mind is a very powerful thing. Meditation can teach us how to have the mind work for us (focus) rather than against us (chatter).
How can you use meditation as a mom?
I feel that I’ve never been given a bigger role in life than that of that of “Mom.” At many times, I felt overwhelmed, alone, confused, unsure I was making the right decisions. This is all chatter of the mind, yogis call it Chita vritti. Meditation is a great way to learn to sit and watch the thoughts and begin to recognize they are coming and coming in rapid fire succession. We can learn to take a step back from them and in these moments of separation, we find clarity. In those moments of clarity we realize the details that are stressing and overwhelming are taking our focus away from being present for and loving these rapidly fleeting moments with baby.
I already do yoga or hit the gym! Do I really need to meditate?
I do believe there is a meditative quality to being immersed in any healthy activity we each choose to enjoy. In meditation your choosing to focus your mind and eventually begin to witness it and find a ‘separation’ from it. ‘I am not my constant thoughts.’
How do you set realistic meditation goals?
I try not to think of meditation as another thing on my to do list: a goal, a commitment, etc. It’s a ritual I incorporate into my life to maintain the happiness of myself and those surrounding me in my life.
Can you give us a 5-step plan to start meditating?
- Research and try different forms of meditation.
- When you find one you enjoy, start with attainable goals.
- Be consistent for at least one month.
- Try to journal any changes you notice in your behavior, mood, relationships.
- Bookend your day: at the start and finish. Add in meditation for just 5 minutes: on the subway, in the shower, standing in line.