3 Simple Practices for a Peaceful, More Mindful Pregnancy
From Sun-Salutations to Vision Boarding, Lauryn walks you through her go-to pregnancy feel good routines
When I found out I was pregnant, I was ready for a detox; physically & mentally. Living on an island is truly a vacation, which comes with the tranquility of sun, sand & sea. It also means health takes a back seat to indulgence. The occasional yoga class is balanced out (or outweighed rather) by beach BBQs and rum & cokes…all the rum & cokes. So, I think I was secretly waiting for this day. Not just for the excitement of a baby, but for the excuse for a much needed lifestyle overhaul: mind & body.
I consider myself a bit of a hippie dippy when it comes to caring for the mind & spirit, even during my pre-pregnancy, beach party centric life. I have been a believer in the power of visualization & meditation long before I met my husband; in fact I used it to dream him up! I knew pregnancy would be the perfect time for this ritual to guide me through the next nine months that otherwise could become very overwhelming.
When I envisioned my pregnancy, I pictured myself as that girl: the one who would look & feel healthier than ever. I would eat nutritious meals, exercise regularly & focus on nothing other than growing that precious baby. I would fully embrace every moment of pregnancy, savoring the miracle of carrying my little me, in my perfectly shaped little belly. I would ooze peace, beauty & harmony. I would dance in a sun-kissed flowery field, donning a peasant dress & flower crown, like the Moms-to-be of Instagram & Pinterest.
Kidding, I wouldn’t do that. But, my pregnancy journey did wind up being all of the above. It was arguably the most peaceful I have ever felt in my mind & body.
Of course the stress of prepping for baby & meanwhile wondering what products are safe for ourselves was daunting…enough to start Nurtured 9! These stressors were that much more manageable, however, thanks to my ability to let go & embrace pregnant life.
How did I do it? I chalk my peaceful pregnancy up to 3 steps: a zen-tastic morning ritual, a swoon worthy vision board & an exercise routine that makes you smile—yes, it exists!
1. A zen-tastic morning ritual: set your intentions for the day
There is nothing better than starting the day with a few moments to yourself to focus on visualizing your goals & setting your intentions for the day. Every day has the potential to be your dream day—it’s up to you! (Flash forward note: really relish in these moments, as this will be FAR more difficult once baby arrives.)
My morning ritual is six sun salutations & a one-minute meditation. Don’t ask me how I landed on six; it just felt like the right number. For each sun salutation, I set an intention: one to let go & relax, one to thank the universe for the power to create my dream life, one for my husband, one for my parents, and one to ask for strength & peace to get through the day. I inhale positivity & exhale negativity throughout. Here is a tutorial to walk you through a proper sun salutation.
Then, I lay in savasana (“corpse pose” aka lay on your back & be still) and spend a minute picturing my dream day, whether it is a day far in the future or the present. Envision the day in full detail: from the taste of your first bite of breakfast, to the warmth of your cozy bed linens as you drift to sleep. At the end, I say aloud with prayer hands at my forehead “I am successful”, at my lips “I am beautiful” & at my heart “I am loved”.
Did I mention I’m a bit hippie dippy? Joking & eye rolls aside, it works. Will it change your life overnight? Doubtful. But I can guarantee you WILL feel better after this practice than you did before you said “I can’t believe I’m trying this”.
2. A swoon worthy vision board: make your dreams art
As I envision my dream day, there are a lot of parts: the food I eat & where I cook it, the clothes I wear & where I buy them, the home I’m in & the people I’m surrounded by, what I do for a living & the space I do it in, and so on. It’s a good amount to remember, so I opt to put it on paper, or “paper” (computer document, iPhone or iPad, screensaver to background) & keep it in a place where I can see it every day.
You can use your computer to create a document and pull from your favorite sites for inspiration. Or, you could do it the good old fashioned way & cut imagery from magazines to glue together your dream life.
The end goal is to have a collage of sorts to remind you of your goals & what is important to you. This helps keep you on track & focused on creating the life that you really want. What job would make you happy? Can you taste that perfectly foamed latte? Have you always dreamt of shopping the streets of Paris? Buying your first luxury vehicle? Don’t limit yourself. And don't let vanity stand in your way—this is what YOU want & is not to be judged. Does your vision board match what you envision as your dream life? It should!
I keep an ever-changing photoshop file on my computer, so I can add & remove different elements as my life changes. Here is my vision board to date.
3. An exercise routine that makes you smile: sweat it out to get it out
I have a love-hate relationship with working out. It has always been a chore—like cleaning the kitchen—man do I feel good after, but during? Ugggg. It also has been a means to an end. Workout = eat cookie without looking like I eat cookie.
Pregnancy was liberating in a way. Working out was no longer about ME, or about being skinny—that belly is coming no matter how many miles you run or squats your tush squeezes. It was about being healthy for my baby, while in womb & out.
Not to mention, your whole body pretty much feels out of whack throughout these nine months. It’s constantly changing: you’re nauseous & tired, you’re up & then down. Your body can OWN you during pregnancy, so to do something that makes you feel “normal” is an absolute blessing. In this way, working out morphs from a chore to a welcome opportunity to make yourself feel awesome.
For me, I tried a spin class. Not just any spin class. An in the dark, disco lights, music blaring, dancing on your bike spin class. It was life-changing. I never knew working out could be so fun. I left every class happier than before.
Assuming you are A-OK for exercise, this is the best time to experiment with different classes, videos & routines to find something you love. For once, it’s not about burning as many calories as possible, or fitting into your skinny jeans. So, why not make it super fun?
Sweat it out to get it out—release any tension, stress, sadness—leave it all in the dust! Side note: The general rule of thumb for working out while pregnant is that if you were active prior, you can remain active throughout your pregnancy. I was told that it was 100% safe for me to continue to exercise as I pleased throughout my pregnancy. However, there are pregnancies where working out is not advised. Everyone is different, so please be mindful of your own pregnancy circumstances, listen to your body & to your doctor.