By Clare Newman, Program Director of Mamata Yoga

*Stay tuned over the next several weeks as we continue to explore the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  If you missed last week, we explored the asanas*

4. Pranayama (Breath)

The demanding and often times unpredictable schedule of a new mother as she tends to the constant caring of her baby seems even more fitting that a regular practice of pranayama should be a prevalent focus throughout her daily life. As the baby grows, so do the changes. One minute the baby is sleeping through the night and the mother begins to feel rested and the next minute a tooth pops up and the baby wakes every couple of hours in pain. Even the most attentive mothers are unable to soothe a teething baby, which can be a very frustrating and sad as mothers reel under the guilt of not being able to fix or change the situation. At the beginning, a new mother is up every two hours, feeding, changing or assisting the baby into a sleeping pattern. When fatigue begins to set in and mothers have a difficult time with clarity and decision making and coping mechanisms are often suppressed. By taking 5 minutes aside from a fussy baby or even while enjoying a hot shower, mothers can incorporate a regular pranayama practice just about anywhere. By practicing cooling and soothing pranayama techniques such as Nadi Sadhona (alternative nostril breathing), mothers are able to create peace of mind and focus on the importance and acceptance of changing schedules and the need for their own rest and well-being.