By Dr Vanishree Aithal
In Ayurveda, the journey of a child from mother’s womb to the outer world is well explained as Garbha Sanskar. The Sanskrit word ‘garbha’ means foetus and ‘sanskar’ means educating the mind.
It is traditionally believed that a child’s mental and behavioural development starts in the womb as it can be influenced by the mother’s emotional state while she carries the baby.
There is scientific evidence that supports the practices of Garbh Sanskar and its effect on the unborn child. Modern studies have proved that a foetus can respond to external stimulus. In fact, the hormonal secretions activated by the mother’s thoughts can also impact the baby in her womb. The practice of Garbha Sanskar ensures that the mother remains healthy and in a positive state of mind.
There are several modern prenatal practices. Some of them include:
Autosuggestion and hypnosis: These are meditation techniques which occupy the mind with an idea that can turn into reality.
Colour therapy: This includes the use of light and colour to balance the mind. Certain colours can uplift the mood and have a positive effect on the mind.
Aromatherapy: This uses the sense of smell that sharpens the senses and soothes the body and mind. Essential oils and other aromatics may be used to help the mother de-stress.
Guidelines of Garbha Sanskar
According to Ayurveda, Garbha Sanskar is one of the best ways to give birth to a healthy baby. It’s all about the mother maintaining herself physically and mentally in a sound state of mind.
Healthy eating habits
The dietary regime is an essential aspect of pregnancy, as the growth of the foetus depends upon the health and nutrition of the mother. According to Ayurveda, a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals is recommended. The foods in pregnancy should have a balanced amount of calcium, folic acid and iron. Sattvik food which refers to freshly prepared nutrient-rich food that includes all five tastes, namely, sweet, salty, pungent, bitter and sour.
Practicing light exercises with Pranayama and meditation
· Light exercises increase flexibility, improve blood circulation and reduce backaches during pregnancy.
· Pranayama or breathing exercises help to calm and relax the body while preparing you for breath-control during childbirth.
· Specific Garbh Sanskar yoga asanas boost the mother’s chances of having a full-term normal delivery with minimal labour pain.
Meditation is an important aspect of Garbh Sanskar and is beneficial for the body as it de-stresses the mind. It involves getting into the ‘zero state of mind’, which can help bring peace and tranquility, and enhance concentration. Visualising good things about the baby while you meditate is also a great way to bond and think positively, which can help both you and the baby.
Along with these two main practices, some other activities that can be followed include praying, listening to music which brings peace to the mind, reading calming or spiritual books, keeping the mind calm and happy and being active, which are beneficial for the mother during her journey of pregnancy.
(The writer is MD, Birla Ayurveda. Views are personal.)