Rhythm, Routine, & Consistency
Rhythm, routine, consistency. Three loves of our nervous systems. I was reminded of this in a recent yoga class. We started with slow deep breaths. In breath...out breath. In breath...out breath. In breath...out breath. Rhythm. Consistency. It’s amazing how such a simple act can create such calm.
In birth too of course, deep steady breathing is a well known coping tool. Beyond focused breathing, women in labor, especially unmedicated labor, will typically seek and create a ritual of some kind. A routine. A certain way of rocking, moaning, breathing. A certain kind of sounds, touch, lighting. Anything to create a sense of consistency to soothe her nervous system into a relaxed state.
And just think of how upsetting it can be when your routine is disturbed, right? Your ride to work has been re-routed. You run out of the thing you eat for breakfast every day. Your regular class is cancelled. Your kid gets sick. You get sick. You get constipated. Your sleep rhythm is broken for some reason. Yuck, right?
This is the same reason so many birth professionals advocate for undisturbed birth. To avoid any unnecessary intervention. We want to do everything we can to support rhythm, routine and consistency. In this way, we protect the laboring person’s nervous system so she can stay calm.
When I teach Comforting Touch for Birth too, my students learn how to offer their touch with rhythm and consistency. To match touch with breath. To provide a touch that's consistent, steady, and grounding. Especially during contractions, women tend to want a touch that has these qualities. If moving, then rhythmic is preferred. Touch becomes an additional facet of the routine she can count on to feel safe and relaxed.
Don’t get me wrong. There is always a time and place for mixing up our routines. Even in birth. Getting stuck in a rut is never good. But I felt inspired by this class to share this reminder.
To connect with the virtues of rhythm, routine and consistency.
To connect with my breath to find calm.
What if we all took a couple of minutes at the beginning or end of our days to close our eyes and focus on the rhythm of our breathing? Why not try it now? If you do it, please share when you're done what you notice. I’d love to know!