Difference Between Garbh Sanskar & Mindfulness


Difference Between Garbh Sanskar & Mindfulness


Have you thought about garbh sanskar classes benefiting you during pregnancy? Or have you heard of practicing mindfulness during pregnancy? If you are on the road to parenthood, you may have come across both these terms while doing your research about how to help your baby develop better.

Both garbh sanskar and mindfulness during pregnancy and early parenthood have been linked to mental and physical well-being, with mindfulness also being linked to emotional well-being of parents and their little bundle of joy. In this article, let’s take a deep dive into understanding what garbh sanskar and mindfulness mean and how they impact and benefit you during pregnancy. Let’s start by going through some reasons that both garbh sanskar and mindfulness are becoming more popular today.


Why are Garbh Sanskar and Mindfulness Gaining Popularity?


Let’s take a minute to consider all the stress that one experiences during pregnancy. And this stress can come from so many different places –  the stress of having other kids to care for, juggling the career one has worked hard for along with their ongoing pregnancy, navigating challenging or complex relationships with their partner, family members, friends or relatives, taking care of household chores and daily responsibilities, keeping track of news and current events, or even spending too much time on social media can make someone feel overwhelmed and impact their emotional well-being during pregnancy.

Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that one would try to find some way to help find peace and tranquility during their pregnancy. After all, today, with the benefit of scientific research, it is well-known that a baby in the womb interacts with the environment around, through the parent. Any stress, or negative emotion, that the parents experience before and during pregnancy, can have an impact on the development and well-being of the baby.

A pregnant person’s state of mind during pregnancy affects the development of the unborn baby’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills. When they are calm and at peace, the baby reaps significant benefits. The opposite leads to increased risk of of uterine growth retardation, preterm labor or prolonged labor, decline in fetal heart rate, low birth weight, increased chance of requiring cesarean section, postnatal neurobehavioral problems or developmental disorder for the baby.

It has been found that 70% to 80% of pregnant individuals experience either a phase of baby blues, postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. It is also important to remember that a pregnant individual’s sleep patterns, their ability to perform daily tasks and the quality of life they lead gets affected by changes caused by hormonal, emotional, mental, and physical factors during pregnancy.

A study has indicated that the pregnant parent’s anxiety can predict persistently higher behavioral and emotional challenges for the child, and these do not reduce or decrease even upto adolescence. Anxiety during pregnancy was also associated with a twofold increase in risk of a probable mental disorder in the child.

Studies have also found that stress hormones activate the baby’s endocrine system by changing the distribution of blood flow. This has been found to further cause changes in the basic character of the child’s physiology. Such babies are likely to be hyperactive, born prematurely, have low birth-weight and are irritable and fussy during early childhood.


Understanding Garbh Sanskar


Garbh sanskar is a practice of activities during pregnancy that contribute towards social, physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of the birthing individual and the baby. Recently the popularity of garbh sanskar as an enabler for the mental and physical development of the baby has increased, but what about the emotional development and bond? That’s where mindfulness can help.

Garbh sanskar is based on the principle that during pregnancy, a fetus or baby has an almost limitless capacity to grow and develop their mind and senses, especially when the right external stimulation is given. It is considered that the baby is not an ‘object’ lying in the womb but a smart, and receptive human.

A traditional knowledge that has existed in India since the Vedic period, garbh sanskar is prescribed in Ayurvedic texts to be practiced during pregnancy. According to Ayurveda, garbh sanskar is a way to give birth to a sound and healthy baby. It’s all about engaging in various practices before and during pregnancy to help the parent of the child keep themselves physically and mentally in a sound state of mind.

Garbh Sanskar involves various practices which help to train and educate the child and inculcate optimistic thoughts and values while the baby is still within the womb. Ayurveda dictates that since pregnancy is the stage where the basic building blocks of a child’s mental neural structure is laid down, it is of utmost importance to impart virtues, values and ‘Sanskar’ in the unborn baby in the womb during the period of pregnancy.

Ayurvedic garbh sanskar suggests a set of practices that parents should follow even before pregnancy. These include:

Following a healthy diet: The practice of garbh sanskar inculcates the value of following a balanced diet in which all the nutrients required by a person are present, the food is nutritious and freshly-prepared and it includes all six rasas or tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent). This is thought to maintain balance and equilibrium in the body. It is also advised to give up overly processed or fermented food and to abstain from addictive substances including coffee, alcohol, nicotine, and other substances.

Practicing yoga and exercise: Garbh sanskar recommends that parents take up some light form of exercise or yoga for the physical well- being of the parents and child. It is believed that frequent exercise helps in healthy conception. During pregnancy, exercising improves flexibility and blood circulation in the body. It also reduces aches and pains including backaches and feet pain during later stages of pregnancy. Yoga and exercise also help to relax the body and prepare the body for childbirth. Certain yoga asanas are also known to boost the chances of having a full term normal delivery with minimal labour pain.

Having positive thoughts and a relaxed mind: Before conception and pregnancy, it is believed that it is important to develop a positive state of mind. This involves learning to manage and deal with negative emotions such as stress, anger, anxiety, shame, guilt, jealousy and sadness. It is believed that the parent’s positive mindset will be transferred to the baby and improve the baby’s physical and mental development.

Once conception takes place, and a person is pregnant, there are more practices that should be followed. These include:

Listening to calming music: It is encouraged to listen to classical music, chanting, hymns and bhajans, lullabies, nice melodies, and general soothing sounds of nature that inspire happiness during pregnancy. Such sounds help to calm the mind and release happy hormones in the body which then get passed on to the fetus. Garbh sanskar recommends certain ragas like Malkauns, Shaant, Bageshwari, Yaman and Bhairav which are considered to be very good for a child’s growth.

Practicing meditation: Meditation is widely known to have a host of benefits. Following a visualization meditation, where one imagines good things about the baby as they meditate is a great way to think positively, as well as develop a deeper bond with the baby. This can have a positive impact on the baby.

Engaging in hobbies and creative tasks: Doing something creative during pregnancy can have a calming effect on the brain and body. This can help release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is considered a natural antidepressant. Engaging in hobbies like cooking, sewing, gardening, painting are known to focus the mind, and help a parent relax.

Reading spiritual books: Garbh sanskar recommends reading books of a spiritual nature, which bring about a feeling of contentment and satisfaction during pregnancy. In fact, in garbh sanskar there is also stress put on the fact that reading educational books can shape the personality of the baby while in the womb. It is believed that reading during pregnancy can help pass on knowledge to the unborn child. It is recommended to read books with moral values, spiritual growth or mythological stories.

All of these practices are said to help the physical and mental development of the baby and lead to a successful pregnancy and a child who has good sanskar.


Understanding Mindfulness


Mindfulness is a basic human ability that allows us to be fully present in the moment, aware of where you are and what you are doing. This might seem like something trivial or something that you already practice, but it’s very common to get distracted from the present. Your mind may take flight, you may lose touch with your body in the present moment, and get lost in thoughts about how things were in the past or how they may be in the future.

One good thing about mindfulness, is it can be practiced at any time and by anyone. It can be practiced even by young children. It can also be practiced when one is not pregnant, and can become a way of life. There are several benefits to practicing mindfulness during pregnancy though.

During pregnancy, parents are undertaking their first step into the parenthood journey. While beautiful, this journey is filled with uncertainties. A new parent may have a lot of fear of the unknown. They may not know what to expect, they don’t know how painful labor will be or what the process might be like.

There is also a lot going on in the body and the mind, during pregnancy. ‘What if’ thoughts about parenthood and the baby can lead to anxiousness and increase one’s stress response. But mindfulness can help manage some of the impact of that stress response.

By practicing mindfulness, parents can allow themselves to ‘just be’ with their body, focusing on that moment, embracing the connection with their baby, relaxing and focusing on the beauty of childbirth. Mindfulness allows them to find peace in the present.

In fact, regularly practicing mindfulness can also help during delivery. It can be used to reduce the perception of pain and be a tool that can be used to help one get through the labor and delivery process. It can even help alleviate any unnecessary worries that something is wrong with the baby or that something negative will happen during the birth.

Mindfulness practice involves developing some core attitudes. These are having a non-judgmental attitude, developing acceptance, developing patience, having a beginner’s mind, being trusting, being non-striving, letting go, experiencing gratitude, and feeling generosity.

To begin practicing mindfulness, it is important to remember that mindfulness is not just an activity; in fact, mindfulness is a way of perceiving and observing, and it can be developed using various tools. Some of these tools include meditation, sensory exercises, and breathing.

Here are some tips that can be kept in mind for practicing mindfulness during pregnancy.

  • Do something relaxing like sitting down or going for a leisurely walk.
  • Use the five senses and bring attention inwards to understand how the body feels.
  • Focus the mind away from other things in the environment and pay attention to the breath.
  • Recognize and allow the mind to wander, but bring it back to focus.
  • Refrain from judgment over thoughts, sensations or feelings.

How Mindfulness Differs from Garbh Sanskar


While this article has explained what garbh sanskar and mindfulness mean, it is also now time to understand the differences between the two. Both are scientifically backed and beneficial to pregnancy, however, there are some key differences between the two.

One of the main differences is that garbh sanskar is all about practices to be followed just before conception, and during pregnancy. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a practice that can be followed at any stage of life. One can even practice mindful parenting, and imbibe mindfulness skills in their children.

While garbh sanskar refers to a series of practices, mindfulness is a practice in and of itself. Garbh sanskar recommends what activities should be taken up during pregnancy, whereas mindfulness tells you how to take up those activities.

Garbh sanskar focuses on teaching the right values or ‘sanskar’ to the baby during pregnancy. It emphasizes the physical and mental development of the baby. Mindfulness, on the other hand, focuses on allowing the parent to become more non-judgmental and accepting. These skills acquires can benefit them in the long-term, going beyond the pregnancy and can serve them well even during the journey of parenthood. This enhances a baby’s emotional well-being and nurtures the emotional bond between the parent and the baby. As the parents continue to practice mindfulness, this emotional bond grows and becomes even stronger.

Pregnancy is not an easy journey, and neither is parenthood. And in today’s age of information a parent is constantly bombarded with new updates and information about how best to take care of themselves during pregnancy as well as how to take care of their baby. Having support from professionals, who understand the emotional ups and downs that happen during pregnancy can be beneficial.

AtEase is working hard to provide a program that helps new parents and pregnant individuals feel at ease during this pregnancy journey. This program is rooted in mindfulness, which has many benefits for the pregnant individual. It also helps to strengthen the emotional well-being of the parents by giving them a safe space where they can share their feelings, thoughts and experiences with other individuals going through the same things through our support group. We are also providing pregnant individuals with free therapy sessions to help them seek professional support to deal with any emotional challenges they may be facing during pregnancy or to learn to cope with emotional struggles of the past.

If you, or someone you know, is currently pregnant, the AtEase Pregnancy Mindfulness program is meant for you. With the right blend of mindfulness, professional expertise and social support, this program is going to help you ensure the emotional well-being of your baby and nurture the bond you have with your baby.

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