Here is a list of the Yamas and their definitions:

Ahimsa – “non-violence”

Satya – truthfulness

Asteya – non-stealing

Bramhacharya: self-restraint (mental and physical)

Aparigraha – non-hoarding, non-greedy, not covetous


The Niyamas:

Sauca – mental and physical cleanliness, purity

Santosh – contentment

Tapas – Austerity, seriousness, self-discipline, strictness

Swadhyaya – self-study

Ishwarpranidhana – Surrender to God

Ahimsa – non-violence

These days so many women try to do it all. They have a career, a home, and a family.  When the expecting mother tries to keep doing all that she did when she wasn’t pregnant, she is doing a sort of violence against her pregnant body and her baby. Learning how to listen to your body and your baby while pregnant are both very important aspects of growing a baby in your belly.

 Non-violence consists of not forcing anything. That can mean not pushing your way through the day when your body is telling you to slow down. It means not forcing your self deeper into a yoga pose even if you are familiar with that pose or pushing your way through a workout when you’re tired. It means not ignoring your instincts if you find that you’re uncomfortable with your caregiver and following through on communicating that or finding another caregiver. And it means not inducing or forcing labor without a medical reason, and avoiding any unnecessary medical procedures.

These are just a few ways to look at the Yama of Ahimsa or non-violence. It is very hard for us to follow our instincts when all around us life continues at a frenetic pace, a pace we used to keep up with. It’s challenging to follow our hearts when our approach to pregnancy, labor, and birth is different from everyone around us.

Take a few moments every day, either in the morning, or right at bedtime to write in a journal, or do a little self-reflection on what you experienced today or yesterday in regards to your pregnancy experience. Take a look at the ways you nurture yourself. Think about those ways as nurturing your baby too, if you have difficulty doing it for yourself.  Make a list of the things you can do to help make your pregnancy healthier and more enjoyable.

Ahimsa, or non-violence can mean being kind to yourself. How have you been kind and nurturing to yourself and your baby this week?

To find out more about Ahimsa for labor and birth go to www.birthclassathome and download your free Healthy Birth Booklet-6 steps to a safer birth.  


Satya – Truthfulness

Being honest and open is almost always best. But sometimes we need to think about the Ahimsa aspect of speaking the truth. Someone may not be ready for the truth, or the truth could be very hurtful, or even shocking. So we may need to think about either how we speak the truth or choosing the right time.


When it comes to being truthful and sincere sometime the person we lie to the most, is ourselves.

When you are pregnant, it’s critical to take the time to try to figure out what is import to you regarding your labor and birth. You may not know at first, but take the time to read, and make sure you take childbirth classes.  The more you learn, the more you may find that your priorities are different than you thought, at first.


Find out everything you can about labor and birth. Begin with this list of books:



Then in the beginning of your 5th month start taking a childbirth class. Many of my students tell me that their entire view of birth changed, and they felt more confident and unafraid from taking a childbirth class. Our society has been programmed to view labor and birth as the accident waiting to happen, an excruciatingly painful and horrible experience with danger lurking around every corner. The truth is that childbirth can be magical, empowering, extraordinarily beautiful, in addition to being challenging and intense.


Learn all you can. Ask lots of questions. Be truthful with yourself. Do the work necessary. The payoff is incredible.See more by Liza Janda