Oct 26, 2016

Yoga Confession: Pregnancy & Practice

Since graduating YTT in August, I have not taught or practiced yoga.


Whew. I feel better.

Okay, so what happened? Let me tell you.

Everything in my yoga world was gaining momentum. From January to June I was a dedicated yogi – exploring the practice beyond the physical limb. I was even teaching beginner yoga classes a few times a week!

Cut to June 2016. Half-way through my YTT.

I found out I was pregnant. Not exactly a disease or disability, right!? But, for whatever reason I became very sensitive to protecting my womb – first time mom syndrome. I was perfectly healthy before becoming pregnant and thus had no real reason to worry – I had an active lifestyle and possessed minimal pregnancy risks. But, I knew it wasn’t fair to assume I was immune from complications.

I remember going to my first yoga class post positive prego test. I was early (always) which left plenty of time to consult with Dr. Google (so dumb). Anyway, after skimming a few random articles the fear was planted. Apparently, I was not supposed to practice inversions and twists.

Class started. I went to the back of the room and settled into my child’s pose. As we moved through different asanas (so many twists and inversions!) I found myself frustrated. I was modifying everything. I was afraid, I was confused, I was discouraged. I was supposed to be expanding my practice and going deeper into my postures. Instead, I felt limited. Don’t even get me started on the mental practice – there was no peace, no focus and certainly no healing.


So I quasi quit. I took a few more classes that were required to complete my YTT. But, I wasn’t present. I was absent. I just went through the postures waiting for shavansa. The only thing on my mind was creating and maintaining a healthy environment for my fetus to flourish.

Actually, I ceased all physical activity (not usually the doctor recommendation) and started obsessively resting and taking prenatal vitamins. I know it is crazy, but the idea of anything negative happening to the potential life I was carrying took over all my rational abilities.

Now that I am in my 2nd trimester (24 weeks) I am feeling a little more confident in my body and I am ready to get back to the mat.

I tried looking up prenatal classes in my area and found limited options. The class times were inconsistent and not practical for me. Seriously, 8pm or 11 am on a weekday isn’t going to cut it. While I can’t control yoga studios and their schedules, I can control how I manage my own time. So, for the first time in my life (surely, moms will confirm this is just the beginning of shifting schedules), I am going to start practicing yoga alone, at home.


Quick Reference: Progression of modifications by trimester

First trimester (1-13 weeks)

  • Avoid breathing exercises that pump fire into the belly
  • Avoid jumping and floating into asanas
  • Avoid practicing in a room hotter than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Minimize twisting
  • Avoid inversions (with the exception of Viparita Karani/Legs Up the Wall)

Second trimester (14-27 weeks)

  • Avoid intense abdominal exercises
  • Avoid pressure on the abdomen – hello, belly.
  • Use bolsters and blankets to relieve pressure on the hips
  • Avoid rounding the spine – use blocks when forward bending to elongate the spine
  • Choose comfort and expansion; avoid discomfort and compression (especially on the abdomen)
  • Accommodate a growing belly with bolsters/blankets and lying on your side during shavasana

Third trimester (28 – 42 weeks)

  • Start lying on the side (if you haven’t already) with a bolster or blanket between the knees and under the head during shavasana
  • Use a chair for support during standing postures
  • Avoid deep squats

And always: honor your body!

(Sources: Teaching Yoga, Yoga Mama)

*Disclaimer: Remember to consult your real life doctor before doing anything you read on a blog. Blogs and google are not a substitute for medical care. Duh.



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