Ashtanga Yoga for Pregnant Women

It is typically safe and beneficial to practice while pregnant, however always consult a physician before practicing and practice under the guidance of a qualified teacher.

General Ashtanga and Pregnancy Guidelines

The practice of Ashtanga Yoga for Pregnant women is always to be considered on a case by case basis in consultation with a physician, health care practitioner, and importantly, a qualified Ashtanga Yoga teacher. You will read many opinions about Yoga for Pregnant women; ultimately, it is up to each individual practitioner to decide what is the right practice to pursue during pregnancy. Here is some general advice to keep in mind;

  • traditionally it is advised not to practice Ashtanga Yoga during your first trimester.
  • Similar to all physical activity, if you do not already have an established yoga practice, you generally should not start one while pregnant.
  • Each pregnancy is different. It is important to pay attention to your body and its needs.
  • When practicing while pregnant, the goal is to nurture yourself and the life within you, not to "progress".
  • Do not push through discomfort.

"Practicing Yoga when pregnant, your Mantra should be; Nurture Nurture Nurture."

  • During pregnancy, you have an increased amount of the hormone Relaxin. Relaxin increases mobility, however you may not have sufficient strength to support your new found flexibility.
  • Through your pregnancy, your practice should evolve as certain asanas become unsafe, or uncomfortable to do.  A pre-natal qualified teacher will be able to help you through this process.
  • Regardless of your experience as a practitioner, you should consult with your physician to discuss practicing yoga while pregnant.
  • If you are looking for a yoga teacher for your pregnancy, please contact us.  Arielle is a highly qualified and experienced pre-natal teacher (as well as a mom).

Teaching Yoga to Pregnant Women

If you are an Ashtanga teacher, you should keep the following thoughts in mind.

  • honestly evaluate whether you are qualified to teach this student during their pregnancy. If you are not, refer them to someone else.
  • Provided there are no complications and if a student has a consistent Mysore practice (generally over 2 years), then it should be ok for the student to continue her practice.
  • Introduce appropriate modifications as the morphology of the body changes.

"A Teacher should respect the students intuitive sense of their limitations."

  • Mysore style is the best way to teach a practitioner through her pregnancy.  Led classes are generally not advised because they do not give the student the freedom to follow the sequence at their own pace.
  • Any posture with "half lotus" or with the heel pressing into the lower abdomen needs to be modified by moving the heel away from the naval and pubic bone region.  Alternatively, they can be omitted all together.
  • This list is not exhaustive.  If you are interested in learning more about teaching yoga to pregnant women, please contact us.

Links to Articles by Arielle on Yoga & Pregnancy

Follow the links below to learn more about yoga and pregnancy written by yogi, teacher and mother, Arielle Nash.