|**In every case with Yoga and Pregnancy, consult your physician, health care practitioner and your teacher before participating in any form of yoga practice.**|
The following is general information only.
There are many opinions about Ashtanga Yoga and Pregnancy; ultimately, it is up to the woman to decide what is the right practice to pursue during pregnancy.
•Many women find it feels most natural and comfortable to avoid practicing any Yoga-asana at all during the first trimester of pregnancy.
•It is generally recommended by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Rangaswamy NOT to practice Ashtanga Yoga during your first trimester.
•It is generally advised not to begin any new activity while pregnant, and therefore, students who do not have an established Ashtanga Yoga practice should NOT begin the primary series of Ashtanga Yoga for the first time when becoming pregnant.
If a woman has never
practiced Ashtanga Yoga, it is best that she attend a Prenatal Yoga
class specifically designed for expecting mothers.
•Every pregnancy is different. What feels right and good during one pregnancy may not feel right during a subsequent pregnancy, and one woman’s experience cannot account for every woman’s experience.
Each pregnancy is a very individual, so it is important to listen to your body, and pay attention to its needs.
•It is important to remember that when practicing Yoga while pregnant the goal is not “purification of the body”. Yoga should be used as a means to increase your awareness, and to “tune in” to what is happening within yourself at a deeper level.
Your mantra must be to “nurture” yourself and the life growing within you.
•Because there is a greater mobility due to the hormonal release, a student may have insufficient strength to safely support her new range of motion. Increased amounts of the hormone Relaxin are present in a woman’s body during pregnancy, so the practice of Yoga needs to be approached with a great deal of awareness and caution.
The body may feel much more ‘open’ or ‘bendy’ and so it is important not to strain or over stretch the muscles and ligaments.
•When pregnant, if something is making you feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or over heated, then it is imperative you listen to your body and avoid those postures or activities that are causing discomfort. Do not “push through” these feelings.
Listen closely to what your body is
telling you, your experience will be different day to day. Maintain a
gentle “nurturing” approach on and off the mat.
General Thoughts regarding Yoga and Pregnancy
If you have
any uncertainty about your your yoga practice or have had any history of
medical complications or miscarriages, you must act in consultation
with your physician and your yoga teacher.
Yoga and Pregnancy: Thoughts for Teachers
•Provided there are no complications with the pregnancy, if a student has a regular Ashtanga Yoga practice of over two years, then she could continue to practice during her pregnancy, introducing appropriate modifications for certain postures as the morphology of the body changes.
•As a teacher you need to work one-on-one with a pregnant students to meet each woman’s own unique needs and concerns as they practice. Most practitioners will have an intuitive sense about what they can and cannot do, and as a teacher you need to respect their requests.
•The Mysore Style approach is the best way of working with a pregnant practitioner, as she can move through the postures at her own pace and follow her intuition as she practices. As a teacher you can work more closely with the student to meet her personal needs.
•Pregnancy is a time for “nesting and nurturing,” not “cleansing and purification.”
•As a general guideline for yoga and pregnancy: Any postures with “half lotus” or with the heel pressing into the lower abdomen need to be modified by moving the heel to away from the navel or pubic bone region. These postures can be practiced by modifying the placement of the foot, or can be omitted altogether.
Ashtanga Yoga Canada is not making recommendations of any kind for practicing Yoga while pregnant.
ONLY Practice under the direct guidance of your teacher.
Here is some additional information from Ashtanga teacher
David Swenson on Ashtanga Yoga and Pregnancy