prenatal and postnatal tips:

advice on safely modifying your practice 

Are you an expecting yogini looking to safely modify your yoga practice for pregnancy?

Or perhaps you had your baby a few months ago and want to make sure you stay safe as you return to your yoga practice.

We’ve got you covered! Read on for our Yoga Mama tips.

 

Tips for Taking a Regular Vinyasa Class While Pregnant

  • Avoid “belly-down” poses (ie laying on your belly, or lowering to a full Chaturanga)

    • Tip: come to table pose, take a puppy pose and/or child’s pose while everyone else is doing cobra or updog, and then take down dog
       

  • Keep backbends in the upper back, avoid deep backbends

    • Tip: Instead of Wheel Pose, try a supported Bridge Pose
       

  • Use all the props! We love props, and they can absolutely improve your prenatal yoga experience. 

    • Tip: Poses where it’s fantastic to prop up your pregnant body for both alignment and comfort - Half Pigeon, Half Hanumanasana (half-split), Bridge, Legs up the wall, Any balancing poses
       

  • Yay for open twists, boo to closed/deep twists!

    • Any posture where you are closing off the torso to twist is a definite no-go during pregnancy; stick to open twists where you’re opening your torso away in the twist versus closing it off into another part of the body (like the front leg in a low lunge twist.)
       

  • Sweeten Your Savasana

    • Use a semi-reclined posture for Savasana, supported legs up the wall, or side-lying using props to make your final relaxation ahhhh-mazing.
       

  • Tune IN to your body

    • Vinyasa yoga is a warming practice; it can create in both your body and the surrounding room. Avoid overheating by taking modifications, drinking water, or taking a brief break in the lobby. Overheating / dehydration can cause serious problems for mom and baby, as well as start labor before it’s time!

    • Lastly, listen to your body. As you progress further along in your pregnancy, your body will change and some poses / movements will start to become uncomfortable. While that may be frustrating, listen to what your body is telling you and ease up from those discomforts in your regular yoga practice!

Tips for Returning to Yoga After Having a Baby

 

General Tips:
 

  • Please ensure that your doctor or midwife has approved you to return to physical activity. This usually happens at your 6-week postpartum appointment.
     

  • If possible, please have your provider check you for diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy). This is actually VERY common, and it’s good to know what degree of separation you may be working with as you return to yoga.

    • If you did not ask your provider to check you, please try to self-evaluate using the YouTube video here. If you find that you think your separation is 3- or 4-finger widths, then it’s advisable for you to see your provider or a physical therapist before coming back into yoga.
       

  • If you have pelvic floor dysfunction or pelvic organ prolapse, please 1) follow guidelines from your provider or physical therapist about returning to activity, and 2) inform your yoga teacher. Please note: we are NOT medical professionals and you should NOT use yoga as your only regimen to “fix” any of these issues.

 

Things to Keep in Mind When You Return to The Mat:
 

  • Start at the most foundational yoga class level, even if you had a rigorous practice before baby. There have been a lot of changes in your body, and starting off on a good foundation is the best way to ensure your body heals and grows stronger in safe and healthy ways.
     

  • Lying on your belly may not be comfortable for a couple of reasons, so consider skipping belly-down poses:

    • 1) If you had a Cesarean birth, the area around your scar could be tender

    • 2) If you are breastfeeding/pumping, it may be bothersome for your chest to be pressed up against the floor.
       

  • If you have some pelvic floor dysfunction or you still feel like you’re recovering in the pelvic area, you may find that Goddess and Malasana poses are uncomfortable and put a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor.
     

  • Be mindful of Sun Salutations - the transitions from Plank to Chaturanga, and from Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog are incredibly core-challenging even when you haven’t had a baby! These transitions can become unsafe if you’re coming to practice with abdominal separation, or can even exacerbate the separation. You can move through Table pose in either of those transitions to minimize putting pressure on your abdominal wall.
     

  • The relaxin that caused your joints to be relaxed and looser during pregnancy is still kicking around. So you can still expect any former injuries prior to pregnancy, or any pregnancy aches and pains to continue for a while.
     

  • Move deliberately, try to be really in-tune with your body and how it feels as you practice, especially if you had a consistent practice before or during pregnancy. Tuning in is both humbling in the sense of feeling like you can’t do yoga like you used to, but also the healthiest way for you to learn where your body feels challenged and where you need to focus your recovery efforts as you keep coming to class.