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Pregnancy and Teaching

I have been practicing yoga for more than 10 years and through three pregnancies. I did my 200 hours of teacher training in April and, along with my friend and business partner, opened a small but thriving yoga studio in Knysna, South Africa.

I just found out that I am about six weeks pregnant, and I'm wondering how to continue teaching yoga while pregnant. Because I've done yoga through my other pregnancies, I am aware there are many poses I will not be able to do—but I'm not sure how to handle teaching.

We teach Ashtanga Yoga primarily, as well as Power/Vinyasa and more simple hatha classes. We are the only yoga studio in a small community—and we're very popular—so we need to diversify. I don't want to not be able to teach classes, but I'm also concerned about my own well-being.


—Jennifer

Read Ana Forrest's response:

Dear Jennifer,

Here are some ways to handle teaching while you're pregnant:

  • Do verbal and touch corrections.
  • Do not lift a student's weight at all for any reason. Use your more experienced students to demonstrate poses.
  • Do not put any pressure on your belly (such as lying on the floor or twisting into your thigh).
  • Do not hold your breath.
  • Do not do abdominal-strengthening exercises.
    • Stay conscious of breathing while you teach. Inhale. Then, exhale slowly as you instruct your students.

In addition, be mindful of doing things that feed both you and your baby. In giving to others, you mustn't deplete yourself. Finally, do (or continue) a steady yoga practice. Include lots of breath in pPranayama, but no holds or uddiyana bhanda.

When we are pregnant, we carry a very special energy charge. Your students will feel it and benefit from it, if you keep yourself healthy and fulfilled. Your students will be privilege to be in your and your baby's presence. They are in the presence of the magic of creation—how amazing is that?

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Reader Comments

Dana C

I am pregnant (almost 38 weeks!) and have been teaching Vinyasa since the very beginning of this journey. Wouldn't have had it any other way. It is beyond fulfilling physically and energetically to teach with a baby on the way. I feel GREAT, and will keep teaching for the next few weeks until our daughter arrives. It does require a little extra mindfulness and a definite verbal teaching style to make sure you are not endangering yourself or your baby in any way. I told myself I would just play it by ear, see how I feel, and just decide as I go along - didn't think I'd teach for this long, but SO glad I have!

Lisa

I am in my first trimester and let me tell you, it is seriously kicking my ass. I am practicing a lot less, and much more gently than before, and in teaching, I am verbalizing more than demonstrating. I cannot wait for the extreme fatigue of the 1st trimester to be over! I used to feel so in control of my body, I now feel nauseous, dizzy, headache-y, and exhausted constantly. I know not all women are the same, but for some of us, teaching yoga while pregnant (at least in the 1st trimester) can be very challenging, even if you follow all the tips and information to make is safe in the world. Sometimes you just want to curl up on the couch and sleep all day. Can't wait for this to be over.

Diana

I am currently 6 months pregnant and today was my final class (until after the baby arrives). Although I've been able to teach this whole time, my personal practice has evolved a lot--especially from the first trimester (VERY easy, no heat) to the second. Using clear verbal cues is essential. Additionally, if you have regular students in your class that have a solid practice, approach them individually and ask their permission to act as 'guides' in poses that you should avoid (or are very challenging, like certain arm balances). The joy your students receive while being witness to the creation of life is amazing, fulfilling and inspired me to teach as long as I have!

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