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Prenatal Yoga: 7 Tips On Modifying Your Practice

In the latest episode of the Coffee Witching Hour, I gave a quick, thorough overview of prenatal yoga modifications for all trimesters. This is a great one for all-levels yoga teachers who have pregnant people popping into class and for newly pregnant people alike to learn to make your practice safe and enjoyable throughout pregnancy. Check out the transcript summary below, and listen/watch on YouTube or Spotify.

Basic Prenatal Yoga Modifications:

  1. Avoid Lying on the Belly: During the first trimester, lying on the belly is usually fine, but listen to your body. As your belly grows, it might become uncomfortable, so use your discretion. From the second trimester onward, it's advisable to avoid lying directly on the belly.

  2. Wide, Open Twisting: Contrary to popular prenatal yoga myths, you can twist during pregnancy. Opt for wide or open twists, moving away from the knee, rather than deep or close twists. Your body will signal when it's uncomfortable. Don't overdo it, and prioritize comfort.

  3. Considerations for Lying on the Back: While lying on the back is okay early in pregnancy, it's crucial to be cautious as your belly expands. As the pregnancy progresses, lying on the back can exert pressure on veins and arteries, affecting blood flow. Pay attention to any discomfort and adjust accordingly.

  4. Mindful Forward Folds: Forward folds are beneficial throughout pregnancy, but be mindful of depth. Avoid deep folds that compress the belly. Invite more space into your folds and consider bending your knees. Practicing forward folds can help with day-to-day activities like putting on shoes and socks.

  5. Modify Inversions: Inversions, poses where your head is below your heart, can be continued with caution. If you had a stable inversion practice before pregnancy, you might continue it, but be aware of changes in blood pressure and comfort levels. Legs up the wall is a beginner-friendly alternative until lying on the back becomes uncomfortable.

  6. Gentle Breathwork: Breathwork is important during pregnancy in preparing for labor and birth. Avoid forceful breath techniques that compress the belly. Opt instead for diaphragmatic breathing, breath awareness, or other gentle techniques like alternate nostril breathing.

  7. Core Work in Moderation: Contrary to the notion of avoiding all core work, moderate engagement is beneficial. However, be cautious with traditional core exercises like planks and crunches, as they may accentuate diastasis recti. Start with diaphragmatic breathing and progress to safe core exercises with the guidance of a certified prenatal yoga teacher.

Exploring Safe and Enjoyable Prenatal Yoga: Where To Go Next

Remember, these modifications are presented from a beginner-friendly standpoint, but your body is your ultimate guide. Always listen to your body, and if in doubt, consult your medical provider. Prenatal yoga is generally beneficial to most bodies, and with these modifications, you can make it a safe and enjoyable experience.

If you liked this episode of the Coffee Witching Hour and you're local, please join me for an upcoming Pregnancy & Yoga workshop at Carondelet Yoga on Saturday, February 10 form 1-5 p.m.! Here, we'll take a deeper dive into modifying yoga for pregnancy, birth, and beyond. This is a great opportunity for yoga teachers, birthworkers, and pregnant people alike! If you're interested, please register here.

For those of you outside of the St. Louis area, please like and subscribe if you watched it on YouTube. If you listened on Spotify, please like the podcast and give it a 5-star rating. You can also support all of my creative work through my new Patreon page. Thank you all for following me on this journey, and let me know what you'd like to hear next!

Friendly disclaimer: This transcript summary was co-authored by AI. To hear my real human voice and emotion, please give the podcast a listen!

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