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Prenatal Yoga Modifications: A Trimester by Trimester Guide

Experiencing pregnancy as a prenatal yoga teacher was transformational for me. Throughout both pregnancies, yoga was my anchor, guiding me through each trimester. In the latest episode of the Coffee Witching Hour podcast, I shared the insights and lessons I've learned, offering support and inspiration to fellow yoga teachers and expectant parents. Check out the transcript summary below, and listen/watch on YouTube or Spotify.



First Trimester: Embracing Change

During the first trimester of both pregnancies, I experienced a mix of emotions and physical changes. Despite feeling tired and dealing with nausea, I relied on my yoga practice for stability. Adapting my routine to suit my changing body became crucial, and I prioritized self-care above all else. Teaching yoga classes presented its own challenges during my first pregnancy, but I remained committed to nurturing myself while preparing to welcome new life. This trimester was a time of both excitement and adjustment, setting the stage for the journey ahead.


What were the big changes to my yoga practice? During both pregnancies, it involved avoiding deep twists, deep backbends, and strenuous abdominal work, as well as modifying poses to avoid lying on my belly or back for extended periods.


Second Trimester: Energy and Empowerment

In both pregnancies, my second trimester came with a big boost of energy, which enabled me to engage more fully in my yoga practice. In addition to enjoying the baby flutters, I celebrated the strength of my changing body. Attending a yoga workshop in New York City was the most memorable experience of my first pregnancy, which reinforced the importance of movement and community.


What were the big changes to my yoga practice? Although I felt energized in my yoga practice, I remained mindful of the need to make further modifications as my belly grew. This included avoiding certain breathwork and core exercises, taking a wider stance, and switching to side-lying Savasana.


Third Trimester: Slow Down and Surrender

In the third trimester of both pregnancies, I faced the challenges of carrying more weight and feeling more discomfort. Slowing down became crucial, prioritizing stability and gentle movement to support my body. Teaching online classes posed new obstacles in my first pregnancy, but I stayed dedicated to guiding my students while respecting my own limits. Looking back, I learned the value of surrendering to the journey and being fully present in each moment.


What were the big changes to my yoga practice? Everything became slower and gentler in the third trimester, and stability became more important than touching my toes in forward folds. I also spent a lot more time enjoying restorative poses, yoga nidra, and hypnobirthing meditations.


Fourth Trimester//Postpartum: The Journey of Healing and Patience

Postpartum was especially challenging after both pregnancies because movement has always been a centerpiece of my mental health. While I tried hard to remind myself of the significance of respecting my body's boundaries, I found it really difficult to refrain from high-impact exercises like running. Being active and on my feet too much ultimately prolonged my healing both times. Balancing motherhood and self-care was tough, and I found it even harder when I had two under three.


What were the big changes to my yoga practice? While eager to resume activity, I discovered the importance of rest and gentleness, understanding the need for patience and self-compassion during recovery. I had to navigate a delicate balance between rest and gentle movement, I tried hard to prioritize activities that supported my body's healing, including gentle heart-openers and diaphragmatic breathing.


Lessons Learned: Pregnancy, Yoga, and Motherhood

In sharing my experiences of pregnancy through the lens of yoga, I hope to inspire and empower others on their own journeys of pregnancy, birth, and beyond. Each pregnancy and each trimester presented its own set of challenges and joys, but through yoga, I discovered a profound sense of connection to myself and to the tiny human growing inside. By listening to my body, honoring my needs, and surrendering to the process, I found strength in vulnerability and beauty in imperfection. As I continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of motherhood, I carry with me the lessons learned while pregnant on the mat–patience, compassion, and the unwavering belief in the transformative power of mindfulness.


Exploring Trimester-By-Trimester Prenatal Yoga Modifications: Where To Learn More

If you liked this episode summary and you're local, please join me this weekend for a Pregnancy & Yoga workshop at Carondelet Yoga! On Saturday, February 10 from 1-5 p.m., 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 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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