I recently completed my master level prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher training and feel so much more knowledgeable. Any fear I had about becoming pregnant and giving birth one day is gone now that I understand the changing anatomy of the body and its amazing way of bringing life into the world. The best part of the training is knowing I can now share a ton of empowering information with yoga moms-to-be.
Many doctors recommend yoga to their pregnant patients, not understanding the importance of specifying prenatal yoga. I have witnessed many pregnant women trying their first yoga class and coming to a vinyasa or hot yoga class, which isn’t appropriate for pregnancy. Most yoga teachers have limited knowledge about working with pregnancy and cannot give a pregnant woman the attention she needs to modify all the poses in a group class setting.
A dedicated prenatal yoga class is what she needs. This class will help her develop and maintain the strength, flexibility and internal awareness needed for labor and the birth of baby. It will be a gentle class that uses props and offers modifications for the changes pregnancy brings in mom’s body and life. The class will keep her body flexible and mind at ease through breath and movement. It offers an effective way to alleviate the common discomforts of pregnancy, including back pain, swelling and fatigue, strengthens the pelvic floor for an easier delivery and influences a faster post-baby recovery. Even more importantly, it offers moms to be an opportunity to be part of a supportive community, sharing tips about diet, natural remedies and more.
If moms-to-be had trouble getting pregnant or past miscarriages, they should wait until 16 weeks to start a prenatal practice. If they’ve never had complications, they can start at any time.
How you pick your prenatal yoga teacher is very important, too. Make sure to double-check their credentials. A prenatal teacher should have a certificate for an 85-hour dedicated prenatal training approved by the Yoga Alliance. This will ensure that the teacher knows how to work with pregnancy safely. You can double-check the teacher’s credentials on the Yoga Alliance web site (http://www.yogaalliance.org).
Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to prepare body and mind for baby. I hope more yoga teachers become trained in it so we can create more communities of pregnant yogis to support and uplift mamas during this special time in their lives.