Ashtanga Yoga During Pregnancy
Hi David and Shelley!
I hope all is well with you two. I took your weekend workshop and my son played a lot with Shelley the first night that he stayed at the studio during the class. He told me to send a special hello and a "jump into janushirsasana (pardon the spelling)" for you and Shelley.
I was wondering if you had any information about pregnancy and Ashtanga, good and bad. I am 11 weeks pregnant and personally have not wanted to do my practice. All the bending at the waist and jumping hasn't felt well, coupled with the fact I am suffering from all-day nausea!!! I have a feeling you will tell me that it is a personal thing, but is it possible for some people to do the whole series while pregnant? It just seems physically impossible to jump into a vinyasa once the belly is growing.
Thank you for your message. It was great to hear from you. Congratulations on your pregnancy!
The most important thing to remember is that the health of yourself and your baby is the main priority! Listen to your body and don't overdo it. Speak with your midwife or doctor and get their advice as to what may or may not be appropriate in you particular pregnancy. If you find the need to leave the practice during your pregnancy don't worry. Ashtanga Yoga will still be around after you have had your child. You may always return to it after your birth. That is definitely not a problem. If you choose to practice during your pregnancy you must move more slowly and listen to your intuition. I have known practitioners of Ashtanga that have carried on with their practice for the full term of their pregnancy. They adjusted the postures to fit the needs of their growing belly and made other suitable modifications for the various physical and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. These women had been practicing Ashtanga Yoga regularly for more than a decade before becoming pregnant. The practice was already very much a part of their physical and emotional self on a cellular level. It is not wise to begin any new vigorous activity if newly pregnant. The first trimester of pregnancy is particularly more delicate. If however the activity is well established by making the appropriate adjustments one may continue a modified version for the duration of the pregnancy. Modifications for the practice of yoga during pregnancy may vary from individual to individual but here are a few. A wider leg position for all forward bending asanas will become a necessity as the belly grows. One should not lie upon the belly so the Sun Salutations and Vinyasas may need to be modified. For the Vinyasas I recommend either leaving them out or modifying them by walking back or forward instead of jumping. Avoid moving deeply into postures. You may have to leave out twists and inversions all together. There are differences of opinions concerning these asanas in particular. You may consult your health care practitioner and a Prenatal Yoga Teacher for more detailed advice in this regard. Whether you choose to practice the asanas or not use this time to get into touch with your internal practice, the breath and bandhas. Don't let it disturb your mind if you feel the need to avoid practicing asanas. Having a child is Big Yoga and you should take the best of care of yourself and your baby/babies and enjoy the magic of bringing a new life into this world.
With best wishes for a Healthy and Happy pregnancy and birthing experience,
PS: If you are trying to think of a name for your new baby boy or girl you might consider a couple of my favorites: David and Shelley