If you ask 100 different people about yoga during pregnancy, you’ll get 100 different answers. Some will tell you that gentle stretching is about as far as you can push it, while others tell you not to stop doing anything differently at all. Some say “don’t get your heart rate up” while others tell you to “keep your heart in peak condition to get ready for labor.” Some will encourage you to (carefully) maintain your inversion practice, while others scream at you to stop “confusing the baby.” The only thing that everyone CAN agree on is two things. 1.Talk to your doctor. and 2. Listen to your body.
Even before pregnancy, I was very in tune with my body. I know how I feel at 100%, how I feel at 5%, and everything in between. I know when I'm going to get a headache the day before I get it. Before I even finish my workout, I know exactly sore my muscles will be the next day. The bottom line is, I know when all is right, and I know when its not.
I started weight lifting when I was 20, and yoga when I was 24. I was extremely advanced in both of my disciplines. After doing as much research as I could, and speaking extremely honestly with my doctor, I decided to carry on both of my practices and adjust as needed. With weight lifting, I almost immediately felt off. I was always dizzy, nauseous, and short of breath when I shouldn’t be. My muscles took much longer to heal and I felt drained of energy, on workout days AND rest days. It wasn’t long before I decided that it wasn’t right for me (during pregnancy at least) and that I didn’t want to push myself to any discomfort.
With yoga it was the complete opposite. I felt energized, empowered, and strong. Very rarely did anything feel “off” to me, or that I was pushing myself too far. In fact, when I took a few days off here or there my body CRAVED it. I wanted the movement, I wanted to stretch, I wanted the open-ness (is that a word?) I wanted the normalcy of my practice.
I first feel the need to tell you that I had an extremely easy pregnancy which I understand is not the case for everyone. I am not in any way trying to make any woman feel bad about themselves or make them feel lazy about their own expirience. I can only speak about my own pregnancy journey.
I can’t lie and tell you that there weren’t days that I was too tired, or didn’t feel like moving. Any woman who’s been pregnant would know I was completely full of you know what. I can tell you however that on some of those days that I didn’t want to get up and move, and did anyway, I felt much better afterwards. The most strain I ever really felt was through backbends in my first trimester ONLY. I immediately restrained from doing any bending at all (because yes I’m still a cautious and intelligent person) only to start craving it again once I was halfway through my second trimester. I started extremely slow and felt no strain whatsoever. To me this was a perfect example of listening to my body. It told me when to stop, and told me when to start again.
I vowed to let go of my ego and accept however my poses were at that time. I wasn’t going to be picky about my shoulders not being stacked right, my bend not being deep enough, or that the new back and boob rolls that were quickly accumulating were showing. I mean, I was growing a human. And if you take a closer look in some of these, my form is actually better when I’m pregnant.
More then once I had to remove commenting from my instagram posts. People telling me I was a horrible irresponsible person, unfit to carry a child. That I was going to kill my baby and that (get ready for this one) I deserved that.
But for every one person that accused me of negligence, I had ten women tell me I inspired them to start doing a regular yoga practice during their pregnancies. To me, thats a win.
I know the some of my poses are unconventional, (honestly) a little unrealistic, and YES, quite possibly dangerous to someone who is just beginning. To me, these are not difficult at all. I could hop into them half asleep in my middle of the night. Im not saying that to brag or show off, Im saying that to say I have SO MUCH control. These are not poses I fall out of.
I practiced (with obvious modifications) up until the week I gave birth to my sweet daughter. My labor was quick, and my pain was mild. Once I started pushing they told me it would be a few hours, but Ellie was born quick. They said it was uncommon for first time moms to give birth that quick and asked me what my secret was. I said it must have been the yoga. =)