Yoga postures to avoid during pregnancy

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

As your body changes, inevitably so does your practice. So what needs adapting? here are some pointers for what to let go of.

1. Laying on your belly - Okay so this is the obvious one. You're not going to want to lay on your belly when pregnant. I remember the first time I realised I couldn't lay on my belly anymore. It felt strange, to have to stop something that was just a natural part of life and I remember looking forward to laying on my front again after I'd given birth. It's amazing how your body changes a little bit every day, then all of a sudden you just can't do something anymore that you always could. Learning to let go is the journey.

2. Deep twists - As your body is adapting to growing a baby you will want to be creating as much space in your abdomen and uterus as possible. Even early on in pregnancy the deep twists that you're used to might feel uncomfortable and if they don't, it is still recommended to avoid them! Anything that puts pressure on the abdomen should be adapted. So closed and deep twists are off limits.

3. Big Inversions - If you're an advanced yoga practitioner it can feel difficult to let these asanas go. 'Will I ever get them back? It took me so long to get that headstand!'.

That feeling of sacrifice is what pregnancy teaches us. To let go and surrender to the process of motherhood. With your centre of gravity shifting, you may find that your balance doesn't feel quite right when you're stood up, let alone when you're inverted. Ask yourself 'what's my 'why' for wanting to keep these inversions in my practice whilst pregnant?' Do they honestly FEEL good for your baby? or are you just resisting that feeling of letting go?

4. Breath retention - Certain types of pranayama can be extremely beneficial for pregnancy. However anything that limits the intake of breath should be avoided. This is another reason to slow your practice down and allow time for those big deep breaths that nourish you and your baby.

5. Deep backbending - These are another group of asanas that it's easy to get attached to - That liberated feeling of opening the heart, creating space in the front body and detoxing the spine! Bliss!

With your growing bump however, any deep back bends can put pressure on the abdominal wall which can lead to and/or worsen abdominal separation. I will write a whole other post about diastasis recti, but for now just know that you are going to want to do all you can to limit what separation you have.

Yet another way of learning to let go!

'Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.'

I know it feels like there is a lot to sacrifice. Your body is being used by this whole other person and now you can't even keep hold of your yoga practice? I get it.

But remember that this only a short time in your life. You'll get your body back to yourself eventually and may even miss having to share it with your little person. Those big inversions and deep drop backs will return to you too when you're body is ready for them. So for now, give yourself permission to rest, to store energy for the journey to motherhood and to make peace with having a break from the dynamic flow you're used to.

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