So you’re about to bring a mini human into this world, but also can’t stop thinking about taking a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)? You are not alone. If you’re wondering, “can I take a YTT while pregnant?”, rest assured there is something for you out there, no matter how far along you are. If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of soooo many options (and taking baby along for the ride!), my advice is to do some research and choose the right thing for you and your little one.
🎁 Freebie alert 🎁
As a starter pack for moms-to-be, I put together this pregnancy resource center full of free prenatal book recommendations, videos, podcasts, and practice tips, based on my experience with natural childbirth (if you’re trying to conceive, there’s something for you here too!). I created this collection for friends in my yoga community, and I’m super excited to share all of these resources with you too. It includes a sneak peak at what you learn in Pregnant & Powerful, but is also a stand-alone starting point for your journey to manifesting your most empowering pregnancy.
So let’s have a look at a few things you might want to consider when asking yourself Can I take a YTT while pregnant?
Practicing Yoga While Pregnant
Yes, you can – and should – take prenatal classes while pregnant! Practice is at the heart of teaching yoga, pregnant or not. Yet, tuning into your body is crucial. As with anything during pregnancy, you wouldn’t just pick up a new exercise.
If you have never run before and decide to run during pregnancy, your body probably won’t agree with that. Remember the same goes for asanas, the physical poses in Yoga. If you have more questions about exercising while pregnant, here’s a great guide from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to answer your questions.
Yes, there are some women that still do handstands up until the final weeks of their third trimester, but that doesn’t mean every pregnant woman is safe doing so! We are all unique and differ in our Yoga practice. Some of us might be completely new to Yoga asana, whereas others have been practicing for years.
It is also important to pay attention to how our bodies are ever changing. If you had your first baby and are now pregnant with your second baby, you might find that your body responds differently to the same movements and poses. Through a regular prenatal yoga practice you can notice these changes and let your body adapt to finding its balance point (which by the way will change every single day while your bump is growing). I previously wrote about some powerful prenatal yoga poses which you may want to try.
External factors can also impact your practice. For example, you simply can’t control seasonal changes! A hot, sticky room most likely is not the right environment for a pregnant woman to practice Yoga in. Focus on your needs, and try out some prenatal yoga classes to meet other expectant mothers and get inspiration (no pressure though – I totally believe that traditional prenatal yoga is not for every pregnant mom). This is a great opportunity to become part of a wonderful community to support, and learn from, each other.
One last thing to note here is that our Yoga practice can change every day, not just for pregnant women. If you have a lot going on in your job or are dealing with a tricky relationship, adding pranayama or meditation to your practice might be of greater benefit than just asana.
As a start, try out my guided meditation for pregnancy. Give yourself permission to adapt your practice and embrace the journey of motherhood.
What Yoga Poses Are Unsafe During Pregnancy?
In case you are wondering if prenatal yoga can cause miscarriages, read on. There are many benefits of keeping a regular practice during pregnancy e.g. building pelvic strength and preparing your body for giving birth. There are some things you may want to avoid as a pregnant woman, but the most important thing I always recommend is to focus on personalizing your yoga practice.
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of what could go wrong? I did too! Listen to this 20 minute podcast breaking down the basics of prenatal modifications I recommend to all pregnant mamas in my YTT here ⬇️
Generally speaking, you want to avoid any poses that put pressure on your belly. The same goes for deep twists and for most ladies, inversions (just think of the consequences when losing balance). As a pregnant woman you also want to stay away from hot Yoga classes and intense breathing techniques.
To make sure your baby is safe when practicing yoga, here are a few poses to avoid:
- Bow Pose. When you lie on your belly and press up from it won’t be comfortable for your growing baby – especially, from second trimester onward. You could explore prenatal modifications of this, e.g. camel pose.
- Revolved Side Angle Pose (and deep twists in general). You might be fine during your first trimester, but beyond that, twisting along your midline doesn’t allow enough space for your baby to be safe. Try a supported side angle variation instead.
- Forward Folds. The more your bump grows, the more you will notice that folding forward becomes a tight situation and you might restrict blood flow to the uterus by doing so. Try a wide legged forward fold instead and make sure to use your hands or blocks as assistance where needed.
- Wheel pose. This can differ for everyone, but for most pregnant students pushing up a big bump can feel very uncomfortable on the lower back. A supported bridge pose is a lot more gentle and can even relieve lower back pain.
- Chaturanga to Upward Facing Dog. Towards the end of your second trimester and, definitely, in your third your bump simply gets in the way. Plus stretching the belly in Upward Facing Dog can become very uncomfortable. To avoid any discomfort for you and your child you could either use blocks to get some extra height in chaturanga or move through cat and cow instead.
You might have also heard that pregnant women shouldn’t lie on their back. This is different for every woman. It usually is recommended to stop supine postures after the first trimester. However, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor and stay aware of what feels right for you and your child.
For more tips on pregnancy and preparing for labor read my previous article 6 Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body For an Easy Labor & Delivery.
Communication Tips for Pregnant Yoga Students in Yoga Teacher Training
So you know what to look out for in your practice and have decided to sign up for your YTT. Congrats!
Please remember to honor your needs when communicating with your teachers. While a Yoga teacher training is a great opportunity to learn and explore, your pregnancy might be your biggest teacher throughout it all. It’s ok if other Yoga students in your class move more and faster. Your training is not a competition and your yoga teachers can only give you the right advice if you share what’s going on for you.
Listen To Your Own Body
During your training keep checking in with how your body is feeling. The more your baby bump grows, the more your body has to carry and support. Notice your breath as you move into poses. If it becomes short, shallow, or restricted in any way you probably want to make changes.
It’s quite common for pregnant women to feel achy in their hips, pelvic floor (also known as pelvic girdle pain), and lower back. Keep talking to your teachers and other yoga students in your course about this, and be aware that most prenatal classes are geared toward beginners and may focus excessively on opening and stretching your hips – and this may not be the right thing for you! Take a listen to my podcast about why it wasn’t for me, and what I did instead:
Depending on your Yoga school, you might be able to add on a prenatal yoga and/or postnatal yoga course. These courses teach more in detail how pregnancy changes the body’s anatomy and cater specifically for a community of pregnant women.
Reach Out To Your Support Network
Reaching out to friends and family for help can make a huge difference in your pregnant life. When signing up to a Yoga Teacher Training you will have to set time aside for studying. Besides learning about asana and breath, any yoga school usually teaches about philosophy and other areas of yoga, too. There is a lot to cover!
If you already have a child, you want to make sure you have someone to look after your little one, so you can focus on your training. Let your partner, doctor, and any other close contacts know about your plans and talk about how they might be able to help, so that you can attend each training class with a free mind.
Also consider how many weeks or months pregnant you are. If your due date is approaching fast, check in if your teacher training has a flexible learning schedule. A lot of courses offer an online teaching platform allowing you to plan out each week to suit your schedule.
You could also search for prenatal yoga classes and get advice from other pregnant women.
YES, You Should Tell Your Yoga Teacher Trainer That You’re Pregnant
Please don’t wait for your teacher to ask if you are pregnant and just hope for the best. Share your yoga background, if you are already teaching or have the intention to and if you have any concerns even before your training starts.
This will allow your teacher to provide answers to questions relevant to you and make sure no one is missing out once the course begins. It might even broaden the learning experience for all of the other students in your class.
It’s especially important when it comes to practicing asana that you take a rest when you need to rather than sticking to the training schedule. Honest communication is imperative so you and your teacher find an agreement on how to make up for anything you might have missed.
7 Signs You’re Ready to Take a YTT (While Pregnant)
1. You want to learn more about your body and self-healing
2. You’re falling in love with traditional prenatal yoga
3. You’re totally bored with traditional prenatal yoga
3. You need a change in your life
3. You are looking for the next step in your Yoga practice
4. You seek a like minded community
5. You want to connect to yourself and your baby
6. You are already teaching or want to begin
7. You want to go beyond the asana practice
That just about wraps it up, yoga mamma! Check in with your body each day through your practice to guide ANY decisions you’re making, whether that’s signing up for YTT or eating that whole bag of chocolate pretzel chips 😋
Here’s one of my FAV classes – and don’t forget to get all of my books, tips, and guides to self-discovery in my pregnancy resource center. Download my 200hr YTT brochure if you’re interested in learning more about taking this journey with me. I truly LOVE having pregnant yogis in our training!!
Setting time aside to complete a YTT when you have an infant is waaay harder than doing it while pregnant – IMO – so while you may need to make adjustments, it’s better not to delay and sign up for YTT before your little one comes into the world. What a gift 💝 for both of you!!