Congratulations! You’re pregnant!
Your heart is probably overflowing with the joy of motherhood!
….Aaaaaand your mind is probably filled with at least a few oh crap types of thoughts as you embark on the most epic 40-week rollercoaster ride of your life!
Especially if it’s your first pregnancy, you might be wondering: Can I teach while pregnant? What about my energy level? And the hormonal changes? What even happens to my abdominal muscles anyways? Can I practice with a big pregnant belly? And do I want to?
As a former pregnant yoga teacher myself, I totally get this! And that’s why I love to support expecting yoga teachers with helpful resources as I know there’s a lot to consider…like whether or not to keep teaching yoga while carrying your baby.
First, let’s take a pause of gratitude to acknowledge that we generally get to make this choice for ourselves! (Did you know that until 1974 school teachers were forced to take extended maternity leave?)
The decision about whether to keep teaching yoga, and in what way, is a personal career choice that certainly deserves your time and attention.
That’s why I’m here to walk you through some key questions to ask yourself and alternatives to consider as you choose the best path for you.
5 Questions Pregnant Yoga Teachers Should Ask Themselves Before Running Business As Usual
Many women who’ve worked diligently to make teaching yoga into a business assume that teaching as usual is their only option. Since yoga is all about self-reflection and making conscious choices, first ask yourself these questions so that if you decide to continue your normal teaching while pregnant it’s not out of fear or scarcity, but because it’s the best choice for you, your family, and your career.
1. Do you know how to modify your own practice for pregnancy?
Practicing yoga while pregnant includes considerations beyond just avoiding deep twists, supporting and opening the upper body, and being mindful of what feels comfortable in your own body. Do your research on how to do postures safely during each trimester of your pregnancy as well as after the baby arrives to support both your personal practice and your teaching.This includes knowing what poses you can demo in yoga class and when to use one of your yoga students as an example instead.
Aaand… if you’re an experienced yogi? A prenatal yoga class might not be the best thing for you (it definitely wasn’t for me). Here’s my 20 minute podcast explaining why I got so frustrated with prenatal yoga, and what you can do instead 🙂 Follow along with one of my all time favorite prenatal practices that is great for all three trimesters:
2. Are you familiar with the effects of pregnancy hormone relaxin?
Relaxin is a hormone that well…relaxes! It relaxes the ligaments in your body to make room for growing and birthing a human being (…it still blows my mind!) In the first trimester, relaxin levels are the highest and it relaxes ALL the joints and ligaments in the body making you extra bendy during your yoga practice! This means that even if it feels good and is accessible doesn’t mean it necessarily is good to take every pose to the max.
Relaxin levels drop a bit in the second trimester and then in the third trimester it relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and widens the cervix to prepare for childbirth. Do some research on relaxin so you feel confident in the postures you choose.
3. Does teaching while pregnant feel like a right, a responsibility, or a burden to you?
Did you notice a pretty immediate internal response as you read that? Perfect! Because this question is important as you decide how to navigate your career during this portion of your life. If it feels like a burden, you can always work on your mindset, but definitely dig deeper into where that is coming from as it’s an essential time to listen to your gut (and the baby inside it LOL).
4. Are you interested in teaching prenatal yoga?
Since many of us don’t get a lot of prenatal training in our yoga teacher training programs and haven’t taught many pregnant women in our classes. Pregnancy is the best teacher in this area, but I’ve also put together an incredible, FREE pregnancy resource center on this very topic for you to get a taste of what my course Pregnant and Powerful is all about. But it’s not just for teachers – it’s for yogi mammas, and anyone interested in using the tools of yoga to give natural birth and become their most radiant during this special time.
Learning about the pregnant yoga experience first-hand from your own body and your doctors will make you more confident in leading pregnancy yoga and postnatal yoga classes. And if teaching prenatal yoga isn’t your bag, there’s no shame in that, just use that to inform your decision.
5. Do you have a backup plan?
Do you have another income source outside of teaching yoga? Or in addition to studio teaching? If the answer is yes, this key information will help you with this career choice. And if the answer is no, we’ll explore some alternatives to studio teaching next to help you create a backup plan so that whether you keep teaching or not you feel empowered with options.
Pregnancy and Your Yoga Career
If you’re feeling like continuing to teach in studios is the best path for you, fantastic! If you’re still unsure, that’s totally normal too! This is both a wellbeing and a career decision and so considering all the angles and alternatives is well worthwhile.
Consider Alternatives to Studio Teaching
From developing passive income to teaching yoga online from home, there are many alternatives to studio teaching that are perfect for mammas-to-be. And since every yoga teacher benefits from having multiple revenue streams, this could be the perfect moment to “birth” a new offering too (I couldn’t resist!) Here are a few ideas to get you started and head here for a whole bunch more.
- Focus on privates. Pregnancy is a great opportunity to boost your private yoga business. Teaching one-on-one or for small groups can help you manage your energy levels and is typically more lucrative than your average studio class.
- Offer online retreats & workshops. Now is a ripe time to develop more online offerings such as mini-retreats, intensives, and workshops as many yoga students are eager to expand their practice beyond the typical studio class.
- Create a course. Online courses are a yoga teaching game-changer as passive income bolsters your financial security and expands your offerings to better serve your students.
- Become an organizer. If you’re not feeling like being in front of the class but curious about working behind the scenes, offer to help your fellow teachers organize their retreats or yoga teacher trainings and grow your know-how in the meantime.
- Work at your studio. Just because you want to take a break from teaching studio classes doesn’t mean you don’t love your studio community! This could be an auspicious time to discover other ways to contribute at your studio so you can stay connected, earn an income, and learn some of the business side of running a studio.
Pair Your Backup Plan with a Business Plan
Did those ideas get you dreaming? Great! Keep the momentum going and set your mind at ease by getting things down on paper with a yoga business plan. With a little one on the way, even a simple business plan will help you feel more secure in your path and empowered in your choices. I’ve got you covered with everything you need to begin your yoga business plan including a template—WIN! Set aside a few minutes, grab yourself a mocktail, and start crafting your long and sustainable yoga teaching career with this potent tool.
So…Can I Teach While Pregnant?
You definitely can. Take a look around my site for more on how I did, and know that there are a TON of ways to make a living – and even thrive – while you teach, pregnant or not ❤️
Don’t forget to check out all of the recommendations and learnings that helped me through my own experience teaching yoga while pregnant in mypregnancy resource center.
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