Q. I recently found out I’m pregnant! Can I still practice yoga?

A. Congratulations!!! Yes, as long as you are having a normal healthy pregnancy yoga can be a wonderful way to connect to your body as it goes through radical changes; prepare you for labor and delivery; and support the health and well-being of your growing baby. It is always a great idea to check in with your physician to make sure it is safe for you to practice. Everyone’s pregnancy is different.

Yoga Journal has a great resource for moms-to-be and parents:
http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/family_and_parenting

If you plan to attend classes other than prenatal classes, I always advise pregnant students to educate themselves as much as possible. Many instructors, me included, do not specialize in prenatal yoga. Listen to your body and modify the practice according to your own needs. Please inform your instructor that you’re pregnant so they understand why you are modifying your practice and they may be able to offer you some additional modifications along the way as well.

Some basic ground rules are:

  • Listen to your body! This is no time to push through pain or discomfort. Your body is changing dramatically so be mindful and let go of what you think you know about your abilities. Especially after the first trimester, your growing belly will let you know what you should or shouldn’t do
  • Stay cool. Do not allow yourself to get over-heated. Position yourself in the room so you are near a fan or window so you get some air flow.
  • After the 1st trimester, modify poses that require you to lie on your belly.
  • After 24 weeks, avoid lying on your back or right side lying poses.
  • Avoid deep back bends, extreme abdominal work and deep twists.
  • Check out a prenatal class to help educate yourself and take some time to nurture yourself during this special time.