Yoga and Exercise — The Bump
October 2016 Moms

Yoga and Exercise

Any other Yogis wondering about altering their poses? I’ve been scouring Google all morning with all the questions, especially yoga related ones since I have class tomorrow morning, the first since my BFP (I hope I don’t get flagged by my company’s IT department!) Anyways, I found two different reference pages that seem like they will be helpful for me so I thought I would share!


Anyone else have yoga and exercise amendment tips to share?

DH: 31 | Me: 31
Married: December 2012
Baby girl born October 2016

Re: Yoga and Exercise

  • PeggyOlsonFTWPeggyOlsonFTW member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2016
    In the first trimester, I think you're fine to continue with any exercise you were doing prior to being pregnant. So your poses shouldn't be a problem just yet. Later on, your OB will probably tell you to lay off or modify any poses where you might lose your balance and fall, or any that involve twisting your abdomen. ETA: and any where you're lying flat on your back.

    I'm going to try to keep up my TRX, Tabata and Cardio Kickboxing classes. I'm not sure about my boot camp classes. They're kind of intense and the instructor is a hard ass, and I don't feel ready to tell her I'm pregnant. I might take up pilates instead. When it gets warmer, I'm going to ask my OB if I can start running outside in run/walk intervals.

    LFAF April Siggy: TV/Movie BFFs

    BFP #1 12/2012, DS born 8/2013
    BFP #2 7/2015, MMC and D&C 9/2015
    BFP #3 11/2015, CP
    BFP #4 1/2016, DD born 10/2016

  • I do yoga! Those links were helpful. I probably will not go all out on my twists like I usually do. I follow Yoga with Adrienne and her motto is always "Find What Feels Good." So I'll just go with the flow.

    Also, I am running a half marathon in April and don't plan on cancelling. Running is not new for my body so unless something happens, I'm sticking with it!

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  • If your studio offers prenatal yoga, you could maybe ask them how they instruct differently in those classes vs the one you normally take? I'm actually going to go to my first prenatal yoga class on Sunday so I'll give you an update as to what we do. I normally would do bikram, but stopped when TTC because of the heat not being good for my core temp. 
  • von1976von1976 member
    Sixth Anniversary 250 Answers 1000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited January 2016
    I just do yoga at home. I don't really consider myself a yogi. I just do it in my running clothes in the middle of my living room. I have a lot of back issues, so it helps to stay loose and mobile. 

    I'll probably buy a prenatal yoga book for some poses or follow along with something from YouTube. I'll learn a flow I like and just modify it as I see fit. I think most poses can easily be modified for pregnancy. Rule of thumb: if it doesn't feel good, don't do it!


    Baby GIRL born 9/16/201
    BFP! EDD 8/1/2019 CP 4w2d

  • I use to go to yoga all the time then it just got too expensive but I think that will be start back up after I am 13 weeks to relax myself
  • Thanks @smmatt08 !  I'm trying to go at least once a week.   I talked to one of the instructors today and she mentioned using alternate poses for when the class focuses on abdominal flexing, twisting, or inversions.  Her advice was just to remind each instructor that I'm pregnant before a class.  Seems like most instructors are pretty used to working with pregnant women.  Even if I sit a couple poses out, I'm sure the breathing and relaxation is good for the little one! :)
  • Hi all, great thread! I've been doing yoga for many years now. I am 5 1/2 weeks pregnant, and I just emailed my yoga teacher asking her about when I should switch to a prenatal class, or if there are any modifications I should be aware of in a regular class. Here is her response, thought you might find it helpful, too:

    You can start taking prenatal classes whenever you feel like it.  They are much gentler, and more grounding than regular yoga classes.  They are also more communal, and it’s fun to be with other preggos.  They are often very appropriate in the beginning, when you’re feeling too ill or fatigued to come to a flow class.

    However, you will probably miss your regular practice too.  It’s fine to keep coming to regular yoga.  Just remember, your body is changing, and it’s ok to follow its impulse, rather than to force yourself to do yoga because you don’t want to let go of your practice.  

    As for modifications early on the main thing is that you are instantly more vulnerable to injuries.  The hormone relaxin is rising by the week and it causes all of your tissues to be more pliable, which means all your joints are less stable.  The main things to avoid are any core strengthening focusing on rectus abdominus (diastasis can happen even in early pregnancy).  This includes Plank and Catturanga.  Deep twists are detoxifying, so you might not want to do them in the first trimester.  That said, if you’ve been doing them regularly, then you probably aren’t going to squeeze out any ‘toxins’ that you haven’t already squeezed out.  Handstand and Forearm balance are heart stimulating as well as deep backbends.  Besides the added risk of injury, you are already increasing a blood supply (50% more blood) and breathing for 2 (1/3 of every breath goes to baby)…so you don’t really need to stimulate the heart chakra.  It’s working overtime already.   Until you feel your belly and it becomes uncomfortable you can lie on it, bend forward and twist, you can do those things as long as they feel good to you.  More the worry is stress to the joints (SI, spine)

    Pitta is rising so stay cool, don’t do anything that makes you red in the face or dizzy.  

    Most importantly, listen to your body.  If it feels good, do it.  If it doesn’t, stop.  Your body is going through so many changes, and it’s working really hard.  So it gets to be the boss for now.  If you listen to it, and let it be whatever it is in the moment, you will know instinctively what to do!  (This is true when you’re not pregnant too…it’s just we’re not in the habit of listening)
  • Thanks for posting this response from your yoga teacher! I have been struggling with what type of practice to keep, especially in the first trimester. I do ashtanga and according to that tradition you're not supposed to practice at all in the first trimester. I'm also away from home for my first trimester so I can't go to my regular teacher. 
  • No, I love Catturanga! But thanks for sharing your teacher's response.
  • I do yoga and I'm a certified yoga teacher. For my own practice (I'm in my first trimester), I've stopped doing jump backs  (I'll still do chaturanga but I step back into it), arm balances (they compress the abdomen), deep closed twists (again, compressing the abdomen.. I'll do an open twist or not go as deeply into the closed twist unstead), deep backbends (abdomen compression again... I'll still do the backbend, just not as deeply), poses where I'm lying directly on my stomach  (said to be OK in the 1st trimester, not taking any chances), and taking it easy on stretching, which we can overdo in pregnancy because of Relaxin- a chemical we're now producing that does exactly what it sounds, but can cause damage to attachments  (like hamstrings) because we're more likely to over stretch. Also hot yoga and many forms of pranayama  (yogic breathing) are out for now.
    With whatever you do, move slowly and mindfully and if it doesn't feel good, back off. I do plan on asking my own doctor about core work this week because although traditional advice was NO CORE during pregnancy, new advice is YES CORE to strengthen it for childbirth. I'll update you with his answer later.
  • I just want to add that yoga feels sooo good and even if you didn't do it before getting pregnant, getting started with a gentle yoga can be so beneficial. 
    I personally love using Yoga with Adriene on youtube. She has so many videos and she is super easy to listen to. 
  • *lurking from sept16 
    I'm a prental yoga teacher and please please do not do any (closed) abdominal twisting in your practice. It can possibly/potentially/ maybe cause miscarriage. We only do twists with the upper back in pregnancy. Examples of closed twists are: 
    -revolved triangle
    -twisting warrior 3
    -chair pose with a twist
    -low lunge/crescent with a twist (elbows outside thigh, belly compressed)
    -anything where the belly is compressed and you twist over it. 

    I also still do plank and chatugunga in my practice but more often then not I'm on my knees now at 14 weeks. Plank is only
    contraindicated if you have the abdominal seperation, but they are not sure the role it plays in causing diastisis rectis so they say don't do it because of that. 

    According to Geeta Iyengar inversions may continue to be practiced as long as you did them before pregnancy. Practice them at the wall due to the change in your center of gravity. 

    If you are looking for a resource for home the quintisential pregnancy yoga book is Iyengar yoga for motherhood written by geeta Iyengar. 

    @PatriciaRoberta one of my teachers who I took my prental yoga training with is a specialist is rehabilitation of diastisis recti and she gave us ab work to be done in pregnancy and postpartum that is specific to strengthening the transverse abdominus, which is the muscle you want to focus on. The typical ab work in pregnancy is alt arm/leg raise in table top. Bridge pose, standing poses where mama focuses on drawing both sides of the waist back (vs tucking the pelvis under) for greater belly support. 

    For anyone doing yoga at home has a ton of prental classes with really great teachers. 
  • I haven't done yoga (except for one class I took when I was a teenager haha), but I plan to start prenatal yoga in the 2nd tri. I'm pretty excited but I'm not sure how it will go because I have a slipped disk in my back which is aggravated by exercise, so I just plan on going slow and see how it goes!
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • LizaKate1213LizaKate1213 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2016
    @OrangeEv I love Yoga with Adriene!!! If you like her and are ever looking for something more intense, try Ali Kamenova Interval Yoga. She gives amazing total body workouts that include cardio and really incredible yoga flows.
    Edited: using the word amazing too many times!
  • In my experience, your body will tell you what to do and what not to do. I could tell when I needed to stop lying on my stomach or how far or not to bend or twist when I did yoga during my first two pregnancies.
  • edited March 2016
    Thank you for the clarification on the ab work! I've been doing none until I spoke to my doctor but this makes sense. My teachers in YTT knew little about prenatal yoga so I've been doing my own research.
  • I did yoga throughout my whole 1st pregnancy, and avoided all the poses that they say could cause diastis recti. Well, I still got it anyway, along with a herniated belly button. So, I'm just going to do whatever feels good (avoiding the twisting though) and take it slow. I'm still keeping up with my inversions, but not practicing them as much as I use to. 
    I feel like there's so much conflicting info out there about what core activity you should and shouldn't do. 
          Fell in love: Dec 2005 // Married: Feb 9, 2013
                                                                  Little Miss Rosalie Harper--Born Jan 9th, 2014
  • Just no deep twisting. And tell your instructor, and she'll usually say "for my women who are pregnant, do this instead" during the class. 
  • @LizaKate1213 Great--I'll try her out! Mixing in some cardio would be fun
  • Now that I'm 13+ weeks I'm coming back into my ashtanga yoga practice! I was SO SORE the first practice after my 2.5 month break but my teacher gave me some good modifications such as switching all closed twists to open twists and not coming as far into forward bends. Also holding bandha konasana, upavishta konasana and open squats with and without binding arms around each leg for 10-20 breaths in order to prepare for opening the hips for labor. I also went to a prenatal class, and it was nice to meet some other mamas. So pumped to be moving again.
  • naravnanaravna member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited April 2016
    Dear Yogis (and other yoga practisers), any recommendations on videos to do at home for a total beginner? We don't have any classes in the neighborhood, but I need something for strength and back pain, and I did some small yoga sequences before bed for a while and liked them.
  • @naravna Yes! I'm new to yoga and found a YouTube channel called yoginimelbourne. I have back pain too, and she has one specifically for the back. There are about 5 prenatal videos up, and I've really liked them.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • I spoke with my yoga studio about this a few weeks ago and they recommended modifying anything with a twist in it (anything that makes your abdominal space smaller).  I am also working with a personal trainer so we are avoiding crunches or again, anything that compresses the abdominal space.  I am still lifting heavy weights and not really removing any of my lifts from my routine.
  • @LGW2015 Thanks, I'll check it out. And if I don't forget it, I'll write about how I fared trying them out.
  • naravnanaravna member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited April 2016
    I  tried the shortest video, and it was doable. I don't really have upper body strength and I have tight shoulders so it wasn't easy but it is doable. It shows how much I need this kind of exercise. I'll try the others as I have time, thank you for the hint.
    When my spinning and ballroom dancing classes end in June, I'll try to find a prenatal yoga class to take until October.
  • @naravna some are harder than others! The vinyasa flow one is hard bc it is repetitive and quick paced, but I found some of the other ones a little easier. I think the back one isn't too bad. Mostly stretching. I can't do downward dog bc my hamstrings are so tight but the more I attempt it the easier it gets!
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • LGW2015 said:
    @naravna some are harder than others! The vinyasa flow one is hard bc it is repetitive and quick paced, but I found some of the other ones a little easier. I think the back one isn't too bad. Mostly stretching. I can't do downward dog bc my hamstrings are so tight but the more I attempt it the easier it gets!
    If I practised regularly I'm sure that it would have been easier. We have to keep on, then we will be pregnant and storng :)
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