How do postural changes in pregnancy affect your yoga practice?

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Students twisting poses like a knot

During pregnancy, a lot of changes take place in the musculoskeletal system as a way of compensating for the growing fetus. This will have a great effect on posture, balance, and gait (aka the waddle). These changes often can lead to backache, fall, divarication of recti, and more. Therefore we should always take into account these changes in the body, when practicing and also when teaching yoga classes to a mama to be.

Postural changes include:

  1. Increased curvature of the spine (lumbar) as well as the behind the neck (cervical)
  2. Shoulders move forward and inward (increased protraction)
  3. Legs are wider during standing
  4. Head and sacrum tilt backwards

Postural effects may be worsened if there are existing spinal issues e.g scoliosis, weakness of the core muscles, too much weight gained during pregnancy.

Also, as the abdominal muscles and the muscles of the hips begin to stretch, they can no longer support the body with proper integrity. This translates to other muscles taking over and voila! You begin to stand and walk in a way that you never have before, and suddenly you have to change the way you practice your yoga poses too! These include;

Twisting poses

No more twisting like a knot! During pregnancy, it is best to avoid closed chain twists since it may affect blood flow to the baby. Instead focus on open twists emphasizing on creation of space on the baby.

Balancing poses

Should one legged balancing poses be practiced? For example, half moon pose. It requires so much concentration on stability to avoid injury – coupled with a lot of relaxing in the body. However, with a great support in place, a mama to be can also practice this pose by using a block and the wall. It is energizing, builds strength as well as balance. It opens the pelvis and boosts circulation in the legs.

Moms-to-be should focus more on stability and strength, rather than endurance and flexibility. Use modifications, props, or a wall to make each pose well-supported. Pregnancy hormones loosen your muscles and ligaments, which increases the risk for injuries if you push yourself too far in terms of flexibility. Yoga offers many benefits during pregnancy. But if you’re pregnant and you want to try yoga, do check with your doctor first. Then, do check out our prenatal yoga class for new mums!

And if you are a yoga teacher in Singapore looking to learn more, teach safely to your students and expand the scope of your teaching, check out our Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training Program today!

About the Author​

Lynette is fully dedicated to the support and empowerment of the growing community of committed yoga students and teachers. As one of the Lead Instructors for Yoga Teacher Training, she is here to share tips on how to grow your profile as a yoga teacher or build a yoga business either physically or digitally.

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