Accessible Pregnancy Yoga

Accessible Pregnancy Yoga

Making yoga accessible during pregnancy. By Sally Parkes

Reading time: 4 minutes

Pregnancy is the perfect time to slow down and take charge of one’s wellbeing — and yoga can be an effective tool to help achieve this. For maximum benefit, yoga asana should be adapted to allow space for the mother’s changing body and altered biomechanics, as well as the inevitable shift in her respiratory function and therefore energy levels.

Adaptations that honour these changes can be as simple as moving and breathing more slowly and fully, whilst applying asana to create a sense of grounding and safety, as opposed to a rapid or highly-energetic yoga practice that may leave the mother more depleted due to increased energy expenditure.

The use of props can also be an effective way to make poses more accessible with blocks*, bolsters and birthing balls* all great tools to increase the number of yoga asana that are safely obtainable for the pregnant yogini.

And then, of course, there are many yoginis that are not able to access asana easily because they are practiced on the ground or from a standing position. Conditions that make access to these types of asana challenging are far reaching but may include limited mobility and/or hyper mobility, pelvic and/or lower backpain, and/ or neurological conditions, for example. In this scenario, I have often found a simple chair can be a supportive tool for the entire body, allowing the mother-to-be to still access the practice of physical yoga.

Try these few simple movements to subtly energise the whole body and bump:

  1. Child’s pose: place blocks under the hips too if required.
  2. Lower leg stretch: press the heel of the back foot down firmly.
  3. Seated twist: keep the hips facing forwards.

Sally Parkes BSc is a yoga teacher trainer with 25 years teaching experience, and runs in[1]person and online 85hr pregnancy yoga teacher training. @sallyparkesyogaschool

Tip: Use a chair that allows the pelvis to be a little higher than the knees (when sitting) or elevate the hips with yoga blocks/cushions if using a low chair. Also hold each position for at least eight to 10 deep breaths for maximum benefit.

Accessible Pregnancy Yoga

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