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What (not) to do in a yoga class

Are you pregnant or postnatal?
Are you attending yoga classes?

Practicing yoga while pregnant can be great! If you have had a steady practice (2 times a week) over the last 6 months you are welcome to continue your yoga practice.

We see many pregnant women coming to Yoga Moves and we are happy to support you and are dedicated to continuing to support your pregnancy and beyond. If you’re pregnant, you should find a qualified instructor (go to our pregnancy classes!) and check with your doctor before jumping into dynamic yoga. Strong forms of physical yoga may not be appropriate when pregnant.

However, please bear in mind the following guidelines. If you would like some more personal guidance in your pre- or postnatal period, consider booking a private class with our specialised teacher to help you on your way.

Guidelines for Pregnancy and Postnatal Yoga

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.


When attending regular classes

  • Always inform your teacher
    Pull them aside (5-10 min) before class if you are pregnant or recently gave birth (please don’t assume we can see it!). This allows the teacher to assist and keep an eye on you when necessary.

  • Turned away?
    Occasionally a teacher may not feel the class is appropriate for pregnancy or is not trained, or unable to give the attention needed to keep you safe. In this case we may ask you to choose another (more relaxed) class.
  • Don’t overheat…take more time to find your stable (wider) foundation
    If you have a strong Vinyasa/ dynamic yoga background then slow flow classes will be more suitable to give you time to adjust the poses and to make sure you don’t overheat. Iyengar or Alignment classes can be good with the appropriate adjustments (don’t push). Yin can be okay for some women – however a pregnant woman usually does better with more flowing movements and not staying in a posture for longer than 5 breaths. If you do choose for Yin yoga, give yourself permission to adjust and make small movements.
  • Choose a spot near an open window or door
    Your baby has no cooling down system except through you, so make sure you don’t overheat.
  • In general: practice more softly and slowly – take breaks when needed.

Take care with

  • If you ever experience any pain around the pubic bone – in or outside class –  than please stop attending regular yoga classes.  Pelvic instability can be serious and we don’t want you to hurt yourself. Come to our specific prenatal classes instead where we can help you.
  • If you notice yourself getting out of breath or overheated, please take rest. You will have lots of time to do your strong Vinyasa or Ashtanga  – after birth. Please, don’t overheat your core temperature.
  • Practice containment. Less is more when it comes to stretching.
  • Deep lunges. The hormones of pregnancy loosen the ligaments and cartilage in the body – especially in the pubic area. This can happen as early as the first trimester. So when you are doing lunges keep the compactness around your pelvis –  use your feet to “scrape” the mat together without moving the feet. Widen the stance sideways between the feet and make the distance between front and back foot a little less than you’re used to.
  • Avoid splits and pigeon-pose altogether.
  • Using bandhas: (this is referring to the pelvic floor lifting muscles and your lower abdomen lift during practice). Uddiyana bandha and mooladhara bandha are counterproductive during pregnancy and will not be effective practices to prepare you for the process of birth. For that reason we advice not to use any bandhas during pregnancy including the first trimester.
  • Avoid deep twists – especially in the first trimester (remember: in the first 12 weeks your baby is just starting to form…you need to be gentle and relaxed and open in your belly.
  • Avoid pressure against your abdomen – a prone (face down on floor) position in the first trimester is still fine, afterwards you can try to place a bolster under your hips for a while to modify)
  • Avoid jumping
  • Avoid deep backward bends – eg: urdhva dhanurasana is too strong and stretches the ligaments of your back too much at a time when they are naturally getting looser, you are risking back-problems after giving birth.
  • Avoid using your abdominal muscles to come from lying to sitting and vice-versa. This also includes leg-lifts. Using your abdominal muscles in this way will weaken them during pregnancy slowing down recovery after birth.
  • Avoid holding your breath during breathing practices. Babies need oxygen and prana all the time! Avoid the practice of kapalabhati (fire breathing) or bhastrika.

What about after giving birth? (up to 9 months for some!)

Postnatally it is equally important to take care of your pubic bone, pelvic floor, lower back and abdomen as it was during pregnancy. Especially if you are breastfeeding your baby – the hormones involved still keep the ligaments and cartilage loose. Excessive stretching is counterproductive to creating stability around the pelvis, abdomen and back. Postnatally counts: slow is fast! It is much more supportive to strengthen the deeper muscles first to stabilise and strengthen for many years to come. Only then creating strength in the more superficial muscles.


  • twists
  • chestopeners
  • bandhas

Take care with

  • Wide stances and deep lunges, splits or pigeons. Go slow, Imagine “scraping” your mat together using the strength of your feet without actually moving them, learning to pull your body energy back in and up into the center. Making your stance a little shorter than you are used to.
  • Using your abdominal muscles to come from lying to sitting and vice-versa. This also includes leg-lifts. Only start doing these when your rectus abdominus has been checked by your midwife or in the postnatal class
  • avoid strong and deep backward bends – eg urdhva dhanurasana is too strong and stretches the ligaments of your back too much at a time when they are naturally looser, you are risking back-problems.

Our postnatal classes we will help you build up strength
and give you guidance with your practice.