5 reasons you shouldn’t practice pregnancy yoga

Yep this possibly feels like an odd article for me to write on my blog all about yoga for motherhood and pregnancy right? Here I am talking you out of practicing! 

But I think it’s an important point to make because yoga is not going to be right for everyone. Especially yoga in the way most people think about it. Yoga asana, (the physical practice) is not for everyone during pregnancy.

(Of course, I’ll continue to argue til I’m blue in the face that the other limbs of yoga (meditation, pranayama, etc) should still be practiced but for the sake of this post let’s just take a look at the physical poses).

Why you shouldn’t practice yoga during pregnancy

1. To get fit, toned or lose weight

Obviously pregnancy is not the time to be worried about staying small or toned or skinny.  I think most people KNOW this. But let’s be real. It’s also a part of pregnancy that many women also find themselves struggling with.

I myself have worried (especially in my first pregnancy) about putting on too much weight and feeling uncomfortable in my changing body. Don’t start a yoga class if this is your goal. Yoga was the thing that helped me to actually accept my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. I have to admit, back in my 20s I did start yoga because I was suckered in by the promise of long-lean limbs.  And while I never managed to changed my short, solid statute into that ideal, but I also stopped caring what I looked like which was a nice side-effect.

If you have a severe pelvic instability or SI pain. 

While it’s hard to believe, too much stretching is not actually good for you. During pregnancy your body is already releasing relaxin (a hormone to allow your body to open and birth your baby.) If you’re struggling with pelvic instability or SI pain it is because the joints of your pelvis are out of balance and unsupported.

Further stretching, especially wide leg poses will make this worse.  It’s best not to practice yoga at this time and visit a physio or chiro for support to strengthen the muscles surrounding the pelvis to help support your body. Check out this video for more info.

You’re exhausted.

Listen to your body. If you’re bone tired, what your body needs most is rest. Give it to yourself.  I will however add a BUT to this equation. There is a difference between exhaustion that is solved by rest, and fatigue that is actually helped by movement and getting the blood pumping in the body. In the latter case a yoga practice might actually help you to create more energy and feel better in the body rather than feeling schlumpy.

The worst (or possibly best) part is that only you can know the difference. If you genuinely need rest, take it. If you are feeling blobby and movement could help but you can’t muster up the mojo to start, maybe just try ten minutes. I always find once I get started I’m more likely to keep going.

If you are in pain.

If you’ve got SI pain or back pain or belly pain or vagina pain, going to a yoga class is not the solution.  Sure, it might become a part of it, but you’re best to get yourself checked by your doctor, midwife or physio first.

Your yoga teacher really isn’t qualified to help diagnose what’s going on but by all means if you’re doctor recommends you practice yoga to help with the pain, find a good pregnancy yoga class and attend it regularly. During my pregnancies, yoga has helped immensely with painful aching legs and general aches and pains from carrying extra weight. 

If you feel dizzy.

Feeling dizzy during pregnancy is often a sign that something funky is going on with your blood pressure. Whether that be high or low blood pressure.

High blood pressure can be dangerous for you and your baby and requires that you get a doctor to check you out. Lower blood pressure is often less dangerous.  I’ve had low blood pressure during all of my pregnancies and found it was often made worse when I didn’t get enough sleep. I’ve written about low blood pressure in pregnancy before. You can check out that post here.

Whatever the reason for your dizziness, an active yoga practice is probably not going to help. You’re better off drinking more water, taking a nap, having something to eat and visiting your doctor if it doesn’t improve.

So that’s it. Yoga is amazing for pregnancy but it’s definitely NOT a cure-all and I wouldn’t want to pretend it was.

Are you practicing yoga during pregnancy? Have you experienced any of these issues? If none of the above apply to you, you may want to check out the beginner’s pregnancy yoga practice below. I hope to practice with you soon. xx

Want to know how to practice safely throughout all three trimesters? Download my free pregnancy yoga guide here.

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