Can you teach yoga while pregnant?

Whether you’re a new yoga teacher who has just discovered you’re pregnant, or a senior teacher who is considering starting your family; you’re likely wondering whether you can continue to teach yoga while pregnant.

Today we’ll talk about what you need to consider if you’re going to be teaching yoga during your pregnancy and how your teaching will need to change to keep you, your baby and your students safe.

teach yoga while pregnant

Is it safe to teach yoga while pregnant?

Pregnancy is different for every woman (and every time you are pregnant), so unfortunately this answer isn’t one-size-fits-all.

If you’re healthy and able to continue your other regular activities, teaching yoga while pregnant is safe for you and your baby. Just like you would recommend to your students in class though; keep checking in with your body. As your baby and body grows teaching yoga may become uncomfortable or even painful. If this happens you’ll either need to modify how you teach, or take a break for a while.

Only you can know which decision is right for you.

Teaching yoga right up until you give birth may be safe, but is it comfortable or even enjoyable?

During my first pregnancy I stopped teaching at about 20 weeks.

I was the living remotely and if I couldn’t make the class there was no back up (because there were literally no other yoga teachers out there!) I was also a relatively new yoga teacher and wasn’t super confident teaching without demonstrating. I struggled to get off my mat and trust that I could guide my students with words alone. During my second pregnancy I taught until SI pain made it too hard to continue (at around 25 weeks). With my 3rd son I was still teaching at 35 weeks and only stopped because I wanted to let myself rest before he arrived.

Each of my pregnancies and my experience teaching yoga through them was so different. This is why it’s so important to listen to your intuition about whether to continue to teach yoga while pregnant.

3 ways to modify your yoga teaching during pregnancy, so you can continue to teach for longer.

Use your words more than your body.

Pregnancy is the perfect time to practise teaching yoga without demonstrating every pose. Especially those poses that are no longer accessible for your pregnant body. I’ve written in detail about what yoga you should and shouldn’t be doing during pregnancy here. But briefly, during pregnancy you should avoid practising (and therefore demonstrating) any poses that strain or compress the belly, inversions and some balance poses.

Your yoga teaching may even improve during this time because you’ll need to be super clear and concise with your instructions. If you see some beginners struggling, you can refer them to other students in the class who are familiar with your teaching or demonstrate part of the pose for them. For example, you can use the wall as a prop to demonstrate supine poses that you can no longer do. Cobra pose can be shown using the wall without putting any pressure on your growing bump.

Yes, you’ll have to be more creative with how you instruct, but this can be a great thing for your teaching! You’ll need to be very present in your teaching to look after your own body and make sure your students understand without demonstration. You won’t be able to rely on those autopilot instructions that you’ve been using. This can make your yoga teaching feel fresh and new again!

Adjust your teaching schedule to suit your changing energy levels.

Before you consider giving up teaching yoga entirely during your pregnancy, can you adjust your schedule instead? If you’re still trying to teach 20+ strong yoga classes each week, it’s unsurprising that you feel like you’re burning out.

Let’s practise what we preach hey?

Listen to your body and adjust where needed. Can you swap some of your stronger classes for more gentle options like yin, slow flow or prenatal classes? Or can you just slow down your vinyasa classes? Remember a strong class doesn’t need to move fast. There is strength to be found in long holds.

Another option might be to consider teaching less classes. Don’t underestimate how exhausting running from class to class and split shifts morning and night actually are. I found teaching studio classes incompatible with Mumlife, so now might be the time to explore other options.

Explore teaching in other formats.

If teaching yoga is your full-time gig I understand that it’s hard to consider working less, when you’re about to have a number of months of unpaid maternity leave.

Teaching less studio classes doesn’t have to mean less income though. As you head into motherhood (and will inevitably have less time to work), start exploring other ways to teach yoga that can earn you more money in less time. Workshops and online teaching is where I’d start.

Workshops – A 3 hour workshop can earn you significantly more money than a 1 hour yoga class. Most studios offer a percentage share of the profits for a workshop rather than a fixed rate. You can always negotiate this too! Or go somewhere else to host your workshop if they don’t want to work with you.

Energetically, I find workshops are also easier to manage. You’re getting three hours of work in a row without having to travel in between. There is usually downtime in a workshop where you get students to reflect or practise (so you don’t need to be “on” for the whole time). There’s often more time for explanation rather than demonstration too, so it’s also less taxing on your body.

Online teaching – If you’ve been here for a while you’ll know that online teaching is my jam. I earn 90% of my income teaching yoga in online spaces. It was motherhood that pushed me into teaching in this way. I wanted my yoga teaching to fit into my family life, not the other way around.

There are lots of options when it comes to teaching yoga online. In a live format through zoom or YouTube streaming. Or prerecorded (like I do) through a membership site. I recommend creating a passive income business so that you can work around your baby (because babies wait for no one!).

I share how I’ve built my yoga business in this article. Or I can step you through starting yours in my online course Presence.

Can you do your yoga teacher training while pregnant?

The short answer is yes! There is no reason you can’t study yoga teaching while pregnant.

Of course you will need to tell the yoga school (or head teacher) that you’re expecting so they can modify their instruction as necessary. This in itself can be a way to tell if the training is right for you. A good yoga teacher training is inclusive and finds a way to cater for all bodies, not just your typical able-bodied yogis!

There are a few reasons you might choose to wait until after your baby arrives to complete your training though. If you are feeling unwell and exhausted, now might not be the right time. Or if you are having any complications during your pregnancy, now is not the time to try and learn something new.

Some women feel a lot of creative energy during pregnancy, others feel drained and barely make it through the days. Again, listen to your body. It will know what’s right for you.

Where to now?

Whether you continue to teach yoga while pregnant or not, keep up your personal practice. Your body will thank you. If you’d like to be guided through pregnancy friendly yoga classes you’ll find lots in my Online Yoga Circle.

If you’d like to deepen your knowledge of pregnancy and postpartum yoga I’d like to invite you to join my online teacher training here. Training includes a 1:1 mentorship with me – I can’t wait to meet you.

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