How do I become a pregnancy yoga teacher? (& what you must avoid!)

So you want to become a pregnancy yoga teacher – I’m so excited for you! Teaching prenatal yoga has been life-changing for me and this career is one I’ve grown alongside my own experience of motherhood. Whether you’re just getting started with yoga, or you’re a seasoned teacher – let’s talk about how you become qualified to teach prenatal yoga.

become a pregnancy yoga teacher

What requirements are there to become a pregnancy yoga teacher?

Unlike other industries, there is no official regulating body that governs yoga teaching. However, most yoga studios and gyms require that you at least hold a 200-hour yoga teaching certification, your first aid certificate and your own insurance.

In order to specialise and become a pregnancy yoga teacher you need to complete an additional pregnancy-specific yoga teacher training (like mine) on top of your 200-hour yoga teaching qualification.

How do I choose a pregnancy yoga teacher training?

There are a huge range of pregnancy yoga teacher trainings available these days. Which is great – you have options! Back when I did my training there was literally only one option in Australia and nothing available online. Though I do recognise that having lots of choice can feel stressful too. How do you choose the right one?!

When choosing a training to become a pregnancy yoga teacher consider:

  1. Do they cover all the knowledge you need to know to become a pregnancy yoga teacher? (Scroll down to see a list of things a good pregnancy yoga training should cover.)
  2. Is the course delivered in a mode that is convenient for you? (Some of us learn better in-person, others prefer online, so we can work around our babies. Think about what will work best for you).
  3. Do they offer (and do you feel safe) to ask questions and seek mentoring? (We learn more when we feel safe and valued. A good training should offer ongoing mentoring and support.)
  4. Do you vibe with the teacher? (If you don’t like their style of teaching, they are not right teacher for you. Try out a few of their classes and see if you like their energy before signing up to their training.)

Do I need to be registered with Yoga Alliance or Yoga Australia to become a pregnancy yoga teacher?

You do not need to be registered with Yoga Alliance or Yoga Australia to teach regular or pregnancy yoga. Some studios may ask that you are registered, however in my 17 years teaching yoga I have never once needed to show proof of membership to either of these organisations.

That doesn’t mean though that you might not get benefits from registering with either Yoga Alliance and Yoga Australia. Teacher trainings that are endorsed by these organisations have to meet certain minimum standards, their teacher listings can direct students your way or you might decide to sign up to access discounted insurance.

At the end of the day, your experience, knowledge and ability to teach yoga are what makes you a great pregnancy yoga teacher – not your affiliation with any one organisation.

What do I need to know to become a pregnancy yoga teacher?

The pregnancy yoga teacher training that you choose should cover the following areas. Feel free to copy this list below and ask teacher trainers if they cover all of these areas before you sign up.

  • how to teach pregnancy yoga safely
  • the benefits that yoga, meditation and breath work offers during pregnancy, for birth and in postpartum
  • the physical, mental and emotional stress experienced by women during pregnancy and how yoga can support them
  • the changes occurring in the pregnant body during the three trimesters and what yoga practises are safe/ not safe
  • how to modify poses to accomodate for women during the different trimesters
  • how pregnancy impacts alignment and posture in the body and how we can use yoga to reduce injury and implications for birth
  • safe pranayama practices for pregnancy and birth
  • how to use meditation and visualisation during pregnancy to connect with their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self
  • yoga asana and practises that are unsafe during pregnancy
  • common pregnancy conditions and how to modify a yoga practice for women with: back pain, sciatica, pelvic instability (SI and SPD), carpal tunnel, fluid retention, leg cramps, heart burn/ reflux, nausea, high and low blood pressure, low lying placenta, incompetent cervix, non-optimal positions like breech and posterior, haemorrhoids, varicose veins and vaginal bleeding. (Pregnancy is so delightful right?!)
  • how pregnancy affects a woman’s endocrine, cardiovascular, digestive, urinary, respiratory and muscular-skeletal systems and how this affects their experience of yoga.
  • signs and symptoms of medical conditions during pregnancy that would require clearance from a health professional before practising yoga
  • how a yoga practise can be used to encourage a connection between Mum and baby
  • yoga poses and practises to encourage optimal positioning for baby in preparation for birth
  • how to practise active birth positions and incorporate partners into the practice
  • how to teach yoga classes that allow women to experience and practise the intensity of birth
  • how to use voice and vocalisation as a tool for birth
  • yoga tools as pain management techniques during birth
  • how to structure pregnancy yoga classes
  • language and cues to support a pregnancy yoga practice and what to avoid
  • how to work with the core and pelvic floor safely
  • how to confidently teach group pregnancy yoga classes to women in different trimesters and experiencing a range of pregnancy symptoms
  • an opportunity to explore your own beliefs and experiences around pregnancy and birth and how these will influence your teaching.

What should you avoid when trying to become a pregnancy yoga teacher?

Red flags for yoga teacher trainings include:

  • Any course that promises you’ll learn everything you need to know to become a pregnancy yoga teacher in an obscenely short amount of time. (It’s okay to not know everything when you first get started, but knowing that you don’t know is really important!)
  • No way to experience the classes of the teachers. (If you can’t join an in-person class or participate in an online class with the people who are leading the course, how can you tell if you vibe with their style of teaching?)
  • Teacher trainings where everything is locked behind a paywall. (This one is a personal pet-peeve of mine. I believe yoga should be accessible for everyone. You can practise with me and learn so many of my teachings for free on the internet. Yes, I offer more in-depth trainings for those who want to dive deeper, but I also try to share freely. You can access my pregnancy meditation scripts for free on my website. You can try my pregnancy yoga classes for free. I even share how my business works so you can use that as a model for your own. I’m not into gatekeeping.)

Do you need to have experienced pregnancy to teach pregnancy yoga?

Nope! I completed my first pregnancy and postnatal yoga teacher training in 2009, well before I had my first baby in 2012. I originally signed up because I wanted to know how to safely accomodate pregnant women in my regular yoga classes, and ended up completing my study to become a pregnancy yoga teacher.

My obsession with pregnancy yoga didn’t start until I was pregnant with my second baby though. I’d had a traumatic birth with my first and was very keen to avoid having that experience again. Studying hypnobirthing and yoga for birth was THE thing that made me want to specialise in teaching pregnancy yoga.

Just because you’ve never experienced being pregnant, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a highly skilled and empathetic pregnancy yoga teacher. Your lack of personal experience will mean that your teaching isn’t coloured by your own emotions around pregnancy and birth. And this can be a good thing! You’ll be more open to listening to the experiences of your students rather than just reflecting on your own.

Can I do my yoga teacher training while pregnant?

Yes! You can definitely complete your 200 hour YTT or pregnancy yoga teacher training while pregnant yourself. For your general training it’s important to tell your trainers that you’re pregnant, so that they can make the necessary modifications for you. Personally I think having a pregnant student in a general teacher training is a great asset, because it gets you thinking about modifications right from the start of your teaching journey.

Completing your pregnancy yoga teacher training while pregnant is also a great benefit. You’re going to feel more connected to the information you’re learning and you’ll be able to put it into practise each day on your mat.

Where to now?

Download my free basics guide to teaching pregnancy yoga.

Learn everything you need to know to become a pregnancy yoga teacher in my online training.

Watch this video to learn what it takes to be a GREAT pregnancy yoga teacher.

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