Pregnancy yoga poses for pelvic instability

You’re all ready to teach your first pregnancy yoga class. You’ve got your class meticulously planned out and you’re excited to finally share this.

Your students start to arrive and you strike up conversations with them about their week and how they are feeling. Some are tired. Others are feeling good. Then… someone has been to see a physio for pelvic instability. They’re wearing a support band and they aren’t sure how much of the class they’ll even be able to do tonight.

Suddenly your meticulously planned hip opening class plan is out the window and you’re feeling unsure what the heck you’re going to do instead.

Don’t freak out! You can still include women with pelvic instability safely in your pregnancy yoga classes. You just need to know how to swap out certain poses for those that will be beneficial for women with pelvic instability.

Below I’m sharing 6 poses that I’d choose instead of other common poses used in pregnancy yoga classes. If you prefer to watch, scroll to the bottom of this post for the video version.

yoga poses for pelvic instability

6 yoga poses for pelvic instability

Staff pose

Instead of seated wide leg forward fold choose staff pose instead. Get them to focus on engaging the inner thighs muscles which helps to strengthen the supporting muscles of the pelvis. They can practice this sitting upright, on a bolster or block, or can gently lean forward if it feels good in their body.

Half malasana

Full malasana creates too much opening in the groin and inner thighs for women with pelvic instability. Instead, half malasana on a bolster can be a much more gentle option. If this is still too much, get women to straighten out one leg and bring the other knee further in towards the midline so there is no opening of the pelvis. This means you can keep your students together practicing meditation or pranayama and it’s only their physical posture which has been modified.

Hero

Hero pose on a block or a bolster is a great choice for women with pelvic instability. You can add in pelvic floor awareness (which helps to strengthen the supporting muscles of the pelvis) and ask them to squeeze their inner thighs into the block or the bolster. This can be a great pose to substitute for pigeon or lizard pose which are too much for anyone with pelvic instability.

Lunge

Lunges can still be practiced with women who have pelvic instability however I recommend moving slowly in and out of them. Bend the back knee generously and slowly allow it to straighten to stretch into the psoas (which is often tight and overcompensating when you have pelvic instability). A lunge is a better choice than Warrior 1 which asks the pelvis to twist and can be very painful for women with SI and SPD.

Chair

Chair pose (with the feet no wider than the hips) is great for pelvic instability because it is working to strengthen the glutes, the inner thighs (especially if you add a block to squeeze) and the pelvic floor. All of these are involved in supporting the pelvis so ensuring they are strong can be helpful during pregnancy. I’d choose chair pose over any other pose that involves the feet coming wider than the hips. Eg. Warrior 2, Goddess, Side lunge, etc

Wall squat

Wall squat is one of my favourite yoga poses for pelvic instability (and pregnancy yoga in general). It can be used to strengthen the supporting muscles of the pelvis – glutes, inner thighs, pelvic floor (squeeze a block between the knees to make it even better). It is also a great pose for gentle core activation and bringing awareness to lengthen out the curve of the low back.

So they’re my top yoga poses for pelvic instability. If you have other favourites, I’d love to hear what they are in the comments below. If you’re a new teacher I’ve created a free basics guide to pregnancy yoga that you might like to download here.

If you’d like to dive even deeper into teaching pregnancy and postpartum yoga check out my teacher training here.

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