As a yoga teacher without much experience with pregnancy, I had some hesitation about advising pregnant practitioners. I had heard various vague, sometimes conflicting, rules about what poses to avoid. To be sure pregnant practitioners were safe in my class, I would have to stop them from doing most poses. I felt that it would not be fair to let my ignorance or nervousness stifle their practice.
Bec Conant‘s workshop, Yoga Adjustments for Pregnant Practitioners, covered what I need to know in order to be confident that my instructions are safe. First and foremost, Bec dispelled many of the myths about what is appropriate for pregnant practitioners by going into the physiology of pregnancy and childbirth. Yoga can also prepare for the effort and relaxation required in childbirth. Having a positive mindset about the benefits of yoga during pregnancy — with facts to back it up — allows me to provide support rather than just worrying about safety.
We covered the anatomical demands and effects of pregnancy, common physical experiences and how to adjust for them, and key points for safety and comfort. We watched videos and discussed empowered, yoga-informed pregnancy. Finally, we strapped on fake bellies and Bec led us in a prenatal yoga class. I was surprised to find myself strongly imagining the experience of pregnancy from the perspective of yoga. While this is no substitute for actually practicing yoga while pregnant, I feel that Bec provided the information I need to accommodate the experiences of pregnant practitioners in my classes. I would recommend this workshop to any teacher who is not yet comfortable and well-informed about supporting practitioners during pregnancy.