Should you do yoga when you’re pregnant?

To practice or not to practice? That is the question. Our yoga guru Kate Kendall shares her thoughts on prenatal yoga.

Prenatal Yoga

I don’t think I’ll ever forget watching one of my clients do a full expression of updog one week before giving birth. I was in awe at her grace. Not to mention the sheer strength and beauty of her womanly form, ripe for giving birth, doing such a big back bend.

I also applauded another student two weeks ago for stepping back from her yoga practice because it was making her feel nauseous every time she leant to her side at all.

This is the beauty of the human body. Every single person is different and no two pregnancies are the same. So when I get asked whether or not it’s safe to do yoga while pregnant, I usually ask the following questions:

Have you been practising yoga prior to your pregnancy?

If you haven’t done any yoga prior to falling pregnant I would strongly advise against one of the more physical types of yoga like Vinyasa or Ashtanga. Go for a pre-natal class with a professionally trained teacher or a gentle Hatha class instead.

How do you feel at this stage?

If you feel fit and healthy and like you want to bust out some shapes on the mat – go for it. Being pregnant is the perfect time to fine tune your senses and really tap into your own body and what it is telling you.

Has your obstetrician given you the OK?

One thing I would never claim to be is a doctor (nor physiotherapist, osteopath nor anything else that people commonly mistake yoga teachers for). You may have been practising yoga since you were 18 and be feeling great at this point in your pregnancy. But if your obstetrician has advised not to practice because of some condition or precaution they suspect or have seen always follow their lead. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Kate Kendall
Kate Kendall is Co-Founder & Director of Yoga at Flow Athletic in Sydney's Paddington. Passionate about teaching the art of 'slowing down', her approach to yoga is down to earth & light hearted. Her intention is to provide experiences in which people can move playfully and experience longer lasting mental alertness and clarity off the mat contributing to a happier and healthier community. 'Yoga Guru' for Body & Soul Magazine, Kate writes, presents and creates video content providing people with the opportunity to experience yoga progressively and in a way that's adaptable to a contemporary lifestyle. She's worked with numerous athletes including the South Sydney Rabbitohs and pioneered Sydney's Bro-ga; yoga for men.