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Yogi approved by Keira Shepherd, Certified Yoga Instructor with a 1st Class Honors in Education Studies.
The benefits of prenatal yoga are undeniable – we can expect improved sleep, decreased stress and anxiety, increased strength and flexibility, as well as a whole heap of tools to help us through labor, birth, and into motherhood. The biggest question is, how do I find the right yoga teacher for me?
Prenatal yoga is the perfect opportunity for us to take some time out of our busy lives and commit to a little self-care. It also allows us to spend precious time every week connecting with our unborn babies and appreciating all of the incredible changes that our bodies are going through to bring new life into the world!
There’s even research to show that prenatal yoga can benefit babies by reducing conditions such as pre-eclampsia and improving fetal birth weight.
Before starting any form of exercise during pregnancy, it’s essential to get approval from your doctor or midwife. Once your healthcare provider has approved your new yoga practice, it’s time to get started in looking for prenatal yoga teachers and prenatal yoga classes that are local to you!
In this article, we will discuss everything that you need to look for when hiring a prenatal yoga teacher to make sure that you have the best prenatal yoga experience possible.
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The right style of yoga
Though prenatal yoga is the best choice during pregnancy, there’s nothing to stop you from attending regular classes if the teacher is ok with it. You’ll want to opt for something like Hatha Yoga or Restorative Yoga, and avoid any Hot/Bikram Yoga classes as these can be dangerous for your unborn baby.
If you choose to attend a regular class, it’s vital that you inform the teacher of your stage of pregnancy, and more important than ever that you listen to your body and get clued up on the particular movements that you need to avoid during the second and third trimester.
The safest option is to choose a prenatal class, where every pose will be modified for pregnancy, and your teacher can carefully guide you through each movement as a group. This way, there’s also no concern that your teacher might forget to give you a modification.
It’s important to remember that prenatal classes are designed for the pregnant body and though you might feel comfortable in your regular yoga class during the first – and maybe second – trimester, those later weeks of pregnancy are best spent in courses tailored to your needs.
By attending a prenatal yoga class, you’ll also learn relaxation tools that will help you with labor, birth, and motherhood! And that kind of knowledge is not to be missed.
Find a certified teacher
Once you’ve found prenatal classes and teachers that are local to you, you can ask to see their certification to be sure that they have been trained as prenatal yoga teachers.
The Yoga Alliance will accredit some teachers, but it’s not compulsory and doesn’t necessarily mean that the teacher is any more qualified for teaching prenatal yoga.
It’s imperative to choose a teacher who is trained as a prenatal yoga teacher as they have all of the knowledge necessary to teach women at all stages of pregnancy. This will not only keep your practice safe, but it will make your experience much more enjoyable.
Choose a class that will last for your pregnancy
When looking for your prenatal yoga teacher or prenatal yoga class, make sure that the teacher you choose offers courses up until the end of pregnancy (for most teachers and studios, they will accept students until around 38 weeks).
There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect yoga class and yoga teacher, only to find out later that they only accept students who are in the second trimester and that you’ll have to change to another class for the third trimester!
It’s also helpful to have one teacher follow you from the beginning of your prenatal yoga journey right up until the end (especially if they offer mommy and baby classes!). Staying with one teacher is beneficial because they will quickly learn about the specifics of your body and pregnancy, and be able to offer you tailored advice and alterations throughout the class.
By attending a class with the same group of women throughout your pregnancy, you’ll be able to add to the group of VIW’s (Very Important Women) that will become your support network in the first few months of motherhood. And who knows, you might even make some lifelong momma friends!
Look for a connection 🤰
Pregnancy is often a time where many of us experience heightened levels of anxiety and stress; you don’t want your regular yoga class to add to that. We want our yoga class to reverse these unpleasant feelings.
Look for a teacher who is empathetic and who you have a connection with – the same goes for the other students in the class. Look for a group of women who are supportive of one another and welcoming towards you when you join the class.
Pregnancy is one of the most incredible times in our lives – only beaten by the birth of our children! Cherish it by enrolling in a class where you feel empowered by and comfortable with the women around you. Our relationships during pregnancy are one of the most important things for helping us to feel confident and supported.
If you don’t like the vibe of the class, see if there’s another prenatal class or teacher in the same studio, or look elsewhere.
Check the schedule
Make sure that the prenatal yoga classes offered by the teacher that you have chosen fit around or into your schedule. If you decide to attend a class on a Wednesday morning during the holidays when you would usually be working, remember that you probably won’t be able to miss work every week so that you can head to yoga!
Find a class that is accessible for you and at a time that you will be able to commit to every week easily – this also makes it less likely for you to stay on the sofa and skip class. Though as always, listen to your body! If you need a day on the sofa, take it.
Try a few classes
Sign up to a few different classes with different teachers in your area so that you can find the one that suits you the best. Don’t stress yourself too much on researching the best class and narrowing it down that way. Instead, please make a list of every local class and get a one-class pass to each of them.
What if there are no prenatal yoga teachers near me? 🤰
If there are no prenatal yoga teachers near you, you could consider taking online classes. There are plenty of apps (such as Yoga Download) and online classes that will guide you through prenatal classes for whichever length of time that you desire!
Just remember that you won’t have an actual instructor present to monitor your movements and make adjustments – so it’s even more important to listen to your body.
You could also look at hiring a private yoga teacher who will be able to come to your house and give you classes tailored to your exact needs and stage of pregnancy.
Things to remember before you attend your first prenatal yoga class
- Eat a light meal before your class – this will ensure that you have enough energy for the class while ensuring that you won’t be too full or feel sick.
- Take a snack with you to eat after the class when you’re more than likely going to be feeling a bit hungry.
- Bring a water bottle with you – it’s crucial to stay hydrated during any form of physical activity, especially during pregnancy. Even if you don’t like drinking during a class, you’ll be able to hydrate after the class.
- Check with your midwife or doctor that you can safely take part in the class – your pregnancy is individual to you. And while some women can continue physical exercise, it is advised that others do not exercise due to certain complications.
- Be willing to try a few different classes! Don’t be disheartened if your first prenatal yoga class did not live up to your expectations. It’s ok to try out as many as you need to to feel comfortable with the studio, your teacher, and the rest of the group.
Have fun in your search for the perfect prenatal yoga teacher; they will be one of the most influential people in making you feel empowered and healthy during your pregnancy. Prenatal yoga can get you through birth and a lifetime of parental stress – making it one of the best things to spend your time on during pregnancy.
Keira Shepherd is a certified yoga teacher living in Toulouse, France. Originally from the UK, Keira received a First-Class Honours degree in Education Studies at Oxford Brookes University after completing her dissertation on the topic of using special technologies when teaching children with autism. Keira is a keen traveler and has spent a lot of time teaching a variety of different practices – such as yoga and scuba diving – around the world. Now settled in France, she is a mother of one and shares her passion for an environmentally sustainable life through her motherhood blog.