As yoga teachers we strive to create an environment that makes our students feel welcome, safe, and inspired.
And no matter what kind of yoga classes you teach, at some point a pregnant woman AND/OR a woman who has just had a baby will walk into your class. Do you feel confident that what you teach (and share) will be appropriate for her? And if not, do you know how to share modifications that are appropriate? Some basic 200 hour teacher trainings include a more comprehensive perinatal component (like Yoga Tree), but many do not. Some yoga trainings offer zero information on the subject! Unfortunately these teachers are likely to be ill-prepared to support and guide pregnant women and new mamas.
Even if you are unsure if you want to teach prenatal group classes, the more in-depth and detailed information gained from a prenatal training will help the moms in your general public classes, corporate gigs, and private students.
I believe as teachers we have the opportunity to share the benefits of yoga in a way (no matter what style you teach!) that will empower these women not only in pregnancy and childbirth but in motherhood.
Remember to be mindful that language is powerful! Remind your students that they know how they feel better then anyone. This is especially true with pregnant mamas who are getting inundated with information (and all kinds of unsolicited advice!) all the time.
For the practice itself it is important to note that prenatal yoga or yoga for pregnant mamas doesn’t have to mean gentle yoga! Although that’s nice too, I’ve found women really appreciate a practice that is both strong and relaxing.
In classes with mamas I really love teaching the warrior poses, shoulder stretches, child’s pose, variations on squatting (i.e. one legged squat) and queen’s pose (my favorite supportive hip opener – here is me pictured teaching this pose to trainees last fall!).
A woman goes through many changes in pregnancy and beyond. It is extremely important for a yoga teacher to know of these changes so postures can be modified or even avoided. Understanding what is contraindicated for practice and knowing what is a red flag are essential to creating a safe space in your yoga class. A yoga teacher can act as a guide but our students are the decision makers. They know their bodies and we give them tools, the space, and the opportunity to really pay attention and practice yoga in a way that is right for them.
Here is a quick video to help you get more of a sense for what you can expect to learn in my upcoming Mama Tree teacher training:
Got more questions about prenatal training? Please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep Learning → Join me in my upcoming 5 day Mama Tree Prenatal Yoga Immersion at Yoga Tree from October 12 – 16, 2016. This 45-hour comprehensive Level 1 training will include how to teach yoga to women in all stages of pregnancy and throughout the early stages of postpartum.
Sign up HERE.
About the Author:
About the Author: Jane Austin has worked with pregnant women and their families since 1990. She is a certified yoga teacher and trainer. Jane is the founder and director of Mama Tree, a prenatal yoga school dedicated to educating yoga teachers, doulas and midwives on how to use the tools of yoga to support pregnant women and new moms in all stages of the childbearing year and beyond. She weaves her experience as a midwife, doula, childbirth educator and mother into her work.
Jane is the perinatal director of Yoga Tree in San Francisco and teaches yoga to over 200 mamas a week. Her mission is to offer women a mindful, supportive and nourishing environment using both humor and compassion to create a sacred but authentic place to connect to themselves and their babes inside and out. Learn more at janeaustinyoga.com.