Bikram yoga during pregnancy

This information is for women who wish to get the full benefits of practising Bikram Yoga during pregnancy. There are a number of modifications to the standard Bikram yoga postures outlined below.

If you are a regular student before your pregnancy you can just continue with your practice if you feel ok, or you can wait for the first 12 weeks and then start again with the modified postures.

If you have never practiced Bikram yoga before then start after the first 12 weeks – stand by the door or window.

Guidelines for Bikram Yoga during pregnancy

There are a number of benefits of practising Bikram yoga during pregnancy including developing a strong mind, aiding digestion and strengthening your back. Some things to keep in mind if practising Bikram yoga while you are pregnant are;

  • Pregnancy causes pressure on the diaphragm/heart – no postures should be done that cause compression in these areas
  • Moderate heat is OK from the beginning
  • Don’t push hips forward
  • Keep breathing normally – never hold the breath
  • Feet should be separated slightly in standing postures
  • Breathing exercises are good for heartburn and baby hiccups in the stomach
  • When coming up – bend the knees to relieve back pressure

Modified Yoga Postures for Pregnancy

Standing Postures

  • Half Moon – separate feet slightly
  • Padahastasana – separate feet 3 feet and grab sides of feet – not heels
  • Awkward – can do against wall to support back and hips; on the 3rd part don’t push knees together – keep slightly apart
  • Eagle – do not need to sit all the way down, most important is the twist like ropes
  • Standing Bow – great posture for pregnancy; stand against the wall for balance if necessary
  • Balancing Stick – if they can’t stretch arms forward, hands can stay in prayer position at chest
  • Separate Leg Stretching – coming down, walk hands down thighs and hands on the floor in the center is OK or sides of foot
  • Triangle – done normally; excellent external and internal stretch
  • Tree – good for stretching the pelvic area

Floor Postures

  • Wind Removing – knees always slightly bent; when both legs up – pull knees down on sides of belly
  • Savasana – on the side; one arm up and opposite knee bent
  • Fish Pose – instead of Cobra
  • Bridge – helps with elasticity of ribcage/lungs/breathing improves
  • Sitting Locust – done on hands and knees; between sets – just sit back on the heels
  • Fixed Firm – done the same
  • Half Tortoise – done with knees open
  • Camel – can keep hands on hips instead of holding heels
  • NO Rabbit
  • Separate Leg Head to Knee stretch – good for thyroid and diabetes problems which can develop during pregnancy; for 3rd part legs should be separated and reach arms to toes
  • Gentle pose – feet soles together and gently press knees down
  • Half Spinal Twist – bottom leg straight out
  • Yoga Mudra – sit half lotus; fingers interlaced under belly for support; spine straight; inhale 6 counts/hold 6 counts/exhale 6 counts


Rajashree's Pregnancy Yoga DVD

For more information about doing yoga during pregnancy, I highly recommend Rajashree’s Pregnancy DVD, available to purchase at the studio for $40.

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