Can You Do Vinyasa Yoga While Pregnant (Modification Tips)

Yoga is a great way to move, stretch, and connect to your breath and your body during pregnancy.

In fact, many expectant moms try yoga for the very first time during pregnancy because it’s such a safe form of exercise!

Vinyasa yoga, however, is considered one of the more demanding styles of yoga. So, you may be wondering – can you do vinyasa yoga while pregnant?

As a general rule, the most important thing is that you’re taking every opportunity to listen to your body and tune into what it needs throughout the class. If a certain pose doesn’t feel right in your body, avoid or modify it for something that serves you better at that time.

With that in mind, we’ll explain a few of the most crucial modification tips for you to consider during your next vinyasa class.

What’s the Difference Between Prenatal Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga?

Prenatal yoga

Prenatal yoga is designed specifically for women during pregnancy. This means that poses, transitions, breathing techniques, and relaxation elements are all suitable for pregnancy.

As well as being a great way to relax, prenatal yoga will also equip you with tools that can support you during pregnancy, labor, and birth. You’re sure to learn a few calming tricks that will help you on your parenting journey too!

On the other hand, Vinyasa yoga is considered a moving meditation whereby you transition into a new pose with each inhale and exhale. Although this might be accessible depending on your unique pregnancy, it can be fairly challenging.

What Style of Yoga Can I Practice While Pregnant?

During yoga, it’s considered safe to practice Hatha and vinyasa yoga with modifications to keep you and your baby safe and avoid injury. We’ll discuss the most important modifications you need to consider in this post.

Related: How to Modify Yoga for Pregnancy (12 Important Tips)

Prenatal yoga and restorative yoga are two styles of yoga that are ideal for pregnancy. While prenatal yoga is designed to support your growing body, restorative yoga is a restful practice that will bring your nervous system into complete bliss.

Yoga Nidra is a form of meditation and is another great option if you want to continue your practice during pregnancy.

Although yin yoga is slow and floor-based, the long and deep stretches can make it unsuitable during pregnancy.

Tips for Practicing Vinyasa Yoga While Pregnant

If you wish to continue with your vinyasa practice during pregnancy, here are eight tips and modifications to make your practice safer and more comfortable.

1. You don’t need to “complete” the class

Although it can be natural to challenge yourself to do your “best” during a vinyasa yoga class, this is not the purpose of yoga. And it’s particularly important to remember during pregnancy.

Head to your yoga classes with the intention to listen to your body, rest when you need to, and even leave the class early if you feel that your body has had enough.

2. Bring your water bottle with you

Drink water during pregnancy

Although some teachers recommend avoiding water during class, this is not something you must attempt during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, you need more water than the average person. So keep that water bottle next to you and sip away whenever you can. You’ll also want to ensure you’re hydrating in the lead-up to and after class.

3. Use props

Use props during pregnancy

Props will become your best yoga friends during pregnancy and are nothing to be ashamed of. They are a wonderful way to adjust poses to the uniqueness of your body and make yoga classes feel more accessible.

For example, when you can no longer touch the floor during your forward folds, simply add blocks beneath each hand and bring the floor to you!

Cushions, bolsters, and pillows can also make floor-based poses more comfortable for your pregnant body and help you relax.

4. Make room for your baby

As your belly grows, you’ll need to modify vinyasa yoga poses to make more room for your baby. This means avoiding twists that put pressure on your abdomen – such as revolved chair pose and revolved triangle pose.

You’ll also want to adopt a wider stance during forward folds and seated forwards folds.

Wide legged forward bend

Cushions, blocks, and bolsters can come in quite handy during floor-based poses that might otherwise put pressure on your tummy. In child’s pose, for example, you can place a bolster below your chest and head so that your baby has more room.

5. Avoid intense core work

Whether or not it’s safe to practice core work during pregnancy will depend on your body and strength before pregnancy. As a general rule, avoid up-facing core work and modify belly-down poses – for example, bring your knees to the ground during plank pose or practice side plank instead.

Related: What Yoga Poses to Avoid When Pregnant (With Safe Alternatives)

If you notice that your abdomen is coning when practicing belly-down core work, move away from the pose.

Here are a couple of alternative poses that you can practice during core work in a vinyasa class:

  • Come into cat-cow pose and practice tucking and untucking your tailbone
  • Come to a cross-legged position and focus on growing tall through the spine
  • Practice kegels
  • Come to a cross-legged position and practice gentle core work – inhale to expand your belly and exhale to gently bring your baby towards your spine, keeping your core engaged for ten breaths.

6. Listen to your body

Sometimes, what’s deemed ‘safe’ might not be comfortable or feel good in your body. The most important thing is to listen to your body and avoid or adjust poses whenever they don’t feel right, even if it’s a pose deemed ‘suitable’ during pregnancy.

Child's pose

If, during your vinyasa class, you find yourself struggling to keep up, feeling uncomfortable, or getting out of breath, spend a few minutes in a seated position or child’s pose and breathe until you feel ready to continue.

7. Approach classes with an open mind

Approach vinyasa yoga classes with an open mind and the understanding that you might not be able to complete the class or practice every pose.

During pregnancy, your body is changing every day, and, as such, it will be like practicing with a new body each time you join a class! This isn’t a reason to berate yourself but an opportunity to connect with your body on a deeper level.

8. Don’t compare yourself

Although it can be tempting to take a quick glance around the class and see how everyone else is doing with their practice, remember that this time is about you. Many teachers like to specify that the poses they give you are only suggestions – take the class as your own and don’t compete with yourself or anyone else.

The more you listen to your body, the more you’ll enjoy your practice!

The Takeaway

Whether or not it’s safe to continue your vinyasa practice during pregnancy will depend on many factors.

The most important thing to consider is that you’re prioritizing your body over the sequence of the class. If something doesn’t feel right, modify the movement or practice an alternative pose that feels more comfortable.

Related: Can I Do Hot Yoga While Pregnant? (Important Safety Tips)

Always consult your doctor, midwife, or healthcare professional before starting any form of exercise during pregnancy.

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