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Ecstatic Yoga Workbook

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Analytics Workbook
Prenatal Yoga

EY Yoga and Pregnancy


In healthy pregnant woman yoga alliance claims the practice of yoga as safe and beneficial, with the consent of your doctor, or health care practitioner.  


If you have already been practicing yoga and your body has a familiarity with the poses and practice, then practicing yoga will be a gentle easy transition, using the contraindications and modifications needed. If you are new to yoga as a pregnant mother you will need to take extra care and practice beginner poses, yin practices and pay special attention to the contraindications and modifications. Always listen to your body and take special care to honor and nurture your body.


As you practice prenatal yoga honor any time your body needs a break and pause your practice and rest. You don’t need to keep up with a class… it is always your practice. Pay special attention to allowing verses forcing and striving… create gentle openings.



Benefits of Prenatal Yoga


-Prepare the body for labor


-Builds pelvic strength


-Creates better focused discipline and concentration for the 9 months of pregnancy, while in labor and as a mother with your baby.


-Relieves tension in the pelvis while inviting the cervix to relax and open.


-Maintaining strength, balance, flexibility for quicker recovery after pregnancy.


-Improves sleep, which you will need.


-May help nausea and back aches


-Can reduce stress during pregnancy, labor and as a new mother.


-May relieve depression from hormone fluctuations, helping to balance and support the body systems back to their natural harmony, as well as raising the vibration to higher more elevated states.


-Meditation practice can create peaceful calm and positive endorphins for you and your baby.


-Stretching the body regularly can help during labor.


-Breathing practices/pranayama keeps the energy body clean as well as the toxins regularly cleaned out of the body. Cleaner, healthier, vitality filled blood for the baby.


-Emotional support practicing the philosophy principles of becoming one with the eternal Self. Being the witness to the distractions of the mind, deepening our own self love… yoke with our Divine Self more deeply and deeply in love. This sends positive vibrations to the baby, less time for distraction and mental disturbance and more time vibrating in present moment peace.


We advise all pregnant woman to talk to your doctor or health care practitioner and get their advice about practicing yoga during your pregnancy.


Contraindications for Prenatal Yoga

Always get the advice of your doctor

-If yoga is new to you, let your doctor know and get the advice of your doctor.

-If your health is not vibrant and you are dealing with health issues get the advice of your doctor

-Avoid any/all poses that puts pressure on the abdomen

-Avoid all breath retention like viloma or forced breathing, vitalizing pranayama like bastrika.

-Avoid supine poses (Laying on the back for only short periods)

-Avoid belly down poses

-Avoid twists at the abdominal area, standing, seated or supine. Avoid twists completely during your first trimester. Practice only open twists 2nd & 3rd with approval of your doctor.

-Avoid strenuous or advanced poses that create stress or heat in the body.

-Avoid balancing poses that are challenging (Use a modification or wall support)

-Avoid extended inversion poses (I cut my inversion time in half when I was pregnant)

-Avoid deep backbends (No need to over stretch abdominal muscles)

-Avoid any pose that affects the blood pressure either too high or too low.

-Avoid feet closer than hip width apart in standing poses (Widen stance)

-Avoid hot yoga


Contraindication Discussion:


Lifestyle and General Health

Like a lot of things… running, pilates as well as yoga can be continued during periods of your pregnancy if it is already an established lifestyle practice. I ran track in high school and college so I ran up to six months pregnant… however, I had been running most my life. I wouldn’t recommend a pregnant mother to run if she her body wasn’t used to it and in the practice for several years. With yoga if you are new you can begin with a prenatal class or a yin or restore and see how your body feels. For most healthy woman gentle stretching and embodiment will be good for both mom and baby.

Yoga can provide great benefits for a smoother pregnancy and labor by keeping the body flexible, open, strong and the mind calm.  Although there are still modifications to make and things to avoid. If you are struggling with health concerns, limitations, issues get the advice of your doctor.


Abdominal Strain or Pressure

We begin mindful of where the baby is growing… the sacred abdominal area.

Any pose that puts pressure on this area should be avoided. Belly down poses during pregnancy are contraindicated, especially after week 4 to avoid putting any pressure on the abdomen area. As your pregnancy progresses the less you will want to be on your belly as it can constrain or put pressure on the uterus.

It is not recommended to do anything stressful in the abdominal area. avoid abdominal work outs like sit ups, crunch’s, boat crunch’s, plank push-ups… in plank come down to the knees rather than full plank… no plank push ups. Poses like crow should be avoided completely.


Breath Retention, extended holding of the breath or asana

When we are pregnant holding the breath for even a short period of time can decrease the oxygen levels in the blood briefly, and even a momentary drop in oxygen is not good for the baby. This can be a risk for the baby because any oxygen decrease or deficiency in the blood can cause a deficiency in the forming cells of the baby’s body.


Laying on your back

Unless you have a waterbed or very early in pregnancy you will find laying on both the stomach and back a contraindication. On the abdomen you don’t want to put any pressure on the abdomen, and laying on the back as the weight of the uterus increases, can put pressure on the vena cava, the largest vein in your body that carries blood flow from the extremities of the body back to the heart.

With the extra weight of the amniotic fluid, placenta, and baby, pressure can be exerted on the vena cava when laying on the back. Normally when you are not pregnant this isn’t a problem, yet it is a problem with the increased weight of the uterus pressing against the vena cava. Pressure on the vena cava due to the extra weight of carrying a baby can restrict blood flow to and from the uterus, which can affect the baby. Pressure on the vena cava can also decrease blood flow to the mother’s brain creating brain fog, depression, or dizziness. None of this is good for the baby or mom.

There are some modifications to enjoy a comfortable savasana, props and pillows truly save the day… early in pregnancy using props and pillows on your back may work always with the advice of your doctor. Also laying on your side with props and pillows, using props and pillows. You can place a pillow between your legs as you lay on your side, as well as a pillow for your head. Options for savasana pose is laying on your side, seated savasana or a reclined goddess with pillows.



Twists occur in that same abdominal area where the baby is located, therefore it is recommended to not do twists in the abdominal area. Gently twisting of the ankles, wrists, neck, shoulders can be beneficial. If you wish to add some twists later in your pregnancy modify all your abdominal twists to be open not closed twists and twist at the shoulder level rather than the abdominals.


Advanced Poses

Avoid any and all poses that are strenuous, overexert or puts the body in pain or stress. Advanced poses have more risk of injury and that is not a risk you want to take with a passenger inside your belly. Any pose that increases the blood pressure above normal or causes overheating or dizziness is not recommended. Sticking to easier, more restorative poses will create far more benefit for mom and baby than advanced and strenuous poses.


Balancing poses

Key point is if there is any risk of falling, avoid balancing poses while pregnant. If you have been mastering and practicing balancing poses prior to pregnancy, with a doctor’s approval you may continue, and it is recommended that you have a wall, chair or something solid to hold if needed. It is not worth taking any chances when you are pregnant. When you are pregnant, even if you have been practicing balancing poses prior you must be aware that the center of gravity in your body shifts while pregnant. Be mindful of that shift while practicing balancing poses during pregnancy. Crow would be a balance you would want to avoid during pregnancy.

When I was pregnant, although I rode my bike almost every day since I was 5 years old… I didn’t ride it my entire pregnancy. I felt if I fell off my bike pregnant it could be far more than a skinned knee… it could affect the baby. Be cautious and honest about your level of mastery in balancing poses before practicing while pregnant… always have a support (Wall or chair) available during practice.


Extended Inversions

Inversions unless in your practice before pregnancy should be avoided. Balancing inversions like headstand should be avoided, however if already masterful, practice only for very short time period and against a wall to support you confidently. Any extended time inverted is not recommended for pregnant woman. Always get your doctor or health care practitioners advice before practicing any inversion.


Deep backbends

Backbends move the spine into extension and actually extend and stretch the abdominal muscles. Deep backbends can actually stretch the abdominal muscles more than is needed while pregnant. During pregnancy diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles can occur if over stretching the abdominals.


Blood Pressure

Any yoga practice that elevates or decreases the blood pressure out of the normal healthy range should be avoided. Keeping the mother’s blood pressure at healthy rage is important for a healthy pregnancy.


Feet close together

To help with balance and to create space for the belly it is advised to bring the feet into a wider than normal stance in standing or forward folding poses.


Hot yoga

It is important that a pregnant woman’s body temperature does not exceed 102 during pregnancy for any extended time or it can affect the baby. Hot yoga is not advised because it can elevate the body temperature above normal. Also, hot yoga can dehydrate the body quickly if you are not careful with liquids, both over heating and dehydration are not good for a developing fetus.

Modifications for Pregnancy

-Savasana/Relaxation props: use of pillows under the body, you can create an elevated bolster using blocks underneath, the one closest flat and the further standing. Using a bolster or pillow under the knees and pillow under the back, reclined goddess with pillows and props.

-Savasana on our side; you can use a pillow or bolster between your knees and use a pillow or block to rest your head.

-Balancing poses: use a wall, chair or solid support to hold to help maintain your balance

-Uttasana, forward folds both seated and standing you can widen the feet for more stability and allow more space for the baby. You can even point the toes outward for more stability. Discover what creates the best balance and adjust the feet accordingly. Feet will need to be further apart than normal for better balance and creating space for the belly. As you progress in your pregnancy you will find you may increase your stance for more space and stability.

-Seated sukhasana or easy pose: bring a pillow under the back part of the buttocks to elevate the hips and create a slight forward tilt in the pelvis for best comfort.

-Twists: practice only twists at areas of the body other than the abdominal area avoiding any constriction in the baby bump area. Practice open twists where the baby bump is completely free from any twisting, avoiding all twists during the 1st trimester.  An open twist is where the abdomen is open, no knees or arms twisting over, the twist occurring in the shoulder and clavicular area not the belly. Twist to the opposite side rather than over a leg or arm. Abdominal twists, unless open can restrict the area the baby is growing and it can constrict blood flow to the precious infant.

-Plank: either avoid if strain to the stomach muscles or move into half plank with knees to the ground so as not to stress the abdominal muscles. Then come chin and chest, while hovering rather than coming to rest the belly on the ground. Simply swing into an up dog.

-Childs pose; coming into a child’s pose by first opening the knees wide, so the belly can rest between the knees, and there is no pressure on the belly. Once you have a space for the belly between the knees, then lower down into the child’s pose.

-Deeper backbends can be modified by practicing gentler backbends like a supported bridge, gently baby cobra, and fish stretching only the upper thoracic backbend. Rather than the full camel, wheel, bridge or dancer pose you can go into a half pose with less extension of the spine. Use blocks under the hands for up dog to open up the chest and lift the body for more space total unrestricting of the belly. Supported or gentle bridge can be a modified backbend. Cow is also a great modification for backbends as the extension is gentler than other backbends and combined with cat can create flexibility in the spine which will help with pregnancy.

In a camel pose you can move into a slight backbend, bring your hands on the small of your back rather than down to your heals. Pay attention to your limits and back off if needed.

-A good modification for inversions is legs up the wall with the back propped up on a bolster. You can also use blocks to elevate the bolster even more.


Contraindicated poses


Seated, knee down, and all closed abdominal twists. Revolved triangle, revolved side angle, revolved chair.


Supine/reclined laying on the back poses

Savasana/Relaxation without props, baby/happy baby, reclined hero, reclined cobbler, reclined

twists, reclined bound angle/ butterfly, reclined hand to foot, plow pose,


Belly Down Poses

Bow, locust, sphinx, cobra


Abdominal work

Boat, crunch’s


Deep backbends

Camel, wheel, bow, up dog, fish



Headstand, handstand, half shoulder stand



Crow, headstand… any balance that is not supported.

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Pranayama analytic


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Pranayama Practice

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