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Often in my pregnancy classes when we introduce ourselves, I ask my mamas if they have practiced yoga before and often we have referred to any other yoga class, other than pregnancy yoga, as “normal yoga”. And we didn’t mean it in a negative way or to say that pregnancy yoga is not normal. It’s is actually a more than normal class you would want to choose to take if you were pregnant.
What I would like to differentiate is a pregnancy yoga class and a Vinyasa or Hatha class practiced whilst pregnant. There is a bit of this trend going on I noticed: you have your new to yoga, pregnant woman who takes up pregnancy yoga classes or the very experienced practitioner who might still want to have her regular practice but modified under the guidance of a teacher who knows her practice and is comfortable having her in class. I feel like I need a flow chart here because these 2 women will take different directions. The first one, depending on whether she started to really enjoy yoga whilst pregnant, she might take up “normal yoga” after birth, or she might not because she was just doing yoga to support her pregnancy. The experienced yogi might never want to go to a pregnancy class because too easy, or she might actually start to realise that a gentler practice that highlights the more feminine energy, softness and connection is needed as much as a modified vinyasa class.

Most women will fall somewhere in these categories and here is what I’d like to say to both. If you are starting yoga for the first time in the company of bump, I am so glad that this event in your life has made you discover yoga. The tools that you can access through mindful breathing, steadiness of the mind and slowing down the nervous system are priceless. And I hope your journey carries on to a “normal yoga” class where you can cultivate those qualities further. If your are an experienced yogi and your immediate thought is how am I going to invert and sustain a strong practice as I get heavier and heavier, stop for a second, your approach can be different. I know this type of woman very well. If your regular teacher is comfortable having you practice with her/him and your body is benefiting from the movement and the positive effect attending the class has on your overall sanity, do it. Your baby is going to benefit from those happy hormones. But experienced yogi, I strongly encourage you to also come to a pregnancy class because you probably need that just as much. It might play out a little different for you. Slowing down your practice and giving up a little bit of that masculine strength for a more feminine soft quality, will give you a taster of parenthood. You might feel slightly resentful for not being able to dissipate all your energy and breath on your mat but you are there to experience something different: to learn how to conserve your energy, to let go, to be okay with not always having it how you want it, to slow down, to connect with baby and other women. There might be a time when you don’t have time to do both and you’ll have to choose and your instincts from the moment you are pregnant, are heightened and need you to trust them. So trust you’ll make the right decision for yourself and for your body.