Is doing yoga teacher training during pregnancy safe?

The answer to the question of doing YTT while pregnant is not black and white. In fact, I’ve heard an array of answers ranging from, ‘How dare she sign up for YTT while pregnant!’ to, ‘Of course she can do YTT if she’s pregnant.’ The point here is that every yoga teacher training school has a completely different opinion on this topic so if you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant during yoga school, it is essential that you check with the school’s policy on this topic before signing up. It is also essential that you get the okay from your doctor and that your due date is way past the completion date of your teacher training. You don’t want to get stuck in a situation where your training gets interrupted because your baby decided to make a slightly early appearance.

Once you’ve received the ok from the doc and the yoga school, look into what your potential yoga program includes. I believe one of the main reasons theories around YTT and pregnancy differ so greatly is because the amount of strenuous physical asana and pranayama work varies significantly from program to program. Some programs focus mainly on the esoteric and philosophical component of yoga while others are strictly posture-based.

Something else to consider is if the training is hot; it may be a heated style of yoga or it may be in a hot environment like Costa Rica or India. When a woman is pregnant, her internal temperature is already higher so this would add an extra challenge to the mix. Also, pay attention to how much yoga experience you have. If you feel confident on your mat, chances are you’ll be more present in your practice and therefore able to pay more attention to your growing body’s needs. If you haven’t got a regular yoga practice under your belt, I’d recommend holding off on taking a yoga teacher training at this point as managing your body’s changes and learning the yoga postures from scratch could be overwhelming.

One of the fear-based myths that arises in prenatal yoga is that you can’t twist, backbend, lie on your belly, lie on your back, lie on your right side, hold your breath, invert, balance, and, well, about a hundred other things. Every woman is different. What may be the truth for one pregnant woman may not be the truth for the pregnant woman beside her. Plenty of women do all of the above contraindications without any problems whatsoever; the key determining safety factor is awareness. So long as a woman is present and mindful in her body she can do anything she feels comfortable doing.

Nevertheless, the above precautions are in place because mindfulness isn’t always easy! In yoga, as in life, t’s really important to pay attention to your body and your boundaries.

With all of this in mind, being pregnant during YTT can be a powerful experience. It’s a great opportunity to educate the other students in the group on how to take care of a pregnant woman when they’re teaching their future yoga classes. YTT can also be a transformational time so coupled with the life-giving experience of pregnancy, it can really be extra potently profound.


photo credit: Brian Tomlinson via Flickr (cropped)

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