Prenatal & Postpartum Yoga Classes
Berkeley Parents Network >
Classes & Lessons >
Prenatal & Postpartum Yoga Classes
Which yoga is the best fit during pregnancy?
Curious about which yoga classes/styles may be best fit
mama to be
7th Heaven Yoga with Debra Saliby. I completely enjoyed her class and
took them through both of my pregnancies. I dealt with the pain and
was so calm during my second labor that I ended up being so
comfortable at home and managed my pain so well, I left for the
hospital too late and ended up having the baby in the car! I learned
so many relaxation techniques and I think my body was just so geared
up for it. I would highly recommend these classes.
Baby on Board
Check out Cynthea Denise's prenatal yoga classes.
This place has great prenatal yoga classes:
I went there last year when I was pregnant, had no prior
yoga experience and really enjoyed the teachers and classes.
I took classes at yogalayam.org for the last 6 months of my pregnancy.
Saraswati is amazing! She's very knowledgable about women's pregnant
bodies & what you should & shouldn't do. She also know a lot about
pregnancy nutrition which you'll get tid bits of throughout the class.
I always walked out feeling great! I go to postnatal classes now with
my 11 week old baby. They ate equally ad great & it's really fun to
see mom & babies I did the prenatal classes with.
Prenatal yoga is a great form of exercise, especially for
the last half of pregnancy, but you do need to take special
precautions. Because pregnancy hormones relax ligaments and
other connective tissues, you want to make sure that you
always feel stretches in the belly of your muscles, NOT your
Flow style yoga classes, where the body is moving easily
from pose to pose, are ideal. Static standing poses, if done
for more that a few minutes, can cause pooling of the blood
in in the legs which can cause dizziness and possibly fainting. Since
pregnancy continually change the body's center of
gravity as your baby grows, one-leg poses should be done
with one hand on the wall, or a chair, etc. to prevent loss
To prevent, or lessen the severity of diastasis recti
(abdominal separation) you should not perform spine twists,
back bends, and some forms of belly breathing after 20 weeks
gestation. NEVER forcefully expand the lower abdomen during
inhalation as this places too much strain on the linea alba,
the connective tissue that runs down the center of your
belly and can cause a diastasis to occur.
All pregnant women should strengthen the deepest abdominal
muscle, the Transverse Abdominis, or TvA, to help prevent
diastasis recti, back pain, and pelvic instability. Because
the TvA is also the major expulsion muscle, building
strength in this muscle greatly aids in the pushing phase of
Four, safe TvA exercises for pregnancy can be found on page:
All lotus type poses place torque on the lateral ligaments
of the ankle and are not advisable during pregnancy.
''Hot'' yoga styles like Bikram classes are also not advisable
Ojas Yoga Center is a wonderful, fairly new, yoga studio in the El
Cerrito Plaza run by Nicole Becker. It is located on the second
floor, above the GNC store and Trader Joes..........near Gymboree
(another resource after your baby arrives). I'm not sure offhand
about the times of the prenatal yoga class, but I highly recommend the
studio. I take classes from 6 different teachers and love the
atmosphere and calm of the studio. www.ojasyogacenter.com or
I recommend Amanda Nube's classes. She teaches at Yoga Kula in N.
Berkeley and elsewhere I think. Her classes are a balanced blend of
relaxing and strengthening. I also learned about my body and posture.
She has a lot of experience with pregnancy and birth, and her hands-on
help was very supportive. Her classes really helped me through my
pregnancy. I recommend her. Check out her website is
Low-key prenatal yoga class?
I'd love to hear your recent recommendations for a low-key
prenatal yoga class for an out-of-shape, 2nd time
mama-to-be. I have no big fitness goals, nor do I
necessarily need pregnancy and childbirth advice (although
fitness and advice/support are nice things), just looking to
stretch & relax with also-pregnant company.
I'm in North Oakland, so that or adjacent neighborhoods
would be ideal. Looking for Moments of Calm in 2nd Tri
Hi, I am 7 months pregnant and just started taking the
prenatal yoga classes at YogaMandala on Telegraph at Stuart.
I was not looking for a hyperfitness experience, nor a
meditation class. I was looking for some good stretching and
relaxing with accompanying strengthening. I have liked both
instructors here and there are 4 classes offered a week. You
can get a very good deal for unlimited prenatal classes for
$200 (not as good a deal for me with only 10 weeks left as
for you, but pretty good nonetheless). You can also buy a
new-student 3-class pass for $30 and trade it up for the
full prenatal pass if you decide you like it. That's what I
did. Look them up on line for most of the info you need.
Good luck. Tasha
I took pre and postnatal (Mom/baby) yoga classes at Mountain
Yoga in Montclair. Anja Borgstrom is the teacher for both
those classes, among others, and she is great-and low key. The
prenatal class I was in had first, second and third time
mamas of all shapes/sizes. Give it a try.
yoga is my sanity
I would recommend Kat's prenatal class at Yoga Mandala on
Telegraph Ave in Berkeley. Kat is terrific, check-in's are quick
and the yoga is gentle and for all types. I can't say enough about
Kat, she was very in touch and compassionate and always made sure
we were doing poses within our individual comfort zone. There was
never any pressure to do more, in fact it was geared toward really
listening to your body and not over doing anything. I took all my
classes with her and just can't say enough how great she was.
Jessica also teaches prenatal classes and is the prenatal director
at Yoga Mandala but I do not think from your post that you would
benefit from her class. She spends over half the class talking and
giving pregnancy and post pregnancy advice and out of the hour and
half class you might get a half hour of yoga in. That was not what
I went to yoga for so I avoided her classes. Two each her own.
Two recommendations for pre-natal yoga (and one for post-
natal). In N. Oakland, Yogalayam is great. I went for my 1st
pregnancy, but I think would be just as nice for 2nd. Touchy-feely
(in a good way) and calming. Check the website for more info. I
also enjoyed 7th Heaven in Berkeley on 7th Street near Ashby (so
not too far from Oakland...).
For post-natal I HIGHLY recommend Melanie Green's class at
Berkeley Yoga Center on Addison & Bonar in Berkeley (near
University and Sacramento). That class is fantastic. I went with
my 1st and 2nd child. (I see she has pre-natal too, so that would
probably also be worth checking out if it fits into your
Prenatal yoga recs (El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley)
I'm looking for prenatal yoga recommendations in the El
Cerrito/Albany/Berkeley area. Or other prenatal exercise
class recommendations are also welcome!
Thanks so much,
I am currently almost 9 months pregnant. While I haven't had as much time as I
had hoped for prenatal exercise classes, I have heard amazing things about the
Berkeley YMCA's prenatal yoga class. For full disclosure, I am the Childwatch
program director at the YMCA. In my work, I often hear expecting parents rave
about the prenatal offerings at our Y. Most notably, a new mom recently told me
that going to the yoga class really helped her during her labor. Between
breathing techniques, relaxation, and stretching and body positions, the class
was a tremendous resource for her. Personally, I most enjoy our prenatal water
classes and have enjoyed meeting other pregnant women due around the same time I
In fact, many new parents stay in touch with the women they meet in our prenatal
classes. Also, once you have your baby, you may consider your post-natal workout
options at our branch. Between swimming, small group personal training, dance
classes, yoga, pilates, individual personal training, and much, much more, we
have a variety of fitness options.
In addition, we have a wonderful childcare program for babies as young as 8 weeks
old! We would welcome you and your growing family to our branch and
childcare/family programs! For more information about our prenatal classes,
please refer to our website, or feel free to contact me directly.
I took the prenatal yoga through Alta Bates. you can find the info on their
website. I loved the teacher, she is experienced, a mom herself and very caring.
The class is offered in the evening, unlike many classes. So I was able to attend
after work. Each class we had a chace to share how we were doing. She integrated
music, breathing, and relaxation into the practice to help prepare for labor. In
the nice summer days we would sometimes go outside. The class is not too
expensive $12 and I looked forwrd to it each week. I am still friends with two
women I meet through the class.
I recommend Cybele Tomlinson's prenatal yoga classes at the Berkeley Yoga Center
(in North Berkeley next to Strawberry Creek Park). She is an experienced yoga
teacher, mother, and former doula. I went to her classes all through my
pregnancy and always left feeling wonderful, both physically and emotionally.
Hands down best yoga studio for moms & families is Yogalayam! They have prenatal,
postnatal, children, parent- toddler, yoga for disabilities,and more. Their
postnatal class even includes childcare! The director, Saraswathi Devi is
amazing. Check out their website or call 510 655
i can highly recommend my regular yoga class which is on sundays at 5 pm at the
albany ymca. it is not a prenatal class but i did it the entire time i was
pregnant and postpartum and it was great! i actually tried a prenatal class
thinking i was missing something not being with other pregnant moms, but i found
it quite boring and too slow. it is a level one class but there are mixed level
people within the class. the teacher jenni is wonderful and very gentle and
intuitive and is currently pregnant herself! she can give you all the
modifications to do while pregnant. its at least worth a try to see if you like
It's not specifically a pre-natal yoga class, but our lovely teacher at the
Sunday evening Albany Y yoga class is pregnant herself, and also taught through
most of her first pregnancy a few years ago. Her name is Jenny, and it's a great
class. You might check it out and see if it would suit you.
Pre-natal classes near San Leandro
We've recently moved to San Leandro, and I'd like to find a
recommended yoga studio with prenatal classes not too far away.
South Oakland or even Alameda might be ok, but it would be much
easier not to have to drive to Berkeley or Piedmont Ave, etc.
There is a terrific pre-natal yoga class at the Alameda Yoga Station
(www.alamedayogastation.com) on Sundays 1:15-2:45!
loved my pre-natal yoga class
Prenatal classes in the east bay
I'm new to the area and looking for suggestions for good prenatal yoga
classes in the east bay. I work full time so weekend or even early
early (6am) classes are best for me.
thanks so much!
Check Yoga Room on College ave in Berkeley.They are really
good. I have been taking classes with Gay for last 3 years.
I tried many different studios and classes for pre-natal
yoga during my first pregnancy. I far and away prefered the
classes at 7th Heaven yoga in Berkeley. I wanted yoga for
the stretching and exercise, but found many of the classes
were more ''encounter group'' where 45 mins of the 1.5 hours
was going around the room introducing oneself and asking
questions, etc. Not true for the classes at 7th Heaven;
they were all about the yoga, but I learned EXTREMELY
helpful tips along the way...like how to get the baby off my
bladder just before bed so that I could pee once a night
instead of 5-6 times...
I also learned how to find the ''birth muscles'' so I could
use those to push instead of pushing like you have a bowel
movement...made the pushing MUCH easier, quicker and more
I am not an ''alternative'' person (meaning I was all about
pain medication, having the babies in the hospital, etc.)
and I felt very comfortable in these classes even though
most folks were of the home birth/hypnobirth variety. Going
in with an open mind, I learned a ton and feel that my birth
experience and (lack of) pain afterwards was much attributed
to the yoga and the classes at 7th Heaven.
I just checked their current schedule and they have one
class a week at night and one on Saturdays that might meet
your schedule. I particularly liked the classes with
Deborah Saliby. I took many from her my first and second
pregnancies. Good luck!!
Could someone refer me to a great yoga studio in the Alameda area that
offers prenatal yoga classes? In Alameda would be great, but I'm willing
to travel over into Oakland or Berkeley on a really great referral.
I took classes at the Alameda Yoga Station on Park Street. My teacher's name was
Jamie. She was wonderful and I felt great doing yoga during my pregnancy. I just
looked at the site and there is a new teacher but I'm sure they're all good. It's a
little pricey but worth it as a treat to yourself. The classes are fairly small and
when I went last year, they were on Saturdays. Here is the link for the schedule:
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
I am looking for any recommendations for prenatal yoga classes in the
walnut creek/pleasant hill/layfette/concord area. I am new to the area,
and looking for a class to both practice yoga (under new restrictions) and
meet other women in the area. So far everything on this website is
referencing yoga primarily in Berkeley/Oakland areas, which I will travel
to if necessary, but would prefer someting closer to home. Any thoughts?
Call the Women's Health Center in Walnut Creek. They have classes galore
for pregnant gals, including yoga:
(the catalog link is on the upper left as well)
Full disclosure: I work for John Muir and while my job is so-so, I adore
the Women's Health Center. Great people.
I've been going to a wonderful prenatal yoga class at World Yoga in Walnut
Creek. The instructor is a doula, and she has many helpful suggestions
about pregnancy, giving birth, etc.
Soon to be Mom
I can't seem to find a weekend prenatal yoga class in the North
everyone offers weeday evenings or middle of the day. I am six months
pregnant with my second son and for my first pregnancy I religiously went
to yoga in SF with Kari Marble - I love the community and had a
relatively easy birth. I'm looking for that same sense of community at a
time that is reasonable for us. Please send any suggestions - thanks
Saraswathi Devi teaches a wonderful, well-loved Prenatal Yoga class on
Saturdays from 10 AM to 12 Noon at Yogalayam. TherebNovs a second prenatal
class on Wednesdays at the same time. The classes help pregnant moms
strengthen our bodies, connect with our growing baby, receive a lot of
TLC, and meet one other. Saraswathi has supported hundreds of women to
become mothers and have a thriving yoga practice.
I also benefited from her other programs, such as Inner Approach to
Childbirth, CouplesbNov Bodywork and Massage for Pregnancy and Childbirth,
Infant Massage and Postnatal Yoga with moms and babies. She is very
knowledgeable about yoga and pregnancy and has taught for decades. The
atmosphere is very nurturing and community-oriented. Moms groups sometimes
spontaneously form in these classes. The classes provide great exercise
and meditation instruction and theybNovre full of useful information and
referrals. Good luck!
The address is 1723 Alcatraz Avenue, just West of Adeline in Berkeley. The
phone number is 510/655-3664. Email is email@example.com, web is
There is a great class on Wednesdays from 10:30-12 at Yoga Mandala in Berkeley. The woman
who teaches is Uma Kahn. She gave me excellent private lessons when I was pregnant with my
son and friends of mine who have gone to her class have really benefited. Following her
recommendations was one of the few things that helped relieve the nausea I had all
throughout my pregnancy. She's sensitive and intuitive without being new agey. The
web-site is www.yogamandalastudio.com
I've shopped around a bit, and my favorite, which is also the most rigorous prenatal yoga
class I've attended so far is Melanie's class at Berkeley Yoga Center, on Addison Street,
Thursdays 9:30-11am. Her background is in Ashtanga, she's a mother of two, she really knows
her stuff, and her class is a good workout. There's also less talking and more doing than
in some classes I've attended: www.berkeleyyoga.com.
happy yoga mama
For both my pregnancies, I took pre-natal yoga classes from Cynthea Denise. Cynthea is a
great teacher and is very involved with her community of moms-to-be and new moms. She was
also a Registered nurse for 23 years working in pediatrics and within the maternal/infant
health area, so she is very knowledgeable. Check out her website for a list of classes:
Can anyone recommend a prenatal yoga class in the El Cerrito / Berkeley area that
meets after work hours? Many classes seem to be at lunchtime, but I work in the City.
I've been gaining too much weight already (at 15 weeks) and need to limber up; I've
never tried yoga but it sounds great.
Jayme Pohl teaches a great Pre-Natal cass at the Alameda Yoga Station. The
class meets Saturdays 12:00 - 1:30 pm. It is fine for beginners and easy to
The best prenatal yoga that I have found is at Yogalayam in
Berkeley. There is a Saturday morning class that I went to
through much of my pregnancy. Saraswathi, who teaches the class,
is a bit of a legend and is a wealth of knowledge on pregnancy,
childbirth, etc. In addition to a great yoga class, she will
help you through the specific issues that come up with your
pregnancy -- for me it was ridiculous swelling of hands and feet
I attended both regular and pre-natal classes with Lori at Yoga for Life on
Solano in Albany, http://www.yogaforlifealbany.com/. Her prenatal classes are
indeed during the day but if you go to the evening yoga and let her know that
you are pregnant, she will let you know which poses not to do. Her classes are
very gentle and very beginner friendly. Tracey
I took classes from Cynthea Denise during both of my pregnancies. She is a smart,
patient, experienced teacher and great with beginners. She was a registered nurse for
23 years in the maternal/infant health and pediatric areas, so she also imparts some
really useful knowledge. I highly recommend her classes. She teaches at a number of
studios. Check out Cynthea's website: www.shaktimoon.com.
I would very very highly recommend Barbara Papini's class at the
Yoga Room in Berkeley. Barbara is a gifted teacher for any and
all levels. She is so caring and supportive. I started her
class when I was ~9weeks pregnant and went every week until 40
weeks. Then I took her postnatal class which is excellent, as
well. Can't recommend her highly enough.
I highly recommend Saraswathi Devi's prenatal yoga class at Yogalayam
(Alcatraz and MLK in Berkeley) - it's not a weekday evening, but it meets
Saturdays from 10am-12pm (also Wednesdays from 10a-12p for the lucky few who
don't have to work then). Saraswathi has been doing this for 35 years and is a
FOUNT of information about all things pregnancy related. She combines yoga
with meditation, acupressure, and even nutritional teaching and her classes
attract a wide variety of women of different sizes, shapes, abilities and SES.
It's a very relaxed and warm, supportive atmosphere. She also offers
postnatal, toddler and child yoga, and teaches yoga to people with
disabilities. I went for both my pregnancies, and even formed a moms support
group with several women I met there. Her classes are a real treat!
happy and healthy
Hello, has anyone out there tried the pre or post-natal yoga
classes at 7th heaven Studio, & if so, could you tell me what
you think of them?
I did Pre and post natal yoga at 7th Heaven, Betkeley Yoga
Center and 7th Heaven. Melanie Green at Berkely Yoga is the
best. She really knows birthing and helps new mama's prepare.
She is a kind and gentle women. Ada Shedlock (4th ST and
Alameda Yoga) teaches a awesome post natal to get you back in
shape. Mel's post natal is terrific also. 7th Heaven is my
The prenatal yoga class with Deborah Saliby at 7th Heaven is
good. Worth checking out. I also enjoy the Berkeley Y class
with Betsy Appell
I really liked the prenatal yoga at 7th Heaven with Deborah Saliby!
She is very good at
making the class what everyone needs. She also knows a lot about what
your body is
going through and what exercises / poses are good and bad for you at
this time. Half
way through our class she moved to Solano Ave, so I started to go
there. I only went to
two of the post natal classes at 7th Heaven with her due to schedule
wished I could have continued! It is so fun to go there with your
baby! 7th Heaven has
a very calming and inviting setting and everyone there is very
friendly and helpful
I have found both the pre- and post-natal classes at 7th Heaven to be
My first yoga experience was my first prenatal yoga class with Deborah
Saliby at 7th
Heaven. She is fabulous. She really knows how to work within the
bounds of the
pregnant body, and fosters a calm and meditative state encouraging you
with your body and unborn child. My pregnancy was amongst the most
times of my life (and I had an amazing amount of turmoil and stress
during those 9 months--father in the hospital, phd qualifying exams,
working 120 hours a week....), and attribute that to Deborah. I also
had an amazing
recovery time (I was out and about within days of giving birth). In
addition to the
physical and emotional/mental benefits, there is a strong sense of
togetherness amongst the mothers-to-be: my daughter is over three
and I still attend weekly mom get-togethers with other fellow yoga
began when we were all still pregnant! Postnatal is also great,
similar to prenatal--
fabulous for the body, great community (we go to lunch after class),
happy, healthy mom
If you do nothing else for yourself while pregnant, take Deborah
Saliby's pre-natal yoga class at 7th Heaven! When I started
looking for a yoga class when I was pregnant, every studio I
called said to find Deborah and take whatever classes she offers-
-they were so right! She is fabulous--kind, warm, friendly and
interested in you, your pregnancy and your baby-to-be. She's
also really good at making sure that you are correctly doing
poses and that they are safe for your changing body and your
baby. She has so much experience teaching prenatal yoga & with
her it's obvious that it's a calling, not just a job. (She is
also a HypnoBirthing instructor--visit her website at
www.envisionings.com.) I went to Deborah's classes regularly for
four months and credit them with helping me through a really
difficult labor and delivery. Thanks to my yoga practice, I was
strong, flexible and had endurance--I was able to try all sorts
of birthing positions, knew how to breathe to mitigate the pain
and relax. Deborah also has some pre-natal & birth-specific
meditation CDs that were great to practice with at home. It's
also a great place to meet other moms-to-be, about fifteen of us
have started a mom's group based on meeting one another in her
class that been going strong for almost eight months now. On
Wednesday mornings when Deborah does not teach, Anja offers
great pre- and post-natal classes on Wednesdays at 4th Street
yoga. Rosie, who teaches 7th Heaven's post-natal class, is also
Can anyone recommend a prenatal yoga class that is held on weekends? All of the
listings I've found are during the day on weekdays -- impossible if you have to be in
the office. I live in the Berkeley hills and am particularly interested in classes in
North Berkeley or near campus.
I would encourage you to join me at Berkeley Yoga Center Saturdays from 10:30-12:00 (Addison off Sacramento). Deborah Saliby is the Instructor, she teaches an amazing pre-natal classes during the week at 4th Street Yoga. This class is Intermediate Hatha not prenatal, but Deborah has been wonderful modifying poses.
You should give it a try, I'd be so grateful to have another pg person so I don't feel like such an anomoly
Her webisite with class schedules is http://www.envisionings.com/
If you'd prefer the bonding side of prenatal yoga, there are saturday morning classes at Berkeley YMCA and Piedmont Yoga in Oakland, but they seem to provide more chit chat than work out IMHO.
Hi. I took Barbara Papini's prenatal class at The Yoga Room on College @ Derby (in the Julia Morgan Building) during my pregnancy, Thursday evenings 5:45-7:15. It is probably hard for you to get out of work and to a class by 5:45 - but boy, it is so worth it. Barbara is such a good teacher and the class is so nurturing and she has you do REAL yoga. Her class was the highlight of my week during my pregnancy. Rinat firstname.lastname@example.org
It's not in Berkeley, but the Yoga Station on Park Street in Alameda has a pre-natal yoga class on Saturdays at 12:30. I went for both my pregnancies and I'm not claiming a direct correlation but with my first, I labored for 15 minutes and 3 pushes, and the 2nd was 8 min and 2 pushes. The instructor is wonderful - each class begins with a check in so she can tailor the poses, and ends with a 15 mins relaxation. I loved it.
I know this question has been asked many times before but there
just isn't that good of information in the archives. I am
looking for a prenatal yoga class preferably in Oakland. I
checked out Piedmont Yoga's schedule and the class days and
times are so limited. What are some of the other studios that
you are going to and are you finding more options in days and
Hoping to be Yoga Mamma
Ada Shedlock has a great prenatal class at the Alameda Yoga
Station on Saturdays 12:00 - 1:30 pm.
fellow mama yogi
Cynthea Denise (who teaches at Piedmont) also teaches a class
at Namaste in Rockridge Thursdays at 6 pm. If there is anyway
you ca make it to any of her classes, I would highly recommend
it. She is just fabulous!
I also took some Saturday classes with Saraswathi Devi at
Yogalayam on Alcatraz in Berkely.
I highly recommend prenatal yoga at Yogalayam at 1717 Alacatraz
(just below Adeline). Saraswathi Devi is the instructor and has
been leading prenatal yoga classes for years in this community.
She is so knowledgable, gentle and motivating. Prenatal yoga
classes are Wednesday and Saturday from 10-12. She also teaces a
postnatal class on Tues/Fri from 10-12 that is wonderful. The
first half hour is spent doing baby massage, the rest of the time
dedicated to yoga poses you can do with or without your baby.
Plus there are generally at least two helpers who walk around and
help with all the babies. They are so good with them.
They have information on line at yogalayam.org
The cost is $12 per class or $90 for 8 classes.
I took a number of prenatal classes at the Berkeley YMCA (yoga, dance and
swimming) and found them all to be a wonderful part of my pregnant months. I
HIGHLY recommend Betsy's prenatal yoga classes (I believe still offered on M and W).
Betsy is an experienced doula as well as a great yoga instructor. Her class is useful
on many levels - provides exercise, relaxation/meditation techniques for labor and
a chance to connect with other expectant moms. Also, if you are already an
experienced yoga practitioner, there are many other regular yoga classes that you
can attend. I did so throughout my pregnancy and found instructors (especially
Scotty and Nancy) to be extremely supportive and encouraging. They took time to
help me learn how to adapt poses for my growing body and made me feel
comfortable participating at my own pace. Another bonus of joining the Y: post-
natal classes were you can reconnect with all the moms (and babies!) from pre-
Mountain Yoga in Oakland (Montclair) is surprisingly easy to get
to via Hwy 24 & 13. Anja Borgstrom teaches a very gentle and
restorative prenatal class there on Sat. mornings. There are
many other great classes in reasonable proximity, though. Here
is a partial listing I made a few months ago--so double check the
days and times. I've found Melanie's class at Berkeley Yoga to
be the most challenging, with lots of great strengthening and
stretching that is appropriate for pregnancy (she recently had
two children herself).
For those looking for a pre-natal yoga class, I would highly
recommend Barbara Papini at the Yoga Room in Berkeley. She has
been teaching pre-natal yoga for 14 years and has 4 children (and
several grandchildren) of her own. She's caring, knowledgeable,
and supportive. I have learned so much about my changing body
and the birthing process from her. And the community of other
moms-to-be is fabulous. You can find out more at their website:
I also highly recommend Barbara Papini's class at the Yoga Room
(in the Julia Morgan Center). Barbara is a very experienced
teacher and offers one of the only evening prenatal classes in
the area. Great for working moms-to-be!
As with my first baby, I would love to go to a prenatal yoga class on a
regular basis. Since I'm working full-time this time around, I'm looking for
a yoga studio that offers prenatal classes after 6 pm (or any time on the
weekends) in Berkeley or Oakland (I'm in North Oakland). On a drop-in
basis would be great, because I might not always make it in time...
Thanks for any recommendations!
mom needs exercise
I take prenatal yoga from Cynthia Denise on Saturday mornings (11 am
- 12:30 pm) at Piedmont Yoga Studio. She also holds one at Namaste
(near Rockridge BART) on Thursdays - you may already know of it, it
starts right at 6 pm, so doesn't sound as if it would work for you (I can't
take anything that early on weekday evenings, either).
Piedmont Yoga studio is LOVELY though, and if you haven't taken a
class from Cynthia, I highly recommend it. She's very careful,
knowlegable (she has a child, too), compassionate and fun. The class is
extra long so that we have time to check in and let her know about any
problem areas we want to focus on (and exchange advice for other
ways to deal with them, too). I love it!
Hope to see you there.
Love My Prenatal Yoga Class
I know of 2 pre-natal yoga classes that *begin* at 6pm, but none
which start after 6. Cynthea Denise teaches from 6-7:25pm on
Thursdays at ''Namaste Yoga in Rockridge'' (5416 College Ave.
www.namasterockridge.com) Namaste is a beautiful studio with a
great community feel and wonderful teachers. I have not taken
Cynthea's class (I'm not pregnant), but I've been attending the
studio regularly for a long while and the teachers are well-
trained and truly committed to the practice. A woman named
Deborah Saliby teaches at ''Seventh Heaven Yoga'' in Berkeley from
6-7:25 on Wednesdays(www.7thheavenyoga.com). The parking is
really easy at 7th Heaven -- there is a huge lot; also, it's
near the freeway exit so maybe you could drop in right after
work if you are coming from San Francisco.
Although your inquiry is specifically about prenatal yoga, I
can't help but recommend a wonderful prenatal exercise class I
took while I was pregnant. The instructor, Dawn Loretz, is a
physical therapist and is very knowledgeable about all the
changes women's bodies go through during pregnancy. She tailors
the small class to whoever is there, and provides a great deal of
individual attention. It meets on Tuesday evenings at 7:15 in
North Oakland. Here's a link for more info: http://dawn.dyndns.tv/
Namaste Yoga Studio in the Rockridge, www.namasterockridge.com
has a class at 6pm (I teach the class it is ok to arrive late,
we ususally don't start until 6:05) What about Saturdays, 11am
class at Piedmont Yoga Studios www.piedmontyoga.com
Your best bet is probably Namaste Yoga in Rockridgeon college
ave. They have a prenatal class at 6pm, and are a good studio.
If that is too early, there is a wed. class at 6:45, but it
would cause you a cross-town commute as it is in Albany. If you
are intersted in that one, Deborah Saliby teaches it. You can
find out the studio by googling her name and looking at her
website, but I think it is envisionings.com.
I took prenatal yoga at Seventh Heaven Yoga on 7th Street in west
Berkeley (near Ashby) from Deborah Saliby. Last fall the class was at
6:00. Recommended!! Here's the link: http://www.7thheavenyoga.com/
The Yoga Station on Park Street in Alameda (23rd street exit)
offers a saturday pre-natal yoga class- I think it's around
12:30 the same teacher offers a pre-natal class in Berkeley
but I don't know the time or place. I really enjoyed the
classes, which I made sporadicaly during my first pregnancy.
Drop is is definitely ok. the same location offers a post-
natal class during the week and has a babysitter for non-mobile
babies - i really enjoyed that too!
Alta Bates has a prenatal yoga class from 6-8pm on Tuesdays.
There's lot of talk at the beginning so although I felt less
connected with the group never missed any of the yoga when I
rolled in from the office between 6 and 6:20 with my first. Same
deal now that I wait for my husband to show up to take over
toddler care so I can leave for yoga every few weeks... It is
drop in, $12.50 per class.
The regular instructor is fantastic, but the subs are never as
good. Probably great yoga instructors, but don't seem to have the
prenatal thing down...
Here's the info:
Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga
Whole birth yoga is a gentle workout that is beneficial to all
women at all stages of pregnancy and at any fitness level.
Contact: (510) 204-1334
Place: 2500 Ashby Avenue, (corner of Regent), Berkeley
The only class I could find was at the Yoga Room in Berkeley -
located behind the Julia Morgan Theater on College Ave.
Barbara Pappini teaches a prenatal yoga class on Thursdays from
5:45 - 7:15 p.m. Barbara is wonderful, very caring and laid
back. No one cared if you came in late, which most of us did.
it's true- most prenatal yoga classes are during the day. here
are a few local evening prenatal yoga classes:
Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga
2500 Ashby (at Regent)- through Alta Bates
Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga
3399 Lafayette Blvd in Lafayette- at The Nurture Center
Flow Like a River Yoga Studio
2718 Telegraph Ave
Namaste Yoga Studio
5416 College Avenue
let me know if you would like other referrals- I work with
pregnant & postpartum women and have lots of info on community
Prenatal yoga Wednesdays at 6:15 at the Berkeley Y. See
www.berkeleydoula.com for details.
I teach 2 evening prenatal yoga classes in SF.
Monday nights at 6:30-8pm at Yoga Tree Valencia, 1234 Valencia @
23rd St in the Mission www.yogatreesf.com
Wednesday nights 6-7:25pm at Bernal Yoga, 461 Cortland @ Andover,
Both classes are appropriate for mammas of all levels of yoga
experience and stages of pregnancy.
I also teach Tues/Thurs at 1:45pm at Yoga Tree Valencia and Sundays
at 9:30 am at the JCCSF, 3200 California @ Presidio, www.jccsf.org
In addition, I teach privately, out of my home studio in Bernal Heights, SF
as well as at your home.
My wife and I have been trying to find a Yoga partners workshop -
i.e. a special class for pregnant women and their partners, that
teaches you how to stretch each other and so forth. The only one
we've been able to find is at Yoga Tree SF, and they only hold it
about once every two months. The next one is too close to our
child's due date to make it really useful.
Does anyone know of a similar class, or can anyone recommend a
studio/instructor that specifically supports partner
participation during an existing prenatal class? (I don't want to
feel like I'm intruding on a prenatal class unless I really am
Cynthea Denise at Piedmont Yoga does a great partners workshop.
Check their webste--I think there's one coming up. They fill fast so
I am looking for a pre-natal yoga class for second time moms in
Lamorinda that is more focused on yoga rather than talking. Does
anyone know of a studio other than the Nurture Center?
I just noticed that they are offering a Prenatal (Mon, 10:15 -
11:15)and Postpartum Yoga Class (Weds, 11:30-12:30) at the
Orinda Community Center. You can call them and they can send you
a catalogue 925-254-2445 or I think you can access the info
online too at www.ci.orinda.ca.us.
I hear you about the ''too much talking'' part of prenatal
classes. It makes me crazy too. I guess it just comes w/ the
To Whom it may concern:
As an instructor for Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga and Support
Class at The Nurture Center in Lafayette, I feel compelled to
address the issue of ''too much talking'' in the prenatal class
mentioned by a reader last week and the response of the
person this week.
In a Whole Birth Class, it is divided into three parts, a weekly
topic relevant to pregnancy (15-30 minutes of class time),
mindfulness meditation & deep relaxation (15-20 minutes
class time) and prenatal yoga (60-75 minutes class time).
I understand frustration of general chit chatting and not
doing postures or moving the class along, however, the
structure of this class is to go deeper into the
transformational aspect of pregnancy and share with a
group of like-minded women.
I also understand this format is not for all, and I would be
happy to refer students to other studio's for their prenatal
experience. I did, however, want to make it clear that in the
Whole Birth Class, it is part of the curriculum and many have
benefited from this format.
Jnana Gowan, Certified Yoga Instructor and Whole Birth
Can anyone recommend a vigorous but safe prenatal yoga class held
mid-day on any week day in the East Bay? It seems everywhere you
look these days there's a new yoga studio, so I'm surprised to be
asking this question...but there isn't anywhere that I know of
where you can search all the schedules for what you want.
Many of the studios and individuals who offer Postpartum Yoga,
also offer Prenatal Classes. Websites for the studios are noted.
Here is a link to some Postpartum Yoga Options:
Alameda yoga studio on park street in Alameda has an excellent
pre-natal class on Saturdays at 1pm. Strenous in a good way
with a very knowledgeable and warm teacher. Easy parking.
Lin Maxwell at Piedmont Yoga Studio does a great class - I am 36
weeks and have been going to her most of my pregnancy. She
includes strength-related movements which I love - it is not a
super-sleepy prenatal class like many of them can be. She has a
Tuesday at 9:30-11am and a Friday at 10:30-12pm. Another option
for you might be the 4th Street Yoga Wednesday 9:30-11am class. It
is not as vigorous/complete as Lin's class but it is still very
enjoyable. Both these studios have websites for more info. Enjoy!
The Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland on Piedmont Ave has prenatal
classes every Tues and Friday. I;ve just started the Friday class and
far I like it. I don't know if it will fit your description of
''vigorous'' (I don't
think most prenatal classes would) but it certainly works on the areas
needed to help with some of the aches and pains of pregnancy as well
as preparing the body for labor and delivery. I went to a prenatal
class on the peninsula for my first baby and this one uses more
traditional yoga poses (albiet modified) which is nice. Though I do
miss some of the ''just for pregnant women'' movements that I did
I think this may be the third time I've written to recommend
Deborah Saliby, who teaches prenatal classes on weekdays (among
other places) at 7th Heaven Yoga. I simply can't say enough
good things about her. She has a wonderful manner, teaches a
class that's neither too difficult nor too easy, and really
gives you some great coaching on the breathing aspect of labor;
despite EVERYTHING going wrong in my labor, I found a huge
source of calm and repose in concentrating on my breath, as
Deborah had taught me. She also teaches hypnobirthing
workshops -- and I'm not a really new-age person, in fact sort
of allergic to most forms of premeditated spirituality, but I
enjoyed the one-day workshop we did with her. Even my Mr. Spock
logical husband liked it. Go figure. I think it's because of
Deborah's no-nonsense, mellow approach. No incense, not an
overload of woowoo.
Berkeley Yoga Center at 1250 Addison Street (by Strawberry Creek
Park) has prenatal classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I
think two women named Melanie and Deborah teach the classes. I
went to a class with Melanie and thought I got a good workout
that was gentle to my then 9 month pregnant body. Melanie was
very kind and attentive, giving everyone specific instructions
based on their stage of pregnancy and physical needs. You can do
drop in classes or buy a series of classes. The number is 843-
8784. They also teach postnatal classes for mom and baby. I
haven't attended those classes yet but plan on checking it out.
Best of Luck!
Yogalayam at 1717 Alcatraz has a prenatal yoga class on
Wednesdays at 10. They have a website, it'll come up first on a
I loved the prenatal classes at 4th st yoga and at the Berkeley
YMCA. Though they were taught in very different ways, I really
felt great after both of them. I have heard of classes at 7th
heaven and the Berkeley Yoga center. A new yoga center on
Shattuck in North Berkeley is opening up with prenatal classes
to be offered. I think they will be opening in June, the name
was something like Yoga Kula.
The Piedmont Yoga Studio has a huge weekday schedule. I am sure
that they have a prenatal class during the week. Jin Sung used
to teach on Tuesdays and Cynthea now teaches on Sat mornings.
Deborah Saliby teaches great prenatal yoga classes at 7th Heaven
in berkeley Mon & Fri 9:30-11 am; Weds 6-7:30 PM. I always get a
workout and it's a great environment.
Cynthia Denise is also great (Weds. am at Monkey Yoga Shala), but
in a different way. I don't get as much exercise at her classes,
but the ''community building'' there is really nice-- more time
talking and getting to know each other.
Barbara Voinar teaches an excellent prenatal yoga class at
4th Street Yoga on Wednesdays at 11:30. Many of the
women taking the class when I took it had previous
experience doing yoga. I would recommend Barbara's
class highly if you are looking for a physically ''rigorous''
class that helps relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy.
She also teaches a postnatal class, and I became friends
with several moms I met in those classes.
I've heard many raves about the benefits of prenatal yoga, and
I've read the recs on the website, but here's my specific
concern: I can't even touch my toes, never been able too. I'm
quite fit, but flexibility has never been something I've had.
Combine that with a general aversion to group fitness activities
(traumatic childhood PE experiences, probably), and it's hard to
get me enthusiastic for prenatal yoga, whatever its benefits.
At the same time, I'm not looking for a cakewalk of a class, and
am willing to do it even if it's hard, but I think I'll really
need a supportive environment, with other novices so I don't
feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. Any advice much
As a related issue, my husband has expressed an interest in
taking up yoga with me. Could he attend the prenatal classes
too' Or could we both attend a general class'
We live in Rockridge, and need classes in the evenings or
weekends. Thanks so much for your help!
You might want to try Living Arts Prenatal Yoga tape with Shiva
Rea. It's pretty easy but still effective, and has
modifications for the second and third trimester so those with
less flexibility (like me) can follow those. I am also
intimidated by yoga classes with very flexible people, and found
the tape quite doable.
I don't know about classes in the area but highly
recommend the video Yoga Mama -- very good, suitable for
people with little or no yoga background, means you can do
it even if you can't go to a class, etc.
Someone who can't touch their toes is THE perfect person to try
prenatal yoga. Not only will you gain some flexibility over
time but you will also gain some strength, learn breathing
techniques, stretch muscles you didn't know existed and most
importantly, learn to relax. All very important things to work
on while pregnant and getting ready for labor and delivery. I
had low back/tail bone pain early in my pregnancy which cleared
up entirely when I began yoga. I loved the classes at Piedmont
Yoga Studio. All the moms were at different levels and many had
never taken any yoga previously. It was really fun to return
every week and watch everyone's bellies grow a bit more. After
you ''graduated'' from the class, it was customary to bring your
baby in to show everyone. Try it, I promise you will love it!
Try taking a class from Deborah Saliby. She is a wonderful
teacher who accomodates all levels of flexibility and fitness
without passing judgement. I attended both her prenatal and
postnatal classes, and there was always a wide range of
participants, from the folding-chair variety to the can't-touch-
my-toes variety. She adapts poses to suit your body. The
prenatal classes don't feel that hard, but I found that they
were actually quite toning. And I'm convinced that the breathing
exercises and the pelvic strengthening and opening helped make
my labor a lot easier. Deborah teaches a couple of places, but
the class I attended was at 7th Heaven, which is near the Ashby
exit off I-80. It's at 6 pm. Sometimes husbands or partners came
along, and they were welcome too. My husband and I also took a
one-day workshop on ''hypnobirthing'' (basically, yoga breathing
and relaxation techniques) with Deborah, which was great. My
husband, by the way, can't even touch his knees without bending
The Yoga Room in Berkeley is excellent. Barbara Papini has a
class on Thurs. evenings. No guys though. It helped me remarkably
throughout the pregnancy and birth. It's low key, but can be
challenging. I highly recommened it.
I did prenatal yoga during my two pregnancies and I loved it.
I went to several teachers and liked them all but for different
reasons. My suggestion is to try Barbara Papini's class at
The Yoga Room (in the Julia Morgan on College at Derby)
Thursdays 5:45 - 7:15. Barbara is a grandmother who is
very nurturing and gentle. She doesn't expect students to be
flexible or strong but if you practice you will notice changes.
Yoga can be done solo once you know what to do and
Barbara is very supportive of you doing it your way. Her
phone number is 601-1883.
Cynthea Denise's prenatal yoga class at Monkey Yoga Shala on
Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland is an excellent option for you to
check out. She teaches Weds/Sat from 10:45-12:15. She is
highly intuitive and respectful of people's limitations. You
seem to be already aware of the benefits of prenatal yoga, so I
won't go into them here. But, her yoga class was the
only ''birth prep.'' class I took and I felt that it helped me
immensely during labor. I'm not sure that you are looking for
this, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to connect with
other pregnant women. Many a mom's group has formed from
Cynthea's class. Also, there is a partners class the first
Saturday of the month.
There is a very welcoming, beginner friendly prenatal class at
the Yoga Room (behind the Julia Morgan. It meets Thursdays 5:45-
7:15pm. It is however only for moms-to-be.
I would highly recommend The Yoga Room's prenatal yoga class.
I am not into yoga either or excersize, but my sister made me go
when I was about 4 months pregnant and I loved it so much I went
to every class after for the next 5 months. Barbara Papini is
the instructor and she is the nicest woman. She is extremely
patient and flexible in her instructions as she usually has a
wide range of pregnancies to deal with. It was always a very
comfortable environment and she explains every pose as if
everyone was a beginner so you never feel left out. I wish I
could still go to her class.
The Yoga Room is located at 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. You
can find it behind the Julia Morgan Theater. It is in the same
building complex but in the back where they have ballet and
other classes. There is a path down the left hand side of the
building. Barbara's class is on Thursday evenings 5:45 - 7:15pm
Her phone number is 601-1883 if you want to talk to her first.
You'll love Saraswathi's gentle prenatal yoga class at 10 am on
Saturday mornings at Yogalayam (in Berkeley, on Alcatraz).
Partners attend from time to time, and it's a very warm and
supportive environment for moms-to-be. Also check out her birth
class and post-partum yoga. I've been going to Sara's class
since my first trimester, my daughter is now 18 mo. and loves
going to mom and toddler yoga with me. There's something for
everyone at Yogalayam, and it's definitely got a do-at-your-own-
pace, comfortable vibe.
i'd really recommend the prenatal yoga video by gaiam, with
shiva rea. it has women in all 3 trimesters doing the various
poses and i found it really relaxing. and to be honest,
i never had the patience for yoga before. but i noticed that
i started feeling better the days after i would do the yoga,
compared to the days i didn't.
disadvantages of a video are that you don't get to network with
other expecting moms, but on the other hand you can do it
you want. the tape had 4 bits, warm-up type stuff, standing
poses, sitting poses and relaxation, i found that i liked the
first two bits the best and did those.
i hope this helps!
Hi! I can recommend a great teacher for Yoga. Her name is Priya
and she teaches at 'No Sweat' 528-1958 on Solano Avenue. I like
her specifically because she seems to understand and remember
every person's individual needs/issues. At the same time she
does not single you out thereby making you feel self-concious.
Her class gives you a wonderful workout without getting you
sweaty and breathless.
You can contact her directly at ''priyadoesyogaATyahooDOTcom
Best of luck.
Try Cynthea Denise's prenatal yoga class at Monkey Yoga Shala on
Lakeshore Ave. near Lake Merritt (she teaches a mom and baby class in
Piedmont too). I can't imagine having gone through my pregnancy
without the class: it was fabulous. Many in the class are beginners. It's
very low key, geared towards changing pregnant bodies, and is a great
support group as well. Free parking across the street at Alberstons.
I wholeheartedly recommend Barbara Voinar's pre-natal (and post-
partum) yoga classes at Fourth Street Yoga in Berkeley. She is a
very kind, nurturing teacher and gears these classes for women
who have no previous yoga experience. It's a wonderful haven to
take care of YOU. And for the post-partum class she and an
assistant rock the fussy babies so the mothers can actually do
some yoga (but nursing, changing diapers, cooing at your baby is
an integral part too). It functioned as a mom's group for me.
I recommend Cynthea Denise who teaches at Piedmont Yoga studio
and Monkey Shala, both in Oakland. I am also not a yoga fiend
and found her classes to be very supportive emotionally and
doable yoga poses. I also cannot touch my feet! Also, she is
pregnant herself right now and has taught for years.
Can anybody recommend a good pre-natal yoga class?
Fourth Street Yoga (2)
Peidmont Yoga Studio (2)
The Yoga Room
The Yoga Source
I just found out about several prenatal yoga classes. One on Fourth Street
Yoga in Berkeley on Wednesdays 9:30-11:00 ($12/drop-in) which I enjoyed.
Yogalam has some too Wed and Sat 10-12 and (Tues 10-12 with mothers and
babies) except no class first Wednesdays of the month at 1723 Alcatraz, west
of Adeline in Berkeley. Berkeley Yoga Center on Friday 4-5:15 1250 Addison
at Bonar in Strawberry Creek Center taught by Cybele Tomlinson. I don't have
all the phone numbers in front of me, but I found all but the Berkeley Yoga
Center in the phone book.
I'm looking for a mom/baby or postpartum yoga class in Oakland
or Alameda. Although I've done yoga for awhile, having had a c-
section I'm not ready for ''regular'' yoga, so I'd like to be in a
class where the instructor was knowledgeable about what I
should/shouldn't do. I've seen mom/baby offered at Mountain and
Monkey Yoga Shala, but the times don't work for me. I'm looking
for a Tues. or Thurs. am or weekend class. Any ideas?
Check out postpartum classes at http://www.partummemom.com
In the first 6 months of the postpartum phase make sure you
work with a postpartum specialist. There is a certain protocol
& progression rate following a C-section. Yoga is fine but
basic pre-Pilates is your best postpartum option. Partum Me!
holds classes in Alameda. Call 510.523.1900 for the current
schedule. I also encourage women to do a couple of private
sessions to address the specific needs of their postpartum
body. Every woman recovers their body at a different rate.
Feel free to call or email with questions or concerns.
Try the Women's Health Center in Walnut Creek:
Mommy and Me Yoga
Start getting back into shape, safely,
with your baby alongside in this class.
Moms must be at least six weeks
postpartum (four to five weeks is OK
with an M.D.'s written approval).
Sorry, no refunds or make ups.
1656 N. California Blvd., Suite 100 • Walnut Creek, CA 94596 •
( 9 2 5 ) 9 4 1 - 7 9 0 0
My daughter and I loved the postpartum and infant massage class
with Lynn at Flow Like a River Yoga on Telegraph. While I did not
have a c-section, Lynn treated each person in my class with
individual care. I travelled all the way from Hayward to attend
this class! Just talk to Lynn and I'm sure she would design a
program that would meet your specific needs. The baby massage
portion was so useful and nice, and the care that the center
offered while mommies did their postpartum yoga was terrific. I'm
just sad that my 14 month old is now too old for this class and
too young for the mom and toddler class.
Classes are Thursday mornings at 10:30AM
2718 Telegraph Avenue
between Ward & Derby
Berkeley, California 94705
There is a fabulous and nurturing class for new moms at the
Yogalaym on Alcatrez on the Berkeley/Oakland border. The
teacher Saraswathi is uniquely and highly talented - she blends
together her love of supporting pregnant and parenting moms
with refined knowledge of the body and yoga. She provides yoga
instruction for people with disabilities so she can help tailor
postures for all types of concerns/goals.
Good luck and blessings
Hi - I'd highly recommend you try the classes at 4th St Yoga in
Berkeley. I took classes there from 2 different instructors
(Barbara V. and the other I can't recall) and both were very
knowledgeable and sensitive to mother's needs.
I teach a postpartum yoga class at 7th Heaven on 7th st at Ashby
in Berkeley. We now have two classes per week; Mondays and
Thursdays 11.15am to 12.45.
Yes you can bring your baby!
You can bring whatever you feel you and your little one will need.
A favorite blanket and toy, the car seat for a change of scene.
Some mamas' even bring those play mats with dangling toys to
score some extra moments of hands free time.
I recommend waiting until postpartum bleeding has ceased before
attending. The class is a gentle reintroduction to our bodies in
motion with an emphasis on easing tension in neck, shoulders and
back and rebuilding core strength.
Mats and props are provided by the studio at no charge
It's Yoga Kids offers Mom & Baby postpartum yoga classes for
newborns to precrawlers on Thursdays and Saturdays and for
parents with crawlers/walkers, classes on Mondays and Fridays.
The instructors are very knowledgable and there is free parking
at the studio in the Presidio of SF which is a great place to
have lunch nearby afterwards.
I would highly recommend Barbara Papini's class at the Yoga Room
in Berkeley. http://yogaroomberkeley.com/index.html Barbara has
been teaching yoga for a long time and is really skilled at
personalizing each class. Great for people who have never taken
yoga before AND experienced yogis. I can't recommend Barbara more
There are a couple of postnatal yoga classes. One is 4th Street Yoga (1809
4th St, Berkeley 845-9642) and the other is at Yogalayam (1717 Alcatraz
Ave, Berkeley 655-3664). You can take your baby to both. I went to classes
at Yogalayam and found them to be very gentle, nurturing and restorative.
There is also something called the New Mother's Workout taught by a woman
named Karen, but gosh, I can't find a flier to pass along the number.
Advice about Yoga During Pregnancy
I just found out that I'm pregnant so it's very early on. I've been taking a beginning
yoga class for a couple of months now and would like to continue with it. The
prenatal yoga classes don't work in my schedule and frankly I can't be in a room full
of pregnant women this early on in the pregnancy. I spoke with my instructor who
said that until things get uncomfortable that I could continue with all of the poses.
This is different advice then what I got from a prenatal yoga teacher at the studio. I
asked her the same question and she gave me a very long list of things not to do
(inverted poses, abdominal work...). Now I'm afraid I won't be able to enjoy the yoga
class I've been taking because in the back of my mind I'll be worried that I could
harm the fetus. Any feedback from women who've done non-prenatal yoga early in
their pregnancy would be greatly appreciated!
Asana or Asa-No?
Yes, yoga is totally fine during early pregnancy, as long as
you aren't doing the kind in the heated room. And definitely
don't stop doing abdominal work yet! If you do, you'll have a
sore back by mid-pregnancy, and a much harder recovery. You
don't ever actually have to stop doing abdominal exercise per
se; as you get into the middle of your pregnancy, the key is to
find gentle, safe exercises which keep your abdominal wall
strong without having you lie on your back (stop doing that by
5 months, or earlier if it makes you feel light-headed), and
without aggravating a diastasis (abdominal wall separation), if
you develop one once your baby is big enough to be seriously
stretching your abdominal wall.
I did yoga, not prenatal yoga, for my entire pregnancy. I did
modify once I was uncomfortable -- no crunches, feet hip width
apart, on my knees not my belly for things like bow pose -- but
my teacher just worked with me and it was totally fine.
Regular yoga classed will be fine in early pregnancy. You'll need
to start modifying poses when your tummy starts to get in the
way. Since you have only been doing yoga for a couple of months,
stick with beginner level classes and make sure that you never
stretch your ligaments/joints, always stretch the belly of the
muscle. Depending on your body type, certain poses might need to
be modified to achieve this goal.
As your pregnancy progresses, your posture will begin to change,
and all of the curves of your spine will increase. In response,
specific muscle groups will tighten; the lower back, front of the
chest, neck, hip flexors, and opposing groups will weaken;
abdominals, upper back muscles, rotator cuff, glutes. Hopefully
your prenatal yoga instructor will give specific exercises that
target these adaptations. Simple balance exercises should also be
a part of your prenatal program.
While many yoga poses that target the abs are not advisable in
the last half of pregnancy, you should keep working the deepest
abdominal muscle, your Transverse Abdominis or TvA. This muscle
compresses the abdomen. Keeping this muscle strong will help to
prevent diastasis recti, and strength in this muscle helps
greatly in labor.
Poses that increase the curve in the lower back should be avoided
as pregnancy progesses. Never let your belly relax in poses where
the abdomen is aligned with the force of gravity, like in cow
pose, as this can cause diastasis. You should also avoid all
lotus type poses as these supinate the ankle joint and stretch
You do not need to worry about hurting your developing baby. More
info on prental and postpartum fitness and exercise can be found
on my web site at www.befitmom.com.
Doing yoga during pregnancy is a very good thing! As for the
teachers' comments, both are right: You should be able to
continue your usual class at least through the end of the first
trimester. (Make sure your teacher knows you are pregnant.
Poses can be modified.) You will start to notice changes and
probably will prefer a pre-natal class as you get bigger. I
practiced yoga through and after two pregnancies, continuing my
usual active class with only minor adjustments after 4 months.
I went to a pre-natal class at about 6 months in, though I did
have to adjust to a slower pace than I was used to; yoga gets
you to spend time in your learning zones one way or
another.... Listen to your body and to your teachers and enjoy
yoga teacher and mom
While I am not a doctor, so please remember this advice is not medically
based, I am a
person who did yoga from start to finish with my last pregnancy. I had
Bikram yoga for a few months when I then became pregnant. I continued
pregnancy, even went on my due date. I did not do prenatal yoga at all.
There were a
number of poses that had modifications for pregnancy. The basic rule of
thumb that I
was told (by my OB) for non-high-risk pregnancies is that if your body
is used to
doing it and you are good at listening to your body, then continuing an
exercise regimen that you are used to doing during pregnancy is USUALLY
Congratulations on your pregnancy! In my experience, what poses
you can and can't do during pregnancy is all up to you and your
body. I had a pretty active practice for a few years before
getting pregnant and continued going to my regular classes
right up until the end, modifying poses and using props as
necessary. My advice is to keep going to your regular classes,
listen closely to your body, and do what feels right to you.
To share my experience, I told my instructors, who I had been
practicing with regularly, very early on so they knew what was
up, and the only poses I modified right from the get go was to
stop doing closed twists and just go opposite from everyone
else into an open twist. I did my last handstand (which happens
to be a pretty easy pose for my body) at 7 months when it just
no longer felt right, but gave up other much ''simpler'' poses
early on and typically didn't attempt any poses that I didn't
already know I was comfortable with. Oh yeah, and my 9 month
old seems perfectly normal.
I would be happy to share some of the modifications that worked
I carried on with a full Ashtanga yoga practice, including
inversions and backbends until the day before my daughter was
born. I did modify as needed and there were a couple of special
poses for pregnant ladies. My teachers let me guide my daily
practice based on how I was feeling. Early on, my biggest problem
was feeling dizzy as I stood up and so I just did that very slowly!
i say YES!! i did non prenatal yoga throughout my entire pregnancy and
benefitted greatly from it and think it made my pregnancy better all
wanted to try a prenatal yoga class so i went and found it quite boring!
i would say
you're supposed to avoid inversions(like head/hand stands), twists and
ab work but
mostly later in your pregnancy when your belly is bigger--it will just
intuitive. i did things like down dog and gentle, more upper back twists
the whole time
and it was fine for me. just trust your body to tell you if something
doesn't feel right
and be sure to let your teacher know you're pregnant, they can give you
to do as well. enjoy!
Congratulations! I have a two month old baby and I did yoga all
throughout my pregnancy. I took prenatal classes and regular
yoga classes up until the day my water broke! I found it easier
to figure out what was safe to do once I started to show, as
certain poses were awkward. I was told early in pregnancy to
avoid deep bends/twists and inversions. As you start to show,
you would want to avoid ab work (crunches, boat pose, etc.) as
you might tear or strain your ab muscles (that happened to me).
I don't know about ab work for early pregnancy. But plank pose
seemed o.k. Other than that I think I just did the regular
stuff, 'though vinyasas were harder as I got heavier. Please
understand that I'm just passing on info that I got and that I'm
not a medical professional nor a yoga instructor. The yoga I
did helped a lot with preventing/lessening pregnancy discomfort
and in the postpartum recovery. Good luck!
Hi there. I'm writing because I'm in my 3rd trimester and trying
to decide how much to cave in to the pressure to do prenatal
yoga. That probably sounds dumb, but in the Bay Area it feels
like everyone thinks your labor and birth and recovery will be
about 1000 times better if you do it, and so you'd be a sucker if
you don't. I went to prenatal yoga about 5 or 6 times, tried to
have a good attitude, tried to improve, but I just can't tell if
I'm getting anything at all out of it. I do other cardio
exercise on my own, so I do get exercise, but I'm wondering if I
should bite the bullet and go back to yoga for the sake of a
great birth etc., or if I can just accept that I'm not a yoga
type person. I'd love this community's opinions on this one.
don't get the hype
Hoo boy... You are in your final trimester. You do not HAVE to
do anything! To me, one of the most important lessons of
motherhood has been learning to trust my instincts -- my body, my
heart, my moral core. So if yoga is not doing it for you, don't
go. There's no *ideal* way to have a baby, be a mother, love a
child... there's only your way.
I am a yoga fanatic who hopes to become a teacher one day. No -
you do not have to do prenatal yoga! I did it religiously and
had a difficult birth resulting in a c-section and a long
recovery. It is not a magic bullet. Do what makes you feel healthy!
Ah, the yoga pressure! I did prenatal for four months withb my
first, was late and fully induced. I did maybe two classes (and
no other exercise bar chasing around a 2.5 y.o.) with my second
and had a labor half as long and only some Pitocin to push things
along. Then I discovered Pilates. Woo-hoo! No more Bay Area yoga!
Exercise that requires concentration and has satisfying intensity
but w/o the unfortunate woo-woo hippie aspects of yoga. Don't get
me wrong, I did yoga and meditation for years (not in the Bay
Area, BTW), but found the anti-medical-establishment,
anti-intellectual tone of my prenatal yoga classes v.
frustrating. Skip it if you want to. Sounds like you're doing
just great! Congrats and good luck!
You don't _have_ to do anything when you're pregnant, really...I
did yoga because it helped me feel good in the moment--very
relaxing, low impact exercise, stretching felt great. The
mindfulness and connection it created for the life I was carrying
was also wonderful. But I used little of my prenatal yoga in
either of my births, so I would say there are lots of other ways
to prepare for your upcoming birth and beyond. (Hypnotherapy, in
my case, was great.) Follow your instincts.
Given my experience I wouldn't stress about it. I was on bedrest
and (even though I wanted to) couldn't do yoga, let alone
anything else and had a fast delivery of multiples. Just don't
forget to do your *Kegels* and ENJOY impending motherhood!
You'll have a great birth.
Yoga is only a good thing if it works for you. Myself, I could
never coordinate the whole breathing thing with the arm and leg
moving thing. I say don't worry about it!!!
I didn't do prenatal yoga and had a very easy labor, delivery, and recovery. Don't
believe the hype. Yoga has been over-hyped and that leads to unrealistic
and disappointment. If yoga is not your thing, find something that is. Mine was
walking (just walking in the pool -- lovely break from gravity!) I do agree that it
important to keep active.
I had to laugh when I read your posting about prenatal yoga. I am
the *least* yoga-rific person I know but I did end up taking a
class when I was pregnant. I really wanted the stretching, and it
was nice to have a weekly get together. My favorite prenatal
exercise however was swimming, which I highly recommend. And, I
had a C-section so I can't speak to whether the yoga actually
will help you (my guess is that there are just a lot of factors)
with labor. I found that I really got the most of my prenatal
yoga only during the last trimester. If it isn't doing anything
for you, don't make yourself do it! Go do something you enjoy and
feel like you are getting something out of it. I know the
prenatal yoga through Alta Bates is drop in, so if you change
your mind months from now and want to re-join a class, there's an
I am a ''yoga-type'' and did prenatal yoga throughout my 1st
pregnancy. Despite my yoga and my hopes for a ''natural'' birth, I
had a horrible 26-hour labor which required all manner of medical
interventions short of a C-section.
Don't believe that anything is going to buy you an easy labor. If
you don't enjoy it, don't do it.
I tried prenatal yoga and couldn't get into it. It just wasn't
my thing. Instead, I swam laps every day, did light weight reps,
and took my dogs for long walks.
After my son was born, I recooperated very quickly. I was up and
around in only a day or two (had the doctor check me out of the
hospital 24 hours after birth). I think every pregnancy is
different, just like every person is different. You've got to
find what works for you.
Oh, I went to Baby Boot Camp after my son was 8 weeks old, had a
great time, and have gotten into excellent shape.
I've never gotten all that into the yoga thing either (feels like
blasphemy in the Bay area, I agree), although I walk, do cardio
and aqua classes and swim. My advice is: do what feels good for
you. After 2 kids and 2 natural labors, I do not think that yoga
makes a big difference (although I think some kind of exercise is
good for mind & body), but with birth #1, which is typically a
longer labor, I did use some yoga motions during early labor. I
learned them after attending 4 or 5 prenatal yoga classes. I
think some kind of exercise is helpful, but I personally
preferred swimming or water aerobics during my 3rd trimester to
any form of yoga -- makes you feel weightless....You might also
try mindfulness meditation, which I found helped me during my
first labor in terms of coping with pain.
Are you serious? This might be harsh for this newsletter, but get real. You should
only do what you are comfortable doing, if you don't like yoga don't do it. I think
long as you are active and doing some sort of exercise, your labor will reap
benefits as yoga. Yoga is about breath, and relaxing, not just stretching or
building, if you are trying to do it while fighting it, I think it'll be very
counterproductive and stressful.
just don't do it
Oh geez, of course you don't have to and I think you need to find
a new crowd to hang out with. I'd recommend spending your time
doing something you really enjoy, like going to movies or bars or
something you won't be able to do when you have a baby. People's
recovery from child birth basically depends on their baby and
maybe their actual child-birth preparation. Being particularly
strong or flexible or whatever yoga is supposed to do for you
doesn't make any difference. If you want to take a class, take an
actual Lamaze or other birth method class.
You most certainly don't have to. I was not and am not a ''yoga
person'' either. I did end up really liking pilates while I was
pregnant. Pilates has some similarities to yoga but without all
the new agey ''look inside yourself'' stuff. That's an extremely
poor description, but suffice it to say: don't do yoga if you're
not feeling it. Listen to yourself. And don't think I'm talking
you into pilates, either ;-)
yoga-free and proud :)
Your post made me laugh. No, you don't have to do it. I give
you permission - I'm not a yoga lover either. I love other types
of exercise, especially swimming and ballet, so to each their own.
just say no
I am biased as a yoga lover but I think there might be value in
at least practicing breathing and maybe ''chanting'' or ''singing''
while breathing. Controlled long breaths, especially while
making noise, or even singing/speaking sounds during
contractions, worked wonders for me. I even turned the sounds
into positive talking like OOOOH BABY and it not only helps
making long open sounds but puts the mind on a positive image,
your baby. If you are thinking yoga is just about being a
pretzel or holding a warrior pose for a long time, I encourage
you to think in a different light. I wish you all the best for
I had 2 kids, 2 ridiculously easy deliveries and recoveries, and
never did a second of prenatal yoga. I know lots of people love
yoga, but I just couldn't get into it, preggers or not. I did
lots of walking, exercise bike, a little pilates, that sort of
thing -- as long as you're fit, I don't think the way you get
fit is that important. Better to do something you like and can
stick with than to force yourself into something you don't enjoy.
Don't Have to Be Like Everyone Else
I had to laugh because, I too have felt the pressure and I am
pregnant with my fourth child. I am sadly out of shape and my 3
deliveries have taken 9 hours, 2 hours, and 1 1/2 hours,
respectively, from start to finish. I shared a hospital room
with a woman whose second child was born in 20 minutes, she
wasn't running any marathons or doing downward dog beforehand.
We all want healthy babies and easy deliveries. Labor is scary
when you haven't done it before. I think these folks are just
looking for anything that will help. Being in shape is great,
but if you think athletes have easier deliveries and recoveries,
it just isn't so. I personally think big hips and 7 pound babies
are my secret weapon, but that is all genetics. As Vicki Iovine
says, the gods of pregnancy are usually fair, and those gals with
no morning sickness get stuck with 30 hour labors and those who
couldn't look at food for four months are done in 3. Just enjoy
your pregnancy and talk to your doctor.
If you don't want to go to prenatal yoga, then by all means don't
go! This is your last free time for a long time; why on earth
would you want to spend it doing something you don't like?
Believe me, once the baby's here, there will be many, many trendy
things that people will try to bully you into doing, and you
don't have to do any of those either.
Ditch yoga and go to the movies
Good for you! don't fall for the hype! You can get the same
benefits of yoga with many activities you can do on your own.
The hype, however, will follow you forever as a mom -- breast
feeding, fish oil, baby massage, baby sign, private school,
public school, kindergarten, middle school, colleges -- it never
I'm very glad you asked this question. I want to reinforce, in no uncertain
that if you fail to do prenatal yoga your baby will be a three-eared monster and
will balloon to three times your original weight within twenty minutes of giving
birth. My own wife smoked crack and ate nothing but deep-fried chocolate
profiteroles throughout her pregnancy, but because she did one hour of yoga every
trimester our child's teeth and toenails are made of solid gold and my wife will be
on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year.
If you hate yoga, you hate yoga. 99.9 percent of all the births in the history of
universe have been performed without the assistance of prenatal yoga. There are
enough obligations in this world, enough things we all have to do that we'd really
rather not, that I think you can safely skip yoga without feeling bad. If your
insist, tell them you have a heart condition that would make yoga very dangerous
for you. If they persist, go along with them to class and then drop dead on your
yoga mat. That'll show 'em.
You shouldn't feel pressured to do something that's not right for
you. You can do your own stretches to stay limber and build
strength in abdominal muscles. My OB gave me a booklet with
suggested stretching exercises and I'm sure you can find a book
with these at the library.
I think many people like yoga classes because they are scheduled
and are group activities. That doesn't mean yoga is right for
everyone. Yoga is fine, but it's not the be all and end all.
Not believing the hype
Since you are getting exercise and not enjoying yoga, I'd say,
forget about the yoga. And don't feel weird or guilty about
I've done one class of yoga in my life. I was ~12 weeks preg
with #2 at the time so I doubt it influenced birth or recovery.
I have 2 children, both born vaginally with no meds. no tearing
with #1, small tear with #2. back hiking soon after each. I
just walked walked walked before/after each birth - probably
about 2 miles/day - a morning/eve walk of ~1 mile each. no yoga,
no hype, great births and babes.
did it my way
I don't think so. If you don't particularly enjoy it, use your
time to do some other physical activity that you do enjoy. I
didn't do prenatal yoga for my first or second birth. I did
weekly pilates for my first, not for my second. I exercised
regularly during both pregnancies, and continued riding my bike
to work during my second pregnancy until about 35 weeks or so. My
first (10lb, 10oz baby born at home) was about 18 hours of labor.
I was sore, but had a pretty normal recovery. My second was a 6
hour labor, was 10 lb 2 oz (also born at home) and came out like
a breeze. I felt like I hadn't even had a baby after he was born.
(I know, it seems bizarre, but it's true.) That said, my second
was breech and I had to have an external version to turn him.
Fortunately for us, this was not a big deal - it wasn't painful
and it was successful. I had hoped he would turn after trying
acupuncture, homeopathy, and chiropractic treatments, but no such
luck. But, maybe it helped make the version successful. I
wondered if doing yoga might have prevented a breech baby - it's
doubtful, but you never know.
-also not that keen on prenatal yoga
Don't do it if you want to. I'm a midwife (CNM) and have seen a
few thousand labors. No matter what doulas and homebirth
extremists tell you there is no way that anyone can predict or
control what happens in their labor. And no amount of yoga or
anything else can change this fact.
It's true that a healthy body will recover from any physical
stress, birth/injuries/illness/surgery, but yoga isn't the only
way to achieve physical health.
You should try and get some exercise that's low impact and
aerobic. Swimming and walking are both excellent for the third
trimester of pregnancy. Yoga is excellent too, but if you're not
relating to it then do something else.
Listen to your body and move it in the ways that feel good to you.
Let your body guide you!
In short, of course not! Excercise will make your labor and
recovery easier, and yoga is great for a lot of folks - but if
you're not enjoying yourself, either try a new class/different
teacher or move on. I had a really positive with Karen
Casino's prenatal exercise class - it's pilates based, very
informal, and really helped prepare me for pushing. After I
had my son I never looked ''pregnant'' even when I was still
overweight, which I credit to the stronger stomach muscles from
her class. All of that said, if none of this is your bag, just
Life is short
The short answer, of course, is that you don't need to do
anything you don't want to do. But I got the sense you were
trying to find out more about the actual benefits of yoga, so
here's my experience. I thoroughly enjoyed prenatal yoga with
both my pregnancies; however, I don't think it really had any
direct impact on my labor and delivery. For me it was more about
staying mindful and relaxed during pregnancy (I dig all that yoga
stuff). If you're exercising and staying active, that sounds
terrific. This is the last time for many years that you will
have this much control over your time, so don't waste it on
something you're not into. :)
(And if you are hoping for a natural childbirth, I'd highly
recommend some kind of hypnobirthing training, but that's another
yoga's not for everyone, and that's ok
feh, if it's not for you, it's not for you!
i felt sluggish and NOT like exercising for both my pregnancies.
i rested A LOT. and my first labor was 6 hours (2 hours in the
hospital), with baby born in 4 pushes. my second was born at home
(as planned), after a 4 hour labor, unassisted, since the midwife
and i didn't think things were going that fast. half an hour
before she was born the the contractions were still just
''crampy,'' and i was sitting in bed eating oatmeal for breakfast.
transition (when you start feeling like you're out of control and
there's NO way you can handle this) to birth was about 20
minutes. she was born with zero pushes, just a strong fetal
ejection reflex that crowned her with one contraction, and shot
her out like a cork with the next.
so do what feels comfortable and ''right.'' and drink red raspberry
leaf tea, for a strong and well prepared uterus! it's full of the
minerals muscles need to function well. i think it did me much
more benefit than exercise would have, when my instinct was to rest.
the MOST important thing in labor is feeling that you are free to
move and do what feels right. for some this means walking and
crouching and even belly dancing, to help baby work down and out.
for others (me!) it means lying quietly (on my left side),
resting my voluntary muscles and allowing my uterus to do its
job, and letting it go slowly enough so as not to tear.
* have people around who support and have confidence in you,
* get a doula if it's a hospital birth (to deflect those who want
to ''manage'' you),
* don't let them boss you into the stirrups (it's just for THEIR
comfort and convenience, and slows down labor and increases
* don't let them coach you into pushing before you are ready, or
in a way that doesn't feel right,
* and have confidence that you can birth your baby!
p.s. i'm a physical therapist, not just a couch potato. ;)
--follow your instincts--
Only do it if you like it and want to! It may help some people
with birth, but not everyone. If you don't like it and it gives
you stress, don't do it, period. I don't think it will make
much difference in your birth experience.
Before becoming pregnant, I was a big Bikram yoga devotee. When I
became pregnant, I felt that the class was too demanding and hot
for my pregnant body. Now, that I have nothing but pregnancy
aches and pains, I was wondering if anyone knew of a Bikram class
that catered to pregnant women? Not a regular class that I could
just go to as usual. I need some help modifying each exercise and
a place I won't feel bad if I can't make it through the whole
hour and half class. I would love any recommendations that you
P.S. I actually miss the benefit of the heat, so I'm not really
interested in going to a ''cold'' yoga class.
As a yoga teacher, father, and husband of a prenatal yoga
teacher, I need to say that generally during pregnancy you do
not want to raise your heat greatly. Hot baths, hot tub, saunas
are all contraindicated for pregnancy. So I'd generally lump
hot yoga in with the group.
I'd also like to add that I don't recommend vigorous yoga
practices like bikram for pregnancy. In the circle of yoga
mamas I'm familiar with, it seems that the strength it provides
may in some cases become an obstacle if there isn't a heavy dose
of surrender thrown in. As an observer of two births (so take
it with a grain of salt) it seems that letting go of all the
tight muscles in the abdomen, etc, is the most important aspect
of a successful labor. It helps for them to be toned, but not
I'd like to add that Deborah Saliby, a pre & post natal & hatha
yoga teacher also teaches hypnobirthing, which gets a 20 out of
10 as birth preparation course. visit
Feel free to contact me via email with any questions or comments.
Hi Remi, I am pretty sure they don't offer pre-natal hot yoga because it is
verydangerous for the baby. You know how doctors tell you not to go in hot tubs
when you are pregnant, that is because its dangerous for your baby if your body
temperature gets above a certain level. And though I love Bikram myself, I know that
my body temperature gets a lot hotter in a Bikram class than it does in a hot tub. So,
I'd stay away from the hot yoga till after the baby is born. Then start again a couple
weeks after the baby is born...its a great way to get your body back!
i'm currently trying to conceive for our second child and am wondering
about the risks of continuing my bikram yoga while trying to conceive
and then through the first trimester. i don't want to do anything that would
be a risk to my pregnancy, since i have recently miscarried. any known
dangers from the effects of bikram yoga--rise in room temperature, body
temperature, excessive sweating? any information would be greatly
appreciated; i have found very little on the web.
Please do not do bikram yoga during ANY part of your pregnancy!
I LOVE Bikram yoga and I am a certified yoga teacher. I have
heard Bikram instructors advise to not do Bikram during the
first trimester only, but I strongly advise to stay away during
the entire pregnancy. It would be o.k. if you were born and
raised in a country like southern India where your body would
be completley accustomed to intense heat upwards of 100-130
degrees. but your body is not and its physiology is not built
around extreme temps (nor is the physiology of your growing
baby). In the research I have done I believe this intense heat
would effect your baby in the same way as a soak in a hot tub.
I do however think, and this is also backed by the latest
research, that it is very healthy for you to take part in
aerobic and cardio-vascular activities: dance classes, other
forms of power yoga such as asthanga, biking, and even running
if it is comfortable. during my pregnancy I continued to do all
of these things including intermediate level yoga classes
(modifiying postures when needed to accomodate my growing
body.) I was told that all of this physical excercise helped to
tone my uterus (and my butt!) I feel that excercising during my
pregnancy helped ease my labour and delivery because my body
When I went to the obstetrician before conceiving, he told
me to avoid any rise in body temperature-- to avoid hot tubs,
to avoid exercise that made me sweat vigorously, and to
take tylenol if I got a fever.
Best of luck!
You should be concerned about overheating while pregnant. When
you get too warm blood flows to your skin in an attempt to cool
off (which is why we get flushed) -- this diverts blood from
your heart and your baby, which is not good.
You may not find information on the web directly related to
Bikram yoga and pregnancy, but if you do a google search
with ''exercising, pregnant'' you can find a lot. A good resource
regarding pregnancy onwards is Dr. Sear's website. Here's an
excerpt from his discussion on exercising while pregnant:
''Keep cool. In the first trimester, prolonged body temperatures
above 102 degrees F. can be hard on baby's development. Avoid
exercising in hot and humid weather. Keep the room cool or well
ventilated. Wear loose clothing to allow body heat to be
released. Warm up and cool down. During pregnancy your body's
extra blood supply knows its priorities: your uterus and its
resident. It takes time for your cardiovascular system to ease
into the extra demands of exercising muscles. Ease into
exercise. Take five minutes to build up to your peak, and then
take time to cool down from your peak.''
The link to the Dr. Sear's ''Exercising for Two'' page is:
Another good website, which also lists symptoms that would be
cause to stop exercising immediately is at:
You don't have to stop doing yoga as there are a lot of great
pre-natal yoga classes out there. I found out about a lot of
them at the UC Berkeley Parents website. I was working when
pregnant so couldn't take a class during the day - there's a
good evening one at 7th Heaven.
Another concern about doing your regular Bikram class versus a
pre-natal class is that you might do poses that are not good to
do while pregnant. For example, you want to avoid laying on
your back for extended periods of time as it constricts blood
flow to your heart. Around the 4th month of pregnancy you're
balance will be way off. You want to avoid poses that could
allow air to enter in the vagina.
One of the hardest things about being pregnant is having to
adjust your life and modify the things that you do, but you
always have to think about what's best for the baby. Anyway,
it's good practice for all the sacrificing that comes once
exercised while pregnant
I was a regular Bikram-yoga goer before I got pregnant. After I
found out I was pregnant (a bit of a surprise!), I freaked out
when I realized I had been to a few grueling classes in the past
month. Everything turned out fine, but I decided that continuing
such an intense workout in the heat while pregnant was not for
me. I knew I'd always wonder if I was doing any damage to my
child. So, if you are at all concerned about the effects of
doing Bikram yoga while pregnant, my advice is don't do it.
There are lots of other kinds of yoga that are more gentle to
your body and don't involve such an extreme environment. Go easy
on your body for a while!
As a Bikram's instructor, my advice to you is: LISTEN TO
YOUR BODY. sounds basic, but I think it's the best advice I
can offer. My teacher went through the Bikram training
program in Los Angeles 5, 6 & 7 mos. pregnant. I however,
had to give up my Bikram practice my entire pregnancy. It
did not feel good or safe to me, so I just had to let it go.
(That marked the beginning of letting go of the life I had
known as a single person) It is my belief you are different in
your childbearing year (the time upon deciding to become
pregnant and through the time the baby begins sleeping
through the night) so why not address this change? There
are asana's you can do to help prepare the body for
pregancy, once pregnant find a prenatal class you like and
go to that regularly....Bikram will be there once the baby is
here. Feel free to email me, I teach prenatal now and i'm
happy to share any information that may help you at this
time in your life.
I think that if you've had one miscarriage, it would be unwise to do anything
extreme to your body while trying to conceive again -- or at any time during
the pregnancy. Trust Mother Nature: we did not evolve in the steam vents of
''Moderation in All Things''
I think an issue would be making sure to stay extra hydrated.
When my children were infants they both nursed a lot and it
seemed like I was always hungry and thirsty.
I would defininitely NOT do Bikram yoga when only 1 month
post-partum! It's great to start yoga then, but I think the heat
and rigors of a regular Bikram class would be best left until
after 3 months post-partum at the earliest. I've also been
taught (I teach Iyengar yoga and have practiced myself for
the past 12 years) that jumpings and poses that tighten or
build your upper chest muscles (like chataranga
dandasana) can impede breastfeeding. Why not check out
a mom and baby yoga class for a couple of months, instead
(esp. if you haven't practiced in a year)? I loved the mom
and baby classes taught by Melanie Green (info at
www.berkeleyyoga.com) before my baby started to crawl.
Enjoy this time and the chance it offers to be fully present
with yourself and your little one! There will be lots of time in
your life for a rigorous practice.
fellow yogini momma
I wanted to chime in on this one because I am a big fan of
Bikram yoga and have been doing it off and on for 5 years. That
said, I would never ever do Bikram yoga while pregnant. There
have been no studies about how the extreme high temperature
affects pregnant women, but intuitively it just can't be good. I
have had two children and stopped during both pregnancies.
Bikram yoga is a great way to lose weight and reshape your body,
but lets face it, it is a very intense work out. The main
problem with it is the rise in body temp due to the high temp of
the room. You know how pregnant women are not supposed to go in
hot tubs? The reason for that is that it is dangerous for a
pregnant woman's body temperature to rise above a certain
level. While short dips in hot tubs don't necessarily raise
your body temp to a dangerous level, Bikram yoga surely does.
The other issue is dehydration. I struggled with staying
hydrated during both my pregnancies and the amount of water you
lose during b-yoga would make that even more difficult. In fact,
I also think Bikram is not great for newly nursing moms. It is
essential to stay hydrated in order to keep your milk production
up and I know people who had trouble with low milk supply who
were doing Bikram right away after giving birth.
The one thing that bothers me about many Bikram yoga instructors
is that they have unsubstantiated ideas about how Bikram is a
cure all for all ailments. I have even heard them tell people
it is safe during pregnancy. I personally would not trust a
never pregnant 18 year old yoga instructor to give advice about
such an important matter.
That said, I love the intense work out B yoga provides and went
back about 3 months post partem after each baby was born.
Anyway, I was so sick during my first trimesters that the though
of being in a sweaty hot room was intolerable. Remember,
pregnancy is a time to pamper yourself. Moderate exercise is
great but anything that feels that extreme should probably be
avoided. So take a break and then start up again once you've had
the baby and have your milk supply well established.
Bikram yoga is totally inappropriate for pregnancy. It is, in
fact, not even suitable for everybody as proponents of it may
say, simply because it is a set sequence that does not take into
considerations the needs and bodies of different people. Indeed
the classes I went to offered no modifications but instead the
instructor shouted at us to push push it and try and force our
way into poses. This coupled with the heat made it completely
inappropriate for me.
I would recommend a pre natal course. Not only does the
instructor understand the specific needs of pregnant women, but
if she is good she should teach you poses etc that might
actually help with different pregnancy issues and/or labour. I
highly recommend Barbara Papini at The Yoga Room. Finally if
you feel you would like to get a book on the subject and do your
own practice then I recommend Janet Balakas's book 'Preparing
for Birth with Yoga'. I went to Barbara's class once a week and
did my own practise at home and felt it really contributed to my
overall well being during my pregnancy.
I did Bikram yoga throughout my pregnancy, and my son was born
healthy. I did modify many of the poses with the help of my
instructor, who had also done Bikram yoga during her pregnancy.
There is a video tape of the modified Bikram poses for pregnancy.
I also stayed in the coolest part of the room, and if I started
to feel overheated, left the room or just lay down. I think a
good dose of common sense is certainly required, but that it is
quite safe to do the modified routine.
It also really helped with my nausea. I would come in to class
almost ready to throw up, and leave feeling much better.
However, after delivery, I waited 3 months before starting the
series again. And at first, it really hurt my milk-filled
breasts to lie face down on the mat during that part of the
All that being said, though, I think sometimes the Bikram
sequence is taught by instructors who go overboard on telling
you to push yourself too hard. You should never strain in
yoga. Overdoing it on stretches can cause injury. Intense
bending of the spine (especially forward), after your abdominal
muscles have been weakened by pregnancy, can lead to spinal disc
injuries if done incorrectly.
Listen to your body, modify the poses accordingly, and yoga can
be very beneficial. I had a very short labor and a completely
natural childbirth. At least part of that I credit to Bikram
loves the Bikram sequence
this page was last updated: Apr 23, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network