Yoga for pregnant women is taught around the world, but Vijnana Yoga has a unique contribution to make in this field.
In my experience, yoga classes for pregnant women usually offer a space where it is
safe to let go and yoga teachers tend to focus on stretching and elongation, which
combined with the hormone relaxin, released in the pregnant woman’s body in
preparation for birth, allow her body to extend in new ways. The question is: what is
the purpose of yoga practice during pregnancy?
Vijnana offers a different experience of yoga in which effort and relaxation co-exist.
This contrast is mirrored in giving birth: contraction – effort, rest – relaxation between
contractions. The Vijnana Principles, the Vayus and methodology aim to contain the
effort and breathe through it. They are what create Rooting, Connecting and Intent,
out of which come Elongation and Expansion and true Relaxation. Thus even in a
pregnancy yoga class we should move beyond the comfort zone to experience effort
and challenge, without tension or pain, directing awareness to breathing, relaxation
and release to create “an effortless effort.” In my body’s experience, Vijnana Yoga
connects and strengthens while also relaxing and releasing.
Yoga for pregnancy aims to support a woman during her pregnancy and prepare her
for active birth, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. This is especially so
for women with no previous experience of yoga. Obviously, many women give birth
less actively, with the help of midwives and medical intervention, but here too the
contribution of yoga during pregnancy is enormous. In a relatively short period, six
months at best for newcomer to yoga, we have to help a woman make a transition
from point A to point B. The teacher should choose what to focus on, taking all the
circumstances and constraints into consideration.
Practice for pregnant women according to the phase of pregnancy, birth
and after the birth
Here I offer guidance for a yoga practice plan designed for a group of pregnant
women, mainly new to yoga. The plan refers to the various stages of pregnancy,
divided into three trimesters, including the extra postnatal “trimester”. Women who
practiced yoga before pregnancy can continue their regular practice while being
attentive to their bodies and the constant changes they experience. In particular, they
should pay attention to what is right for them at any given moment, instead of clinging
on to what they used to be able to do before they got pregnant. For example, inverted
poses, strong Kapalabhati, extended breath retention (Kumbakha), Uddiyana Bandha,
and abdominal strengthening exercises all need to be significantly modified.
As a general rule, women who practiced yoga before pregnancy in a normal group,
can continue with the normal group, until approximately weeks 26-28 of pregnancy,
depending on individual circumstances. The teacher should request that students tell
her in advance of any health problems, as well as the early stages of pregnancy, and
continue to report any pain, symptoms or change in their medical condition.
A pregnancy class is always a very mixed group, with pregnancy as the one common
denominator. When planning a lesson, we should prepare 2 or 3 variations for each
posture, as well as different options for the whole sequence, since there will always be
someone who cannot perform a pose or comes to class feeling unwell or extremely
tired. The entire lesson may change direction as it proceeds, or one student may
modify the poses depending on how she feels that day. So when planning a lesson,
we should treat the class like a medical-rehabilitation yoga group, both in its structure
and in the focus on each student`s needs and abilities. Props are very useful in this
context: pillows, belts, blocks, stools, blankets, bolsters, physio balls, the wall and so
Most women who come to pregnancy yoga classes join as beginners, starting after
the first three months. Many of them are afraid of miscarrying, some feel extremely
tired. Many suffer from nausea, vomiting, weakness or other pregnancy-related
symptoms, which might prevent them from embarking on any kind of physical activity.
For some, the motivation to start practicing yoga develops at a later stage, from the
second trimester on, when their strength gradually returns.
A woman who feels well during the first trimester can practice almost everything, but
she should be treated as a beginner, and we need to keep in mind the purpose for
which she came to yoga in the first place: to prepare her body for birth and minimize
possible harm along the way. So we should not just teach her yoga, as we do with
beginners, but also impart a certain attitude towards pregnancy and childbirth. By
guiding her towards appropriate practice, we can help alleviate many of the symptoms
that appear in the first trimester.
Structure of classes in the first trimester :
Breathing, postures, movement, Rooting
Exploring the breath and observing it while lying down or sitting, with and without hands.
Lying on the back, pelvis and hip openers, gentle twists, Supta Baddha Konasana, woman’s pose תנוחת האישה ,Setu Bandha.
Didactic instructions and exercising of the hands and feet.
Cat pose, dog pose, Uttanasana, Tadasana, sun salutation-I, tree pose, baby pose.
Most women begin to feel better in the second trimester; they want to move more, to
get stronger, feel energetic, work harder and prepare their body for the advanced
stages of pregnancy and childbirth. At this point we can go deeper, assuming they did
not join the class as beginners, in the practice of Pranayama and Asana, deepening
guided imagery, meditation and relaxation as well as integrating the Principles and the
Vayus into the general practice. We can start building a regular daily practice for
them, combining what makes them feel good with what they need most.
Structure of classes in the second trimester :
Breathing, Asanas, Rooting, strengthening, releasing, Connecting,
guided imagery and relaxation, slow continuous movement, use of
External Vayus, Ujjayi, Anuloma Viloma, Nadi Shodhana, lying down and sitting.
Lying on the back or on the side, pelvis and hip openers, gentle twists,
Setu Bandha, leg stretches with a belt, strengthening the legs lying on
the side, awareness and strengthening of the pelvic floor, Supta
Variations of cat pose to release the back, teaching ‘quiet back’,
Uttanasana, sun salutation-I with variations, balancing, Trikonasana,
Ardha Chandrasana, with and without the wall, warriors, Prasarita
When seated, strengthening and releasing the shoulder girdle, poses
that allow pelvic asymmetry, Baddha Konasana, Upavishta Konasana,
Vajrasana, strengthening the feet and thighs, baby pose
Some women will be able to practice right up to the birth and some will stop a little
earlier. They need to know poses which are helpful as the birth draws near. We can
work with them on breathing exercises appropriate to the various stages of labor. We
can get them to work with sounds: Ah, O, Om, Sh, S, F and continue to work on
strengthening exercises and standing poses, within reason. However, at this stage
pregnant women require more adjustments and support and gradually the practice will
evolve into learning how to slow down, let go, relax, rest, practice visualization, and to
be attentive to themselves. The teacher can provide information on yoga breathing
and asanas relevant to giving birth. She can also explain how to recover after the birth
(see below “Yoga after birth”). During labor there are more intervals than contractions,
so yoga practice preparing for birth should reflect this. We should stress the need to
relax when going into a pose and also while holding it. So rather than a dynamic,
strengthening practice with rapid transitions from one pose to another, we should offer
poses that promote relaxation and rest.
Structure of classes in the third trimester :
Breathing exercises, postures, Connecting; guided imagery; slow and
continuous movement; use of voice, Intent, poses and movements to
alleviate contractions; different poses for relaxation and rest between contractions.
Lengthening the out breath, exhaling from the mouth, work with
sounds and voices, “contraction breaths”.
Contracting and compressing the pelvic floor compared to releasing and relaxing it; Birth advancing poses.
Modified sun salutation, sun salutation-I with variations and
modifications, warrior poses.
Pelvic openers, pelvic asymmetry, strengthening the thighs and
shoulder girdle, stretches, gentle twists. Less lying on the back and
more variations on the side; baby pose, cat pose, Eights and round
Yoga after birth
- Post partum. This stage lasts up to 6 weeks after the birth, and in this phase a woman will feel her body trying to re-organize itself. It is very important to rest and not overload the body with any physical exertion. A woman can start paying attention to the sensations in her pelvic floor, using Apana and Samana Vayus to train both the pelvic muscles and the transverse abdominals to contract on exhalation and release on inhalation. At the postnatal stage, a woman doesn`t usually join a regular yoga group, and we should advise her to avoid forward bends, twists and lifting weights. At this stage, even Kapalabhati and deep exhalations without supporting the pelvic floor are undesirable.
- Advanced students can return to practicing yoga immediately after the birth, as long as they practice sensibly, not disturbing the body during the first 6 weeks. A gradual return is recommended, without trying to hasten the process.
- Carrying the baby involves carrying a weight that increases day by day. The baby grows, only now it grows away from its mother`s center of gravity, so she needs to rebuild the stabilizing muscles of her body.
- The order of postnatal recovery is: Pelvic floor muscles → Transverse abdominal muscles → Oblique abdominals → Rectus abdominis.
- Working with women immediately after childbirth and for a few months afterwards, the main recommendations are:
1. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and helping the uterus return to normal: Setu Bandha or Supta Vajrasana + Mula Bandha (Apana and Samana Vayus can be combined) + creating a closed circle movement with hands on front hips and with exhalation, approximation and resistance while contracting pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscles.
2. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles + transverse abdominal muscles + adductors of hip muscles: Supta Vajrasana with legs spread, the back of the hand on the inside of the thighs, bringing them close while pushing back with the hands during exhalation.
3. Releasing tension in the shoulders and neck arising from carrying the baby.
4. Achieving proper posture after pregnancy, childbirth and carrying the baby.
5. Stimulating blood circulation and body energy.
6. Relaxation and plenty of rest to recover from accumulated fatigue.
8. Focus and concentration of the mind.
Principles of Vijnana Yoga
For yoga to blossom, listening and responding to what one hears
from inside is the golden rule. (Orit Sen-Gupta Vijnana Yoga Practice Manual.)
By coming to know the Principles, an expectant mother, who is undergoing the
constant changes of pregnancy, develops a new, deeper understanding of what is
happening to her.
“Within the framework created, there is space for adapting the practice to the particular needs of the day or the person. It is important to remember that the mere repetition of the various daily practices is not enough. The quality of the practice depends on a deep listening and responding to the body, heart and mind.” (Vijnana Yoga Practice Manual.)
Not everyone starts off with the ability to listen inwardly, but it can be learned and
improved with correct instruction and practice.
1. Relaxing the body – In the beginning, relax the body. Inhale, and with the exhalation release tension. Inhale, and with the following exhalation scan the body from top to bottom and from the bottom upward. Whenever there is gripping or tension – relax. The mind is looking at the body with a parental eye. With time, one can observe tense areas releasing and embracing space. If areas of weakness are noticed, inhale into them with courage and enliven them with energy. Let excess leave the body – relax. In this way the body becomes stable and quiet. (Orit Sen-Gupta, A little book of Yoga p. 46)
This is the first and last principle, without beginning and without end, the most central
and important. This is particularly so for a pregnant woman, who comes to yoga class
with a stowaway inside, a clandestine passenger in the shape of the fetus, and brings
with her stress, anxiety, aches and pains, changes, and worries. A large part of the
class should therefore be devoted to relaxation: at the beginning, at the end and also
within the poses. At first, the student will use it in the practice and perhaps even off
the mat, but with time, her understanding of the principle will deepen and become part
of her being, in her pregnancy, in childbirth and in the challenges that arise after her
baby is born.
The inability to let go is something that most of us share. In pregnancy, and certainly
near and during the birth, we need to apply the principle of Relaxation, of letting go, of
surrendering. Relaxation is a conscious act. We consciously look at the body with a
supportive, maternal gaze that takes in both the fetus and our body with its changing
abilities and limitations. Pregnancy is a wonderful opportunity to release tensions that
have become a habit and and to let the body be much more relaxed.
When practicing asanas we need to feel at home in the pose, with a sense of privacy
and safety. Our devotion to the poses lets us find in them a source of relaxation. Just
as in the birth itself, where oxytocin, the “love hormone”, according to Dr. Michel
Odent, is responsible for the contraction and release, our devotion to giving birth
comes from a core of relaxation.
2. Quieting the mind – when we position ourselves on the mat we distance ourselves from our responsibility to react to the world. The eyes look inward to catch the inner mood, the state of mind. Whether we are focused, dispersed or nervous; happy, sad or angry; whether we are afraid, tired or energetic – the eyes are positioned at the back
of the head. We observe ourselves and our practice from an inner silence. With each inhalation the eyes sink deeper into the back of the head. With each exhalation there is an intensification of concentration. Empty Mind intensifies itself in practice. (Orit SenGupta, A little book of Yoga p. 46)
Yoga practice provides an opportunity to stop being occupied with pregnancy on a
conscious level: tests, doctors and nurses, and a stressful environment. We can
disengage from the demanding outside world. We can just be, in time and place, and
take the opportunity to listen to the body and look, through our inner gaze, without
criticism or judgment. By focusing on practice, asanas, and breathing we can get to a
quieter, more peaceful place, if only for a few moments, and come out of the practice
in better shape than we went in.
In a yoga class time stands still and this corresponds to some extent with giving birth:
the time dimension is not important, but rather the experience. The more so at the
birth itself, where a woman is in a perfect state of awareness of the here and now.
She experiences empty mind: empty of time, place, and external surroundings. She is
entirely drawn inward, if we just let her be and she lets herself be. Giving birth
requires relaxation and calm. The primitive function of the brain-stem takes over. If her
mind is busy with external events she is not present in the here and now, at the birth
3. Intent – now the body and mind are at ease: stable, quiet and concentrated. From this place we see our objective – Sitting, Pranayama, Asana – and direct ourselves towards it. The mind directs itself to the practice; the body awaits the practice; the heart embraces the practice with all its might. With each inhalation there is an intensification of intent, with each exhalation the sharpening of its direction. By visualizing ourselves sitting, breathing, moving, or by imagining another person in that practice, we devote ourselves wholly to it. With each breath, with each pose, we reaffirm our intent. (Orit Sen-Gupta, A little book of Yoga p. 47)
Some women find it difficult to connect and attune to birth. In class, I encourage them
to attune to the baby inside, which is a part of them during their pregnancy; to
embrace what is happening inside them, to accept the changes and tune into their
goal, the birth. Through guided imagery and Intent, we can imagine ourselves giving
birth, we can practice yoga poses, breathing and using the voice, which promote the
birth and assist the normal course of pregnancy. Pregnancy and birth are an
opportunity for a woman to make a significant personal leap forward.
4. Rooting – the mind rests at the place where the body touches the earth. Let the weight of the body sink into this place – for example, the feet. Intensify the weight pressing down, as if the foot would like to sink into the earth, and then feel the power of that downward movement flowing through the body. As the roots of a tree deepen
and widen into the earth, so the branches above expand into the sky. It is easy to understand the idea behind rooting, yet surprisingly difficult to execute it in every movement and posture. As rooting is mastered, the body becomes light and loose and moves without effort. (Orit Sen-Gupta, A little book of Yoga p. 47)
We can apply this Principle by improving posture and relieving symptoms in
pregnancy, through working at doing the poses correctly without pain or effort. We
learn to give expression to the idea of “effortless effort” in daily life and when giving
birth. First we have to develop awareness of where and how the body is in contact
with the ground, being supported by it in every movement and pose. We first
understand the concept of Rooting through this contact of our hands, feet or sitting
bones with the ground. Then we can begin to understand the re-bounce force that
When lying down, we connect to the ground through every part of the body that
makes contact with it; in balances we connect through the hands, in standing poses
through the feet. When the body has a stable base, the neck, shoulders and upper
back are properly supported and can be light and released. The more the body is
rooted in the ground, the more its upper part can relax, letting the core muscles and
the pelvic floor work efficiently to support the entire posture.
5. Connecting – Always be conscious of two opposite directions that are connected to each other. To go up, go down. To go forwards, shift into the back. Wishing for the left side, steady yourself on the right. Wishing to expand, come from the core. The first direction is the arrow, the second direction is the bow; the thread which binds them is
Connecting. In each pose, the farthest limb from the ground connects to that which is rooting into the ground. Every single body part in between is whole in itself, a distinct, functioning unit. All the parts are balanced and work together in harmony. Like a chain floating in space, the rings that make up the chain never touch each other. The more each part is distinct, the more the connection between them remains steady; the body, in any situation, moves in oneness. (Orit Sen-Gupta, A little book of Yoga pp. 47–48)
The principle of Connecting for the female body comes into sharper focus during
pregnancy. Some women only discover that they have a body when they become
pregnant. A woman`s center of gravity changes during pregnancy and so does her
awareness of the boundaries of her body, her balance and her posture. Finding the
center, working with the body from a connection, will make it easier for a pregnant
woman to deal with her changing body, with the growing fetus, with any pregnancy related symptoms or postural faults. Later, she can transfer the principle of
Connecting from the mat to daily life: connecting with the baby and having faith in her
own body to cope with the approaching birth.
6. Breathing – Be aware of inhaling, of exhaling. Inhale – go deep within; exhale – connect to the world. Inhale – accept what is; exhale – give yourself to the earth. Inhale along the body, exhale and root. Inhale and connect the farthest parts, exhale and move into the final pose. While inhaling, the body elongates and widens; while exhaling,
it steadies itself in rooting and connecting. At times, it is deep and long. Sometimes the exhalation lasts longer than the inhalation; sometimes it is short and decisive. At times it is only in the background, at times the source of action; breath is always present.
(Orit Sen-Gupta, A little book of Yoga p. 48)
When we feel that the body has a firm base, we can begin to concentrate on our
breathing rhythm and the natural cycle of our breath. We can let our exhalations go
with gravity, down towards our “roots”, and inhale passively. This will give a feeling of lightness that rises up from the stable base and elongates the spine.
During pregnancy breathing tends to shorten. The abdominal cavity is an enclosed
pressure chamber. Bad posture, fatigue, pain, discomfort or lack of awareness in
pregnancy increase the pressure. The diaphragm is the ceiling of the chamber. On
average, by the end of pregnancy the diaphragm has widened 2 cm, and at the top,
because it is dome-shaped, not flat, by up to 4 cm. Changes occur in the body so that
an expectant mother can breathe easier, but even so, many women get short of
breath or their breathing becomes shallow. When pregnant, a woman needs oxygen
for two; for herself and for the baby growing inside her, so she needs a bigger pump.
Pranayama is very important for pregnant women, since it also affects the baby.
Breathing exercises during pregnancy should be adapted to each individual according
to capacity and experience of Pranayama before pregnancy.
Good breathing and relaxation help reduce blood pressure, release analgesic
endorphins and improve blood flow in the body. Deep exhalation reduces pressure
from the stomach and all the organs below the diaphragm. Concentrating on breathing
helps to calm the mind and focus the awareness inwards as we find the center.
Kumbhaka, pausing and holding the breath, does not endanger the fetus, but can become an effort and a discomfort for those who did not practice Pranayama before
pregnancy. For beginners, learning to pause the breath is too challenging during pregnancy, though for advanced practitioners it can be relaxing. A pregnant woman`s awareness is concentrated on the front of her body, so she has to learn to draw her awareness back and how to breathe into her back and the posterior ribs. With the fetus located at the front, everything that happens in the back will be easier and more spacious, distinct and grounded. Women who did not practice Pranayama before pregnancy should try one type of breathing for a while, and only then add more exercises.
1) Focusing on Smelling as we breathe – a flower, a baby, any association or image that works for the practitioner.
2) Yogic breathing, Analoma Viloma, or fetal breathing – control, clarity of mind, peacefulness.
3) Soft Ujjayi – concentration and focusing awareness helps the body sit upright,
grounding, lowering or raising blood pressure.
4) Nadi Shodhana, with or without hands – balancing and relaxing
5) Sound – S, F, SH, Oh, Oh, M, Brahmari (bumblebee breathing) – extending
the outbreath, relaxing.
The phase of labor when the baby is coming out takes place with exhalation, so we
need to practice lengthening the outbreath. When giving birth, a woman exhales
through her mouth, so towards the end of her pregnancy, it is good to practice
breathing out through the mouth in preparation.
7. Expanding – Elongating and Widening – When there is rooting while exhaling, inhaling brings about elongation and widening. Or perhaps the elongating and widening that occur as a result of rooting, allow for inhalation. When elongating and widening occur, not one ring touches another as the chain called body moves in space. Then there is no sagging into the joints, no effort in the muscles. The skeleton shields its coverings, while the coverings create space for the skeleton. Thus the body moves about relaxed and connected – one. (Orit Sen-Gupta, A little book of Yoga pp. 48–49)
It is important to create space and expansion in places where there is compression, in
the spine, the abdomen and the chest. Expanding in these areas will make more room
for breathing, easing pain or discomfort and maintaining posture. It is important during
pregnancy to bend the elbows or knees when taking the arms and legs up or down.
For example, when going from standing to Uttanasana, avoid stretching your arms
straight forward and over your head; when lying on your back, don`t lower your legs
stretched out straight. We should beware of putting too great a load on the center of
External and Internal Vayus
The external Vayus release stress, remove fatigue and lead us to a more peaceful
and relaxed state. They relate to the physical body, are very accessible and
connected with each other. They open and widen the muscles around the eyes, the
nostrils and the mouth, and help a woman learn to contract and relax in the areas of
her body that are called into service in the various stages of pregnancy and childbirth.
By practicing the external Vayus, a woman can learn to relax her pelvic floor and her
cervix at birth.
The internal Vayus develop awareness and improve posture. Paula Garbourg`s
investigation of the sphincter muscles in her book “The Secret of the Ring Muscles“
also suggests that contracting and collecting actions improve and maintain posture,
the more so in pregnancy where the woman’s posture changes significantly in a
relatively short period. The anal and vaginal sphincters weaken and become less
compact and connected to the central axis of the body. The internal Vayus contract
and narrow the openings of the body cavities. Starting from the pelvic floor with
Apana Vayu, and climbing upward, they create a stable central line. Focusing on
specific points with exhalation creates a spontaneous alignment where the spine is
supported by a vertical column of air. By doing Apana Vayu, we practice contracting
the anus, vagina and urethra, and thus from the pelvic floor, we stabilize the body
from bottom to top. If a pregnant woman needs to focus on a particular area, she can
practice just the Vayu which relates to that area.
Women may have the same range of postural problems in pregnancy and after giving
birth as anyone else, so we can adapt the relevant practice to them:
a. Inflated chest position: over stretching the front of the body → practice Prana Vayu.
b. Slouched position: head bent down, shoulder blades rounded, chest compressed → practice Samana Vayu.
c. Leading head posture: chin and head pulled forward or upward → practice Udana Vayu.
d. Tilted forward pelvis position: wrong location and orientation of the pelvis and a
tendency to tilt it forward or overly relax the abdominal muscles i.e. the situation of the average pregnant woman → practice Samana Vayu.
e. Scoliosis: back curving from one side of the spine to the other side → practice Samana, Prana and Udana Vayus.
The western image of pregnancy emphasizes the prominence of the belly, deepening
the lordosis in the back and emphasizing the buttocks. This approach is a continuation
of the general discourse on female body image in the West.
Leaving aside the cultural dimension, on the physiological level the ligaments
lengthen due to the hormone relaxin, the center of gravity changes and pulls forward,
and posture becomes a serious challenge. So it is very important to attend to good
posture by strengthening the core muscles i.e. the pelvic floor, the oblique abdominal
muscles, the erector spinae and other back muscles.
Good posture comes from the rooting of the foot, by finding the right distance between
the feet and correctly locating the arches, inner, outer and transverse. The following
help with understanding posture: practicing with the heels turned in and turned out,
transferring the weight to the toes or to the heels, playing with the position of the
ankles, releasing the knees, relaxing the buttocks, pelvis and groins.
When the abdomen pulls forward, the whole area of the sacrum and the coccyx goes
back. Experimenting with the position of the heels and observing the effect on the
knees, the pelvis and the sacrum helps with understanding postural change and its
consequences: pain and limited mobility.
As the womb expands with the growth of the fetus, it is contained by the pelvis.
Preserving muscle tone in the pelvic floor is important and so is releasing the pelvic
girdle. For example, creating asymmetry in the pelvic girdle causes immediate
relaxation of the pelvis.
Pregnancy stimulates an increase in the relaxin hormone, which softens and relaxes
the tissues and ligaments, and the result is flexibility. Accordingly, we need to work
more on strengthening core and skeletal muscles rather than on flexibility, in order to
maintain proper posture. Muscles, unlike the ligaments, are not softened by relaxin.
The emphasis in yoga classes should therefore be on strengthening, to preserve the
postural integrity of pregnant women in preparation for active birth and recovery
Pregnant women bring all their postural habits to their yoga, and these are expressed
in the asanas, so we should work primarily on awareness of habitual posture, before
moving on to work on posture in the asanas. If there is no sign of understanding or
internalizing in one asana, we can try another.
On a personal note
During my first pregnancy, I participated in a yoga course for teachers in their
pregnancy-childbirth year, on pregnant and post-partum women, tutored by Irit
Falkovich. I felt great during this pregnancy and I really enjoyed the course both on a
professional and a personal level. I felt softness in the practice and found myself in a
very safe, but free place both in my pregnancy and in the yoga.
With my second pregnancy, I started an advanced teachers’ training course with Orit
Sen-Gupta. Although towards the end of the first year I could not do much and was
more engaged in observing the class and the teacher, I felt I had found what I was
looking for. The teaching, methodology and precision, the Principles, the Vayus and
their impact on my posture in pregnancy, Pranayama and Sitting, even though it was
very hard for me, all started to take shape in my personal practice as well as in my
teaching. In this pregnancy I suddenly understood things differently, perhaps because
I had matured both in my yoga and in my life, perhaps because I had drawn conclusions from my first experience of giving birth. What I realized was that the practice during pregnancy should not only be soft and enveloping, directed at developing flexibility and caring, but should also aim at strengthening, placing an emphasis on good posture. Integrating the Principles with the practice, learning the
Vayus and their meaning for me, meant I was less afraid to do certain poses often treated as “forbidden” for pregnant women and made me listen more to my own body from the inside.
While teaching yoga for pregnant women, as well as for general groups, a more
distinct approach to teaching began to take shape in me. The huge impact of the
Principles and the Vayus and my various experiences of pregnancy and childbirth all
helped me internalize and deepen what I found important during my personal journey.
When I put this article together and went through the material I had studied at different
times, I found it weaved in similar insights that actually were there all the time, only I
was not then ready to understand them, and maybe they were not presented to me
simply and distinctly. Today I see them differently, more profound, more embedded in
me, in my personal practice and in my teaching.
About the author
Einav Feit, lives in Pardes Hana with Assaf and her three children: Agam, Eden and
Noga. She has a BA in Behavioral Sciences and is a former director of Human
Resources in an international high-tech company. After 11 years as a dancer, she
looked for a different expression of movement, stemming from a more accurate,
responsive and true place in the body. She was was introduced to yoga and has been
practicing it since 2002. She is a graduate of yoga teachers’ courses in various
methods: Sivananda, Vinyasa (Desikachar), Vijnana, and Yoga For Pregnancy (preand postnatal). Einav has been teaching and practicing Vijnana Yoga since 2009 with
Orit Sen-Gupta. She teaches classes for groups and individuals, pregnancy and
postnatal yoga, yoga as preparation for birth and mother and baby yoga workshops.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: http://www.facebook.com/babYoga