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5 Tips in Building a Prenatal Yoga Class

Written by Carmela Cattuti, MA, Kripalu Certified Yoga Instructor.

Pregnant women were an underserved population when I started teaching prenatal yoga in the early 1990s and there were no training programs around. There was one book on prenatal yoga from the 1970s that was useful, but in general information about contraindicated poses, recommended poses, and the benefits of prenatal yoga was scarce. I had to figure out the new landscape of prenatal yoga myself and I found that with my nursing background and experience in obstetrics and gynecology that I could draw on my professional experience and design a safe and powerful experience for pregnant yogis.

prenatal yoga

I have found with new teachers that confidence is an issue when approaching pregnant students. Our 200-hour certification programs fall short on how to teach a pregnant population so when an expectant student walks into our general yoga class or we’re asked to teach a prenatal class we panic. I have discovered there are basic building blocks to teaching an ongoing prenatal yoga class that help build confidence and clarity in the teacher and student. If you have thought about teaching prenatal yoga but lack the knowledge and confidence, I hope that these 5 tips help.

  1. Create Community- Allow your students to mingle before class. Ask them where they will deliver, due date, and trimester. Building connection is seminal for students to follow you throughout their pregnancy.
  2. Talk about the benefits of prenatal yoga- Anxiety is a constant companion in a prenatal class. Concerns about delivery, change of life-style, and body changes are ever present. Talk about how yoga can help with all the changes they are experiencing and that they will have a more aware delivery and recovery if they continue.
  3. Fluid Movement- Vinyasa yoga is a wonderful flow, but not for some pregnant yogis. Design your own connection between poses and focus more on seated poses for grounding. Create segments that allow the thinking mind to relax and students listen to their bodies.
  4. Be Creative- Approach your prenatal class as if you were painting a picture. Step back and observe and feel what is going on in the studio. Don’t be afraid to change course if you feel it is needed because something is not working.
  5. Use Props Creatively- Props can be your best friend when teaching prenatal yoga. Use chairs, balls, straps, and blocks to create a multitude of options for your students. Check out athletic stores for large and small balls and build them into your fluid practice. Your students will appreciate it. There are unlimited postures you can create with props.

I hope these tips help and propel you into the specialty of prenatal yoga. It has been my pleasure to share them and I am sure you will build your confidence if you follow these suggestions. I have taught many certified yoga teachers how to teach prenatal yoga with confidence and clarity. I hope you will choose the path of prenatal yoga.

About the Author:

Carmela Cattuti has taught prenatal yoga since 1994 and has taught many teachers to start their own prenatal yoga practice. She is Kripalu Certified and has an online prenatal yoga training for teachers prenatalyogatraining.org. The program will relaunch on January 7, 2019. She specializes in private sessions and works with injury and other concerns.

Carmela Cattuti

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