How to Access Creativity through Yoga

Written by Carmela Cattuti, LPN, CYT.

I have taught prenatal yoga since 1994. I am currently teaching a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. My students all have the same question: "How do I teach a pregnant student who has never taken yoga before? One day they just walked into my class and I didn't know what to do."

prenatal yoga

Teaching prenatal yoga requires a particular skill set. Many yoga instructors come from programs that include little prenatal training or none at all. Inevitably, a pregnant student shows up in class and the teacher is at a loss. The pregnant student is usually ignored or the instructor hovers around that student fearful that she will do something to injure the student or the baby. Unless this student has practiced with the instructor for at least a year, then there are 5 postures to encourage the pregnant student to avoid.

Inverted Postures

Inverted postures are challenging for the most seasoned yogis. While other students are practicing headstand, have the pregnant student do child's pose or half shoulder stand.

Full Back Bend

Chakasana dynamically stretches the abdominal muscles and compresses the lower back. While abdominal stretches should be a part of prenatal yoga, extreme stretches should be avoided. As the abdominal muscles expand with the growth of the baby, they are already stretched to their maximum.

Fire Breath

Fire breath is stimulation and can stress the nervous system in a pregnant student. In pregnancy the endocrine system is over-stimulated due to the secretion of hormones so it is important that we do not stress the body with a stimulating breath. A slow connected breath that focuses on the student's individual breathing rhythm is best.

Plank Pose

General Yoga classes are peppered with plank posture. Some pregnant women are fine practicing plank pose, others will find the pressure on the abdominal muscles too difficult to tolerate. In general, substitute half plank (knees on floor) or child's pose for full plank.


Have the pregnant woman do savasana on her side. Some women are fine in dead man's pose on their back. When a pregnant woman is on her back sometimes she may feel nauseated or dizzy because the vena cava (vein running from the heart) is compressed and her circulation is compromised.

I suggest teachers use their intuition and common sense when it comes to instructing pregnant women in a general class. If they have practiced with you before and you know their postures then the student can do more. Fellow these 5 tips and you will teach your pregnant student safely and confidently without concerns of injury or adverse effect on mom or baby.

Carmela Cattuti's yoga teaching career began at age forty two. Opportunities for teaching came to her and a new career path presented itself. Her nursing background gave her a deep understanding of health and assisted in her study of Iyengar alignment and safety. After fourteen years of study she found that all her abilities merged and she could offer students a safe and vitality producing experience. She integrated her talent as an artist into her approach to postures and spiritual concepts. This approach added another layer to her presentation and execution of poses. Carmela is able to direct students through restrictions in body, mind, and spirit. She assists students to feel their way through the postures to embrace what is on the other side of the process. Visit prenatalyogatraining.org for more information.

Carmela Cattuti

VIDEO - 7 Yoga Postures for Pregnancy
The practice of yoga during pregnancy can not only keep you physically fit, but also mentally prepared for the birth. Here are some yoga postures to help alleviate pregnancy discomforts.

Related Links