Carpool Asana!

I easily spend up to two hours per day driving, waiting, carpooling, shuttling, and chauffeuring my three kids around town each day.

On a rainy day like today, the time is even longer as the lines at pick-up extend around the block!

As a yoga teacher, I decided to take advantage of this idle time, and improve my health and well-bring at the same time. And my new practice of “Carpool Asana” was born!

I have found the car (ignition off, of course!) is the perfect place for some Yin Yoga and meditation! Just pick your spot, park, and wait for your kids while stretching your body and calming your mind!

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Downward Facing Yoga Mama: Yoga Inversions During Pregnancy

Here is a “Monkey Listens” question we received recently:

“I’ve been told pregnant women should not do Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog). What are some alternative poses I could offer my pregnant students (in a non pre-natal class) that offer the same benefits?”

I was really happy to see this question because it means that  pregnant women are going to class, and that yoga teachers want to keep them safe.  It also gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about inversions in pregnancy, which is a common question for teachers and yoginis.

What is an Inversion?

Believe it or not, there are differing opinions in the yoga world on what exactly constitutes an “inversion”.  In some circles, it is defined as any pose where your feet are above your head.  This  definition of an inversion would then include poses such as:

  • Viparita Karini (Legs Up the Wall)

  • Sirsasasna (Headstand)

  • Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)

  • Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)

  • Pincha Mayurasana (Scorpion)

Depending on who you ask, you may also get the answer that inversions are any pose where the head is below the heart.  With the second definition of an inversion, we add more poses to the above list including; Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold), and Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Straddle Fold).

It is important to our discussion of inversions during pregnancy, that we be clear on which definition and type of inversion we are referring to.


Safe Savasana During Pregnancy

As yoga teachers, how we react when pregnant students walk into our classes can have an impact on the way the students view their pregnancies.   If we react to pregnant students with eyes that grow three sizes, a gasp and grimace we will convey to them that pregnancy is a scary and unsafe “condition”.

However, if we respond with a warm welcome, confident smile, and a short explanation of modifications, we convey to them that pregnancy is natural part of the human experience.  Additionally, our willingness to show them modifications for pregnancy helps insure they will continue to practice yoga consistently.

In order to help yoga teachers become educated, comfortable and confident in leading pregnant students safely through their yoga practice, 90 Monkeys has released a series of articles about pregnancy and yoga, each article with a different emphasis and addressing the most common questions about yoga and pregnancy.

This article focuses on preparing you to guide your pregnant students through a supportive and safe Savasana (corpse pose and/or final relaxation).

Why can’t pregnant women lay on their backs?

During the first trimester of pregnancy, it is safe for women to lay on their backs and enjoy a traditional Savasana. However, during the second and third trimesters, women are recommended to enjoy Savasana on their side.


Core Considerations for Yoga During Pregnancy

As yoga teachers, the likelihood of us having pregnant women in our classes at one point or another, is very high.  Therefore, it’s important for us to be able to confidently and knowledgeably guide women through their practice.

The issue of “core work” during pregnancy is a very common question for yoga teachers and yoga students alike.

What is the “core”?

The first thing we need to establish, is our definition of the word “core,” as there are many different meanings floating around out there.  Simply put, the “core” of the body is the torso.  It’s the main portion of the body, not including the head, arms, and legs.

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