Teaching Yoga Pregnant/Teaching Pregnant Yoga

In less than a week (actually, it’s now TODAY!) I travel to Omaha to complete my final training module to become a prenatal yoga instructor and in two weeks (ONE!), I will step into that role in real time, holding my very first prenatal class at avani on Feb. 8. I have been reading and taking classes and observing classes and pinning away class ideas for months now and am so very darn excited to begin this amazing work. I am also humbled and honored by the auspicious timing of my fourth pregnancy that has aligned to allow me to grow right along with my prenatal students through the rest of the winter, spring and most of what will most likely be a really hot spent-inside-the-beautiful-AC summer. I honestly can’t think of a better way to learn and grow as a new prenatal teacher than to be right there in the thick of it with my mamas-to-be, experiencing many of the same physical and emotional changes in, again, real time. Amazing.

As it stands, I have already been teaching yoga while pregnant for four weeks now. Actually, I was teaching yoga while pregnant before that, too, just unknowingly. Remember my Winter Solstice? How incredible it will be to tell this sweet babe one day that s/he once did 108 sun salutations inside my belly!

Teaching during this last month, though, has been interesting. Very few people knew about the pregnancy prior to my first OB appointment, so I can only imagine what my students thought of my unexplained windedness while cueing during class (oh.my.gosh! did that get bad and fast! within a week of discovering I was pregnant, I was already finding myself breathless at times during a class and that was when I was just walking around – not even demonstrating!) or my worse-than-when-I-started mix-ups of Left and Right. You trying mirroring your L/Rs with a fourth case of Mommy Brain. Trying stuff, I tell you! And then, of course, there are the demos. For my Basic class, especially, I tend to demonstrate much of what they do in their postures, but I’ve begun to (at least try to) show less, cue more, in part for the breathlessness but also because I don’t want to do all of it. Some of that has to do with energy level, some with poses I want to begin avoiding because of my pregnancy (see? already putting my prenatal training to good use!). But since none of them knew my real reason for holding back, I can only guess what they might have been thinking.

In one case, I actually got called out during class by a jokingly asked question of, “Are you trying to tell us something, Jenni?” after having them do Rock the Baby and then Happy Baby poses back-to-back, and all I can say is, I am grateful they were on their backs and not looking at my face at the time because it totally would have given me away. Side note: it was eventually really great to share with the friend who asked the question because her reaction to finding out she was “right” was pretty funny.

Even though I am definitely starting to have moments/hours/days of constant queasiness, I am hoping that my yoga practice will sustain and carry me through the next six weeks especially. I have been doing more home practice as of late instead of at the studio, to avoid certain poses and questions about why I’m not doing them just yet, but when I’ve been teaching this last month, I actually tend to feel pretty good. Winded? Tired? Yes, at times. But the same joy I’ve always felt from my practice and from teaching are still there and it actually seems to make the nausea subside for a bit, either because I have something else to think about or because the practice just makes my body feel better. I have noticed, though, that while it feels great in the moment, I am starting to crash pretty hard after I get done – either hungry or nauseous (or both – how is that possible?) and tired for sure. So while it would be great to say, Yes! Add more classes!, in reality I need to remember to slow down and take care of myself, too.

Of course, as more people hear about the baby (and as my belly starts to grow!), it will be more easily apparent as to why I am teaching in a different manner in the coming months. And I am so grateful that my first foray into prenatal teaching will be such a meta experience, for I cannot think of a better way to learn than to be living, breathing, and doing it myself, too.

Now. Off to pack so I can hit the road, meet up with my Lotus lovelies, and embrace all that is to come in Module Three!!!

Like trees, we bend so we do not break. 


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