Can I do Bikram Yoga if I am pregnant?
Absolutely! Yoga has been reported to help pregnant women thoughout pregnancy, labor and delivery. There are some important notes to consider before starting or continuing your practice.
Women who practiced Bikram Yoga during pregnancy have reported feeling better during pregnancy, fewer complications, greater ease and less duration of delivery and calm, happy babies. You can learn to breathe, cope with stress and stay comfortable in your body through all of the changes pregnancy has to offer.
If you are currently a practitioner of Bikram Yoga, feel free to continue your practice as long as possible, under the advice of your doctor or midwife. Many women have practiced right up until delivery. Once you complete your 13th week, your teacher can instruct you in the modifications for pregnant women. To see photographs and descriptions, ask at the front desk. You may notice that the practice is very challenging in the first trimester as you are adjusting to hormones and increased blood volume.
If you have never done Bikram Yoga before, wait until you have entered your second trimester before beginning classes. From the beginning, you will practice the pregnancy modifications.
Many women may feel intimidated by the heat of the room. Doctors often caution women from saunas and jacuzzis. Unlike a jacuzzi or a sauna, the body temperature rises minimally during a Bikram Yoga class, on average 0.6 degrees, because of all of the sweating and liberal use of fans. You have nothing to worry about. Do the best that you can. You may even want to bring a thermometer to class to prove to yourself that you and your baby are okay.
Important notes for pregnant women:
- Practice at about 50% of your capacity and never to exhaustion.
- Be sure to stay well-hydrated.
- Feel free to bring a sports drink or snack into class if you find you are light-headed or hungry during class.
- Practice in a cooler area of the room or by the door. Feel free to leave class anytime to cool down.
- From the second trimester on, practice standing postures with your feet six inches apart for stability.
- Do not push your hips forward in the backward bends. The cartilage in your hips is preparing for birth by loosening and is less stable than it was before you were pregnant.
- No forward compressions or belly-down postures after the first trimester. Ask your teacher for modifications
There is a great article with proven literature at Bikram Yoga Vancouver site Pregnancy and Bikram Yoga
Here is another one from Bikram Yoga Portsmouth Pregnancy Blog
And a very useful article with pose modification photos from Lower East Side Bikram Yoga Pose Modifications