One of the hardest adjustments in doing a prenatal version of ashtanga is I have to skip a lot of the fun and challenging parts of the practice, as in jumpbacks, therapeutic twists and certain deep stretches. These are elements of the practice I’ve been working on for years to take myself to the next level, and while I still haven’t mastered a full jumpback unassisted, it’s always a blow to the ego to have to put a pause on progress.
I now have to step back and step forward in my vinyasas and transitions, which is way less efficient and makes me feel like I’m practicing super slowly. Not being able to jump when I’m only barely showing seems like such an unnecessary adjustment, but I do recognize that it’s precautionary (don’t want to jar the baby around!) at this stage more than a physical limitation due to size.
I can’t do cross-body twists, but “open” twists are allowed. (For example, in Marichiyasana C, I twist to the left when my right knee is up.) Since my back is already achy, I really miss being able to get a good pop along my spine! And then forward folds are all dependent on how they affect the belly area. I’m already trying to keep my legs further apart to make room, and I know I’ll be further challenged when the weight of a growing belly starts to change my overall balance.
At this stage in my pregnancy, the supine postures with legs overhead (like plow) are okay, but I have a feeling I’ll only have maybe another month or so before I can’t get myself folded in half anymore. And hey, at least I can still play with arm balances like bhujapidasana and titibasana for the time being, so not ALL the fun stuff has been stripped from my practice.
I realize most of this is ego-driven. And yeah, yoga’s not supposed to be about the ego, so clearly I still have a lot more work to do on the philosophical aspects of yoga. But I gotta tell y’all that the yoga prenatal restrictions are still nothing compared to the Chinese traditions I’m supposed to adhere to. (Stuff like, I’m not allowed to touch or be near a bride as we could cancel out each other’s happiness or something to that effect. Read here for more.)
I should be happy that I can continue my practice at all. I know a lot of women face other pregnancy-related health issues that leave them on bed rest for extended periods of time, so I’ll take my watered down, precautionary version of yoga any day.