Is It Safe?
It’s super common for people to ask me if it’s safe to practice twisting poses during prenatal yoga. The short answer is yes.
I remember my own 200-hour yoga teacher training years ago. We had a memorable lesson about pregnant people in our classes. Our teacher had us stuff blocks into our tank tops over our bellies and then try to practice a standard Vinyasa flow. It was immediately obvious what was possible and what was not possible. Did I say dangerous? Nope, I said possible.
What’s The Problem?
In the twisting department, open twists (like seated twist) = no problem. Closed twists (like prayer twist) = problem. Why? Prayer twist isn’t inherently dangerous. It’s simply not possible to manage it with a big pregnant belly. The belly gets in the way.
A Twisted Idea
Somehow, this idea of twisting got all twisted around into a red lights and siren dangerous idea. I have a news flash for you. It isn’t dangerous. If you are pregnant and even slightly active (like you don’t sit still in a chair all day when you aren’t otherwise sleeping in your bed) you are twisting during the course of your more or less normal life. It’s IMPOSSIBLE (I hope) to move around in the world without twisting your body.
In the big wide world of human bodies, female bodies have traditionally been viewed as not the norm and so delicate to likely go haywire at any moment. Following this line of “logic”, by association, pregnant bodies are particularly abnormal/fragile/hormonally off the rails. Therefore, we can plainly see that twisting must be especially dangerous…Really? Nope.
Get over it. Here’s a twist you can do – not because it’s the safe one, but because it’s the one you can do with a big belly – or a block in your shirt.
Why Should I Do t?
• Mobilizes the spine in rotation
• Strengthens the External and Internal Obliques
• Relieves low back pain
• Increases blood flow to the adrenal glands, uterus and ovaries
• Stimulates the intestines
How Do I Do It?
• Sit tall on a small bolster, rolled towel or blanket to tilt your pelvis slightly forward.
• Spread your legs out wide.
• Place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh.
• Send your left foot behind you – or you can leave your left leg stretched out long.
• Your shins are on the mat or floor.
• Place your hands on your thighs.
• Inhale and use your arm strength to lengthen your spine.
• Exhale as you use your core strength to twist to your right – toward the foot that’s behind you.
• Spend a minute or more (or count several rounds of breath) gradually opening.
• Inhale to lengthen your spine. Exhale to deepen your twist.
• Slow it down and breathe into any areas that feel tight.
• Do both sides.
About Carol Gray
Carol is the founder and owner of MamaSpace Yoga. She has been a therapeutic bodyworker in private practice for over 30 years. She specializes in Craniosacral Therapy for pregnant and postpartum people and infants. Carol has spent years developing hands-on techniques to enhance the mobility in pregnant bodies including the bony pelvis, the abdominal organs, the support structures and lower segment of the uterus. She is proud to have pioneered the integration of this gentle manual therapy into prenatal care, the birth place and postpartum care for birthing parents and babies. The goal is to give babies more room to develop, grow and get born. Her specially-designed yoga classes have grown naturally from the roots of bodywork and yoga.
Carol has dedicated her professional life to supporting expectant and new families by promoting gentle aware birth. She has attended births for over 35 years – at first as a doula and from 2000 to 2012 as a midwife. She has since retired from attending births in order to focus on practicing and teaching CST and prenatal yoga. Her many years as a birth worker have forever changed her and her worldview. Those experiences remain an integral part of who she is as a therapist and teacher.
Carol is the founder and director of the The Carol Gray Center for CST Studies®. She teaches high-quality, small group classes that are appropriate for bodyworkers, birth attendants and other health professionals. She is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education approved provider.