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At Kula we have such a wide variety of students from all across Hawthorn, Hawthorn East and Camberwell. Since we offer so many styles of yoga, including Flow, Hot, Yin, Barre and Pre & Postnatal, we want to be sure all of our students know how to get the most from classes. We get many mums-to-be coming to Prenatal classes asking about whether they can attend other classes besides the ones we create specifically for prenatal students. This post is about all things prenatal, from which classes to take, which classes to avoid, and how to make the practice suit you wherever you go.
Which classes should mums-to-be avoid?
Yoga is fantastic for our bodies and our minds. However, if you’re pregnant and have never done a yoga class before, we don’t consider now the time to jump into a dynamic Flow class. Also, we know that mummas run hot! Therefore we suggest prenatal students avoid heavily heated classes. Our Hot classes are heated to 35 degrees, and Flow is 28 degrees. We do  not recommend Hot classes for pregnant students, and Flow classes can be suitable if the student already had a yoga practice before falling pregnant. This brings us to our Yin class- a slow paced, mostly seated, room temperature yoga class. We do not recommend Yin for pregnant students as the Relaxin hormone that naturally occurs in pregnant women (to prepare the body for birth) can allow students to stretch beyond their normal capacity.
Which classes are “prenatal approved?”
We offer a Pre & Postnatal yoga class 2x week that our teachers sequence specifically for expectant mums. This class is safe and recommended for all pregnant students. If the student is a regular yoga practitioner and would like more of a physical challenge, we offer Flow and Barre classes that may suit. Our Flow classes move quickly, and offer inversions and arm balances which we do not advise during pregnancy, however there are some modifications for pregnant women to enjoy a Flow a class (more in the paragraph below). Basics classes focus on stability, strength, toning and correct alignment, which is fantastic for postnatal mums returning to practice. This class allows pregnant women as well as long as they feel familiar with yoga and body awareness and make necessary modifications.
Prenatal modifications for general yoga
Our resident Prenatal Yoga Guru (and mum of 2!) Andrea Broadbear shares some general tips for practicing yoga with a bub on board.

  • Avoid closed belly twists
  • Avoid lying on the belly, particularly after the 1st Trimester
  • Gentle backbends are ok, definitely no Full Wheel or Bow Pose. Camel is ok if done gently and hands are supporting the lower back, no reaching for the heels
  • Step through transitions, no jerking or jumping
  • Keep legs hip width for standing and forward folds, a wider stance may be needed for most standing poses
  • DO NOT practice Hot Yoga and avoid overheating in a Flow class. This means regular hydration and resting whenever needed. The student’s ability to keep the breath even is a good indication of whether they’re working too hard
  • Be aware of over-stretching, suggest taking the stretch to only 70% and concentrate on engaging and strengthening the legs
  • Always leave space for the belly and avoid overstretching the belly area
  • Always move mindfully and gently in and out of poses
  • A Flow class is really only appropriate for a student who already had an established practice before becoming pregnant. A general class is not appropriate for a prenatal student with no previous yoga experience.
  • If a student has had any issues with their pregnancy (pelvic instability, high/low blood pressure) regardless of their yoga experience, they really should be attending a prenatal specific class
  • If you’re not sure of an alternative pose as a prenatal student,  do a few rounds of Cat/Cow or rest in Childs Pose and focus on the breath- only rejoining the routine when appropriate
  • Listen to your body and always err on the side of caution- if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it!

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