Bikram Yoga During And After Pregnancy

Pregnant women can and do perform Bikram yoga right up to their delivery dates using posture modifications. In most cases it is perfectly possible to practice Bikram yoga when you are pregnant. However for your own peace of mind, it is always good to double check with your doctor. If you have practiced Bikram yoga regularly for a while before you got pregnant, you can continue to practice with us from the beginning of your pregnancy.

It is important to Let your teacher know about your pregnancy before the beginning of class as there are postures you will be asked to sit out and others that will be modified for you.

Regular Student

If you have been practicing Bikram yoga regularly for a while before you got pregnant, you can continue to practice with us from the beginning of your pregnancy. However, we do recommend that the first thing to do after learning you are pregnant is to talk with your healthcare provider. He or she will help you determine what is best for your body as some pregnancies are higher risk than others for a variety of reasons that you may not be aware of.

Do not practice if you are a first time student

This is a big rule of thumb for expecting mothers when it comes to fitness and exercise. When you’re pregnant, stick to what you know and avoid adding any new, vigorous forms of exercise. Save Bikram yoga for after your pregnancy.

Do listen to your body and let go of your ego

Always listen to your body. Women, especially while pregnant, tend to have a deep-rooted understanding of what’s best for themselves and their bodies. Most yoga teachers want you to honor this whenever possible. It’s important to trust what feels okay in your body versus only doing what is deemed “right” or what you “should do,” but in a way that is mindful.

How soon after pregnancy can I start Bikram Yoga?

How quickly you return to or begin Bikram yoga class after giving birth is something to discuss with your doctor, but several factors might influence your decision.

Recommendations

"If your delivery was healthy and normal, start your yoga the moment you are out of bed," advises Choudhury in his book "Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class." "Do all the exercises from the third day, no problem." The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACOG, offers no firm guidelines on when to return to exercise other than to consult with your doctor, "start when you feel up to it" and to treat yourself gently in the beginning -- especially if you're new to the practice. Experienced Bikram yogis who practiced during pregnancy might be able to return relatively quickly.

 Hydrate!

Proper hydration is critical during gestation to maintain amniotic fluid levels, increase blood volume and ensure proper function of the kidneys.  Be sure to drink water before, during and after class. At least an additional liter of water per day is recommended when practicing. Stop and sip water during class whenever you need it.

Bikram After Surgery

If you had a cesarean section, episiotomy or other surgical intervention during your delivery, you may need to wait considerably longer,  until any incisions are fully healed, before returning to practice. It's critical to get your doctor's approval for exercise after a cesarean delivery; complete healing can take three to six months, although you might be allowed to begin earlier. When you do get the OK to return, Bikram Choudhury advises that you "confine yourself to the minimum stretch" and work up to full stretching gradually. You also could choose to perform the posture modifications for pregnancy if you find them more comfortable.

Practical Considerations

If you're breastfeeding, nurse your baby just before class to discourage leakage, although one advantage of practicing Bikram yoga is that abundant sweat can disguise any leakage that does happen. ACOG advises wearing a bra or yoga top that provides plenty of support, since your breasts will likely be larger and heavier than normal.


Celine Hankar