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The Joys of Yoga During Pregnancy

As a yoga teacher in New York City, I have had the distinct pleasure of teaching many women throughout their pregnancies. Some chose to practice up until a day or two before their baby’s arrival. Others credit their yoga practice for a smooth delivery and for preserving their sanity during this incredible time of change and growth.

It is a time that requires great courage and strength, which I personally gain access to only while on the mat. If a pregnant woman already enjoys a consistent practice, I can't think of a more beautiful thing to be able to continue to do. All of my students who become moms give me feedback with a common thread: They are so happy to be able to keep up their practice throughout their journey.

There does, however, seem to be a lot of fear surrounding yoga and, specifically, hot yoga. Do I think starting a hot yoga practice at the beginning of a pregnancy is a good idea? No. (I would say the same for myriad other activities.) But if it is part of your world already, why not keep going? 

To shed some light on the subject and to empower moms-to-be, I went straight to two perfect sources: Lisa Dawn Angerame and Jennifer Heister, two Baptiste yoga teachers from Lyons Den Power Yoga (279 Church St.; 646-490-8888;, who not only practiced in the heat up until their babies came, but also taught during their pregnancies.

Lisa Dawn Angerame

Q: Did you practice and teach through your entire pregnancy? What changed and when?

A: I practiced my entire pregnancy, until the day I went into labor! For me it was gradual shifts. When I first got pregnant I was very nauseous and dizzy, so I took a break. When it became okay to practice again my belly had grown, so I had to modify certain poses. I basically just listened to my body and figured out what to do.

Q: What did your doctor say about hot yoga?

A: It’s important to always talk to your doctor and mine said practicing in the heat was fine. She said I could do anything that felt good, for as long as it felt good. She did not impose any rules or any restrictions.

B: Any tips or nuggets of wisdom to share on the joys of practicing hot yoga through pregnancy?

A: My pregnancy was a wonderful experiment. I got to experience my body changing and growing and housing another living being. I practiced and taught my entire pregnancy and did so with the mindset of being open to all that came my way.

Q: What is your best advice for hot yogis who are expecting?

A: Listen to your body. You should do this when you aren't expecting, too.

Jennifer Heister

Q: Did you practice and teach through your entire pregnancy?

A: I stopped teaching two weeks before [I gave birth], but I never stopped practicing. I practiced even on the day I went to the hospital!

Q: What poses did you love or felt were particularly beneficial?

A: I loved fish pose, especially toward the end of my pregnancy. And I loved supported frog pose. It really released my pelvis and sacrum.

Q: Are there any postures that pregnant women should avoid? Inversions, for instance?

A: I loved being upside down. I actually never stopped, I just modified with my legs on the wall. Really listen to your body. I've heard don't twist, but I loved twisting for three quarters of my pregnancy, so again, it really depends on your baby and your body.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a yogi and a mom?

A: My favorite thing is that I get to learn constantly. There is so much to learn on and off the mat in this life, and now I have a little mini me to re-teach me how to be patient, how to love, how to be present, how to be accepting, how to pause and enjoy. And all of this I can bring to my personal practice and share with my students.

Photos by Daniel Valdez

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