Review of Ashtanga Yoga for Pregnancy DVD
Debi Hendra Heartcenter Yoga NZ
This DVD is aimed at those women already with an established Ashtanga practice before becoming pregnant, to give them an insight into how to adapt their practice.
It shows Debi in her second pregnancy doing an adapted primary series, with her voice over counting the vinyasa and describing the adaptations. Debi emphasises the importance of listening to your body at this time of change and that it is appropriate to have a different focus to our Ashtanga practice- stepping not jumping, not building up too much inner heat, focusing on the release rather than seeking challenge in the Asanas, cultivating calm and balance, stilling the mind. Like she says pregnancy is a Yoga in itself.
This is a non-dogmatic approach. Debi offers several possible adaptations to quite a lot of postures, which ones to leave out, she acknowledges the differing advice out there and in several places cites what Pattabhi Jois advised, leaving it to the practitioner to choose what feels right for them. Everyone can appreciate Debi’s clear instructions through the practice, her encouragement to adapt more and more as pregnancy progresses. She gives examples from her own experience and how she felt very different in her second pregnancy compared to her first.
From a Birthlight perspective we would normally advise to adapt more, leave out a couple more postures and ideally at least take a Birthlight class alongside their adapted Ashtanga practice. The adaptations shown would not necessarily be enough to prevent or alleviate PGP. We have a whole other range of practices in late pregnancy for birth preparation and different practices postnatally.
Would I recommend it to pregnant Ashtangis?
I think it offers a great starting point to those women who have not practiced other forms of Yoga apart from Ashtanga to help them adapt, it encourages acceptance of the physical changes and that this is a time to have a different focus. Ashtangis will appreciate Debi’s inclusion of the Sanskrit counting.
Would I recommend it to Birthlight perinatal teachers?
For those wanting an insight into an experienced pregnant yogini practicing Ashtanga this DVD has a lot to offer in terms of offering advice on want to begin adapting. Many perinatal teachers will have women with an Ashtanga practice coming to try a pregnancy class, or asking for advice and I think this will help teachers without experience of Ashtanga appreciate what their practice is like and combined with their Birthlight training they will be able to offer appropriate adaptations and helpful advice and practices.
More information and to purchase
Kirsteen Ruffell, Birthlight Perinatal & Baby Yoga Tutor