An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Prenatal Yoga Modifications

Friday, October 23, 2015

Prenatal Yoga Modifications

I know I got a few of you with Wednesday's post and Instagram pic of a freshly delivered baby! Nope, still super pregnant over here. Emphasis on the word SUPER. The good news is that I'm still getting five workouts in a week at nearly eight months pregnant! With that said, I'm taking just about every modification in my yoga and barre classes. I realized that not all women know what modifications are available to take, so I'm outlining some of the most common prenatal yoga (or barre!) modifications for you below.

Side note: this aren't just for preggos! If you're nursing an injury or just getting into yoga, these are fantastic options for you, too.

5 Common Prenatal Yoga Modifications

1) Twisted chair
All twists get challenging as soon as you start to "show" in your pregnancy. They're also difficult for people with lower back pain or spine fusions, and can also be challenging if you're new to yoga and aren't used to moving your spine in this fashion. Don't worry, you'll get there newbies! But in the meantime, leave your back straight and lessen the twist by only moving from your spine with your arms outstretched. You'll still feel the "rinsing" of your spine, but you won't over do it. If you're pregnant, no pressure is applied on the baby this way. If you're not, your spine will only let you twist as far as it will move so your risk of injury is reduced.

2) Chatturanga
Chatturanga is hard! Possibly, one of the most challenging yoga poses. It requires immense arm, back and core strength. So for those who are carrying a few extra pregnancy pounds, doing this pose from your knees is a great alternative! It's also good for EVERYONE during your warm up so you don't over strain yourself and hurt your back. Simply put your knees down before bending your arms into your sides for the push up. This reduces the weight your triceps need to carry and makes the pose accessible to more levels of fitness.

3) Boat pose
In traditional boat pose, your legs are together and if your core is super strong, they're fully extended with your arms reaching forward. With a belly in the way, I separate my legs to the sides of my baby. Because I have so much baby there (who has inconveniently relocated where my ab muscles are!) I also use my arms to hold on to the backs of my knees for support. If you don't have a strong core, keep your legs together with your knees bent and feet flexed. If you need more support, use your arms like I am in this photo until you develop your core strength enough to hold your legs with only your abs.

If you're a bendy preggo (aka, flexible) this is also a fun deviation from boat pose. Grab on to your big toes and stretch your legs up! Your feet are "supposed" to be together in this variation, but because of my baby bump, they're separated. Stretch on, mamas!
4) Seated twist
Perhaps you're looking at this and wondering what's modified about it. Truth be told, I JUST figured this modification out! Typically, when doing a seated twist, you twist INTO your bent leg and use your opposite arm as leverage to take you further into the twist. I'm going the other way, because my bent knee would get in the way of my bump. This enables me to get a great twist (it feels so good on sore lower pregnant backs!) but allows enough room for baby to hang out safely and not get squished by my quad. Win-win.

5) Side plank
Planks are all about the core. And balance. Two things pregnant women have very little of! So instead of balancing on two fully extended legs and the sides of my flexed feet, I put my lower leg down for core strength support. If I want more from the pose, I can lift my extended leg up (keeping the foot flexed - there are no pointed toes in yoga! Dancers, I'm looking at you...) When I keep my leg down like I have pictured above, extending my top arm overhead creates a great stretch in the side body.

Linking up with Amanda, Karli, April and H54F!

The further you progress into your pregnancy, the more you'll need to adapt your yoga poses to fit your growing bump. These prenatal yoga modifications are also great for those who are coming back from an injury (or have a nagging chronic injury) and for all the yoga newbies who just want to get familiar with the poses before they go all out. What ever camp you fall into, these prenatal yoga modifications will help you have a successful, lifelong yoga practice!


  1. You look so fabulous doing these poses, lady! Your form is ON POINT! I've used modified poses before when I was nursing an injury. I admit I felt a bit wimpy, but I knew it was better than nothing. Happy Friday, fabulous!

  2. Is it bad I want to do the modifications even though I'm not preggers!! LOL! Hope you have a great weekend! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  3. Uhh... I'm totally going to use these and I'm not even pregnant. Hahaha! I love that you put these modifications out there. Maybe one day I'll have skillz like you. ;)

  4. Okay these are really good. I'm not a yogi, but I could get into these. Like last night watching the game I was doing some leg exercises. I could see me doing these moves while watching a show in the evening.

  5. Beautiful momma! I wish I had this when I was overly prego! I will definitely keep in mind for baby #2!

  6. Looking fabulous Momma! ;) Have a great weekend my friend! xo

  7. Great post! When I first walked into the yoga studio a few weeks ago, the girls working freaked out that I was pregnant and immediately tried to sell me the prenatal yoga classes (which are not cheap). I'm glad just a few days before my OB told me not to waste my money on them and that in a normal class, my body would tell me what I can and cannot do. It's getting much harder, but still a great form of exercise. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. This is great!! So awesome that you are able t okeep up with it right now. You go girl!!

  9. So helpful! I've been meaning to get more into prenatal yoga as things move along. Do you have any recommendations of Youtube channels or other things to find outside a gym? I'm always looking for stuff my lazy behind can do from home ;)

  10. Love this! Yoga helped my lower back pain when I was pregnant so much! We don't have a barre class or yoga class nearby so I ended up doing everything at home, I am pinning this for when I am pregnant again so I can reference it!

    Annie- All Things Big And Small

  11. Dang girl I am very impressed with your flexibility! That is why I love barre and yoga so much, there are modifications for everything! Plus I heard it really helps with your breathing and ab control for contractions and pushing. You will definitely be my go to when that time comes ;-)

  12. love this post - saving it for 'one day'. go you for continuing 5 workouts a week girl, thats fabulous! and you look amazing!

  13. The emergence of community associated MRSA infections may aggravate the problem.” Martial arts will hurt your back

  14. I am doing yoga since 2008. At first, it was hard for me to get the necessary items for yoga. A friend of mine suggested me yoga supplies . Though I was hesitating first, after knowing there worldwide shipping and money return policy, I ordered a few things from them and I am so glad that I choose them. Their product quality is so good, just as they claim and very long-lasting. Their price is also very reasonable, which helps me a lot to purchase more.

  15. Miraculous writings by a miraculous writer, I must say.
    prenatal massage Singapore

  16. And last, but certainly not least, every student is concerned that, once he/she will order an essay online, he/she cannot be sure that the paper will be 100 percent original do my dissertation, particularly when you contact an essay writing service for the very first time.