I have been going to Bikram yoga regularly for the last few years and absolutely love it. When I fell pregnant a few months ago I stopped as I was feeling less energetic and wasn't sure if I could still do Bikram while pregnant. I am now just over three months pregnant and would like to go back to doing a class once or twice a week.
Is it safe to do Bikram during pregnancy? I know pregnant women should be careful to not overheat but I have seen pregnant women doing classes before. If you could clear this up for me, that would be great.
There are many experts out there who will tell you not to practise any style of hot or warm yoga during pregnancy. During the first trimester I would agree with this advice, however, after that time and if your pregnancy is normal, then I have seen many women return to their practice in a gentle way practising both hot and warm yoga.
If the mother is conditioned to practising in a hot room, then she will have built up a very efficient cooling system and be able to sweat easily and cool the body down when it heats up during practice. If the mother is brand-new to a hot yoga class, she will not have this experience and should opt for a prenatal or gentler, non-heated, style of yoga. The mother's body needs to remain at a temperature of one degree less than the foetus so it is able to take heat away from the growing child.
The emphasis would be to listen to your body, not to over strain, and if you are tired then do not practise or instead do some gentle postures. You need your energy for the baby to grow. However, if you feel that you are conditioned for the practice and you understand how to safely modify the postures so blood flow is never restricted to the foetus, then enjoy being in your body and practise with a nurturing attitude.
If you do decide to return to hot yoga, make sure you let the teacher know you will be resting from time to time in the class and request not to be pushed. This is a time for great compassion, awareness and love, and if you bring that energy into the classroom you will be sure to be safe. Namaste.
Duncan Peak yoga expert