How To (Part 1): Teaching Pregnant Students
Teaching pregnant students is always a bit anxiety-provoking if you haven’t really experienced pregnancy. Hopefully, this can help you.
I will discuss some of contraindications and common conditions pregnant students experience in another article. In this part one of the article, I would like to discuss emotional side of things.
Chakras during pregnancy
Remember, this is a real trip from the root chakra to the seventh in nine short months.
First experience is that of physical changes that are generated by first (root) and second (sacral) chakras. They may feel grounded and stable as they embrace the first tastes of motherhood or completely shaken and lost.
In the third (solar plexus) chakra, as the baby grows, they start to lose the sense of their identity as a person they used to be pre-pregnancy in the third chakra. Physically, they can feel the baby taking over their bodies: so many things are happening without their sense of control. Then they may have to change their lifestyles or activities because of the baby. They will learn to let go their ideas of who they were pre-pregnancy.
In the fourth (heart) chakra, they may start to feel all feelings with more awareness. They may feel union with their unborn children with unconditional love or they may feel changed, inadequate or even see themselves unattractive and feel jealous or left out. Physically, they will start to feel their bodies as a vessel for nurture as their breasts start to prepare themselves for feeding.
In the fifth (throat) chakra, in the centre of will power, if they do not feel supported, they may not be able to express their fears or anxiety to their caretakers. If they do feel supported, they may feel “in charge” of this whole experience and free to choose the birthing methods, for example. Even if this is not their first pregnancy, anxiety and fear travel with them. Anything from physical conditions they’d like to discuss but feel ashamed (ex. lack of libido, sense of loss because of weight gain, prolapsed organs etc.) to their preferred birthing methods such as hospitals, with a doula, midwife, birthing playlist, water birth, home birth etc. If they feel grounded in the first and third, they are very likely to be able to confidently choose their wishes.
Their sixth (third eye) chakra teaches them to trust their own feelings and intuition as they become more “used” to being pregnant. It is quite common that against all opinions from doctors, the mothers may choose to do things differently all of a sudden. And this is their sixth chakra taking seat in the proper place.
Then last but not least, the seventh (crown) chakra prepares them for the ultimate experience of their lifetime: union. I don’t know anyone who has witnessed or experienced labour and denied this feeling of overwhelming bliss, or happiness, a feeling of being with something bigger than themselves.
Remember, they are going through a journey they were chosen and meant to travel. This is a rite of passage. Your job as a yoga teacher is to reassure them and remind them of their power within. Give them solid foundation, a space to breathe and allow them to feel whatever is showing up for them in a yoga class. That’s what they are looking for in a yoga practice.