Prenatal Restorative Yoga with Melissa Smith Yoga
"A good teacher is one who helps you become who you feel yourself to be." ~ Julius Lester
An effective way to prop restoratively for any pose, including prenatal is to continue to ask as you adjust the pose: does this feel better, worse or the same? As you shift things, know that it may take a minute or two for them to be able to tell the difference. And, students don't always know that they could possibly be more comfortable. So, by saying: "I see way you could be more at ease" rather than "would you like another blanket", empowers them to choose ease and also decide to take it out or move it away if it's not serving what they feel at this time in their body. Over time, as teachers, we can developing a more discerning eye toward what a student might prefer. But there is no true formula for this in any modality of yoga.
Donna Farhi suggests this is called "intelligent not-knowing". Only when we "truly and deeply do not know that we can remain open to all that is possible. It is conscious uncertainty." This is how I approach a yoga practice.
Rather than assuming there is a one size fits all, I have to look at each student as unique and be careful to not "relipucate shapes and forms without necessarily (exposing them to) a direct felt experience of those forms or the meaning, purpose and relevance of specific practices. We do not know what the student is feeling and cannot gauge their threshold."
For prenatal, after first trimester elevate the head above the heart to reduce any pressure on the vena cava. Whether the student lies on the right or left side, is at the discretion of the student. There is currently no research on long held prop supported yoga postures for pregnancy.
Pregnancy is such a special time and will go in a blink of an eye. Really taking your time setting them up in postures for the most amount of ease and allowing them time to be there - for as long as they feel easeful is beneficial to the mommas to be.
These photos are from a prenatal training with Mamata Yoga (meaning mother's love) which is offering a training at Yoga and Meditation Center of Calgary spring of 2018 in 3 modules. Join us.
In the first photo, the student could use a bit more elevation for the head to bring the cervical spine to neutral. In addition, the prop support for her right arm could be higher to see if that elevates any stress on her shoulder.
In the second photo: the arm support could be brought forward just little so that her arm is supported from elbow to wrist. This variation with support under the thighs for supta buddha konasana is great during pregnancy reducing the external rotation of the hips.
The last photo: add a support for her bottom arm. She liked the placement of the top arm - and feeling her belly under her hand so we left that. It does look like she could be a little higher - meaning move her hip closer to the chair, however, she liked the idea of rolling back a little so she's not directly on her left shoulder - so we accommodated for reducing the pressure on that shoulder. the support between the legs, I would have liked to see a bit more under the foot, but again, she preferred less!
Let's continue to offer safe practices (for special conditions like prenatal) with the understanding and verbal agreement with our students that they can decide when to release the pose or make adjustments for ease and comfort. That strong stretch or (increase in chronic) pain shouldn't be a part of a restorative practice. Graceful education of the purpose, benefits and options within the pose empowers our students within class and gives them the skills to do this on their own.
You're invited to our sustainable and restorative trainings.
Been a long time coming to blogging again. Most of my posts can be found in a private facebook group, which yoga teachers can request to join. Restorative and Sustainable Yoga Group.