Downward Dog in Prenatal Yoga with Kim MacDonald-Heildant and Shannon Crow
Shannon met Kim MacDonald-Heildant at a prenatal yoga teacher training and they bonded over their enthusiasm for this area of expertise. Leaving the training with even more questions, Shannon and Kim decided to join forces. They felt that while every teacher and training brought them valuable experience, they wanted to expand on what they learned to incorporate the research and experience they’ve gained since.
Shannon and Kim co-founded Mama Nurture to provide a 100-hour prenatal yoga teacher training (PYTT) that spends more time on all the wonderful aspects of prenatal that are often only touched on in PYTT (e.g. postnatal and fertility) while expanding on anatomy. Their website also provides great resources such as articles, breath practices and yoga sequences.
Kim was drawn to yoga as a self-care practice and became even more enthusiastic about the practice when she became pregnant. She enjoyed her pregnancies and the way yoga enhanced her experience. This positive relationship led her to enrol in a 200-hour YTT followed by a PYTT and is now a certified children’s and prenatal yoga teacher. She is also a mother of 2, a teacher, co-owner and director of Gibbons Park Montessori School as well as the founder of Live Laugh Breathe Yoga.
Shannon and Kim found that one of the most common questions from yoga teachers in prenatal training is: “Can I teach downward dog to pregnant yoga students?” There are many opinions about this. Shannon and Kim are going to share their opinions which they emphasize are not meant to be a definitive answer. In fact, through listening to each other they’ve switched positions!
As Shannon and Kim say: “No one yoga pose is good for everyone. No one yoga pose is bad for everyone.” They explore reasons why downward dog is on their caution list and offer alternative poses that can provide some of the same benefits.
7:20 Kim’s yoga journey
9:00 What inspired Kim and Shannon to create their own prenatal yoga teacher training
10:45 Kim’s thoughts on prenatal and downward dog
12:25 How Shannon and Kim ended up switching their positions on downward dog in prenatal yoga
13:35 Article written by Kim and Shannon
14:10 Reasons Kim and Shannon caution, take out, or only offer downward dog as an option in their classes:
14:25 1) Unnecessary strain on the low back
15:45 2) Can cause or exacerbate heartburn and nausea
16:45 3) Most prenatal students are beginners and downward dog is not a beginner pose
18:30 4) Can irritate carpal tunnel which is common in pregnant women
19:20 5) It can cause baby to turn
20:40 6) Can increase round ligament pain
21:15 7) Can affect very low or high blood pressure
23:35 Kim and Shannon’s favourite pose for prenatal students- Puppy Pose
25:10 Kim and Shannon’s cueing for downward dog for a prenatal student that wants to attempt the pose
26:25 To stretch out the calf muscles- Modified Big Toe Pose
27:55 Bird Dog Pose
28:45 Legs Up the Wall
29:20 Half Forward Fold
30:50 Kim’s words of wisdom when it comes to incorporating Downward Dog- “Try to let go with what’s expected of you.” Observe your class, don’t be afraid to ask how it feels for your students, your students may do it because they feel like they should, not because it works for them
31:55 Kim and Shannon want to share their information and experience to help others make a more informed opinion about downward dog in prenatal- no absolute answer
33:15 Shannon’s closing thoughts- ask yourself what benefit do you want to gain from a pose?
MamaNurture Article: Can I Teach Downward Dog to Prenatal Yoga Students
Free Images Discussion on TCYT Facebook Group-A special thanks to Lindsey Larson for starting the discussion
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