Pregnancy and Practice: The Paradigm Shift


Together we unearthed a conversation about the ideas of gender, tradition, and the role of the teacher during pregnancy.

The discussion around pregnancy and Ashtanga is about far more than safety and comfort during practice.

If you’ve been following our blog since the beginning, you may be familiar with our very first article on this topic. Well, this conversation goes far beyond that.

I sat down with David Robson and Safire Naranjo to have an in-depth discussion about all things pregnancy and practice. And what started out as a project to discuss the idea’s around a safe pregnant practice, turned into something much more profound.

Melissa Singh Pregnant Yoga

Together we unearthed a conversation about the ideas of gender, tradition, and the role of the teacher during pregnancy. We navigated some difficult questions and challenged idea’s that are at the very core of this traditional lineage.

Idea’s around what women are capable of in their practice – pregnant or not.

How the tradition of abstaining from practice for the first three months of pregnancy may not be appropriate for all women.

And how our language while addressing pregnant women may need to shift to accommodate people who don’t identify as women.

While this discussion challenges some traditions and beliefs, it does not negate them entirely. Rather it offers possible solutions to our current ways of thinking about pregnancy and Ashtanga.

I think it’s important that we question these paradigms. That we don’t always believe everything we’re told. That we begin to shift the conversation away from old patterns, and towards new ways of thinking and being. We ought to look at pregnancy during practice on an individual basis, rather than creating a one size fits all approach.

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Melissa Singh


  1. Dena Zimbel on January 31, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    I’m a midwife, Ashtangi and mother of 4. I think this is a very valuable discussion. I hope this information gets shared beyond the Ashtanga community. Just a quick note about exercising in heat. The research on mammal brain development suggests some impairment with mothers and fetuses (mice in this case) having significant exposure to temperatures above normal body temperature. The fetus’s exposure time is prolonged as it relies on maternal circulation to cool down so it stays warmer longer. This would apply to Bikram style yoga or exercising in heated rooms above normal body temp. I don’t think many if any Ashtanga Shalas heat the room to that extreme. Thought clarification might be of value to those who would extrapolate this info out of context. Thanks again for a thoughtful and intelligent look at the issue.

  2. Jennifer on February 3, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Thank you for this! I’m 17 weeks pregnant and it was so helpful to hear that many fears about safety in Ashtanga are unfounded. I’m excited to practice feeling more empowered with choices.

    • Melissa Singh on February 3, 2018 at 6:09 pm

      So glad you liked the video, and are feeling empowered, Jennifer! That’s exactly what we were aiming for 🙂