How to Become a Pregnancy Yoga Teacher
Read an Expert’s Guide to Choosing the Right Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training
Working with the pregnant community is a deeply rewarding job.
As a yoga teacher, I have supported pregnant women for nearly two decades and I still LOVE my job. These days, I don’t just teach pregnancy yoga, I’m also a busy birth doula, a childbirth educator, a birth dancing teacher and a pregnancy teacher trainer and mentor. My Pregnancy Yoga with Mindfulness course has been filmed as a DVD, taught online and in-person to thousands of pregnant women over the last decade. I run birth workshops for pregnant women, birth partners and birth professionals. I am a passionate birth advocate. Yoga and Mindful self-awareness remains at the heart of everything I do
Now it’s your turn. To help you become a pregnancy yoga teacher, I have prepared for you some questions to reflect on before you embark on your pregnancy yoga teaching journey. Hopefully, they will help you clarify a few key points and refine your search so that you find the right pregnancy yoga teacher training for you.
Why Become a Pregnancy Yoga Teacher?
Perhaps you are a yoga teacher wanting to expand into pregnancy yoga teaching; maybe your 121 yoga client is suddenly pregnant or you have an influx of pregnant students in your general classes? Is it a full pregnancy yoga teacher training that you are after? Or perhaps a module on Incorporating Pregnancy into General Yoga Classes might be a better starting point? I offer a one day immersion on the Safe Accommodation of Pre and Post-natal Students into General Yoga Classes with the Yoga Teachers Forum. This one-day workshop will provide you with a real understanding of the needs of the pregnant student through the three trimesters and how to adapt and modify your lesson plan for their needs. It also helps you to identify the common complications of pregnancy and postnatal recovery so that students are safe in your general classes. This is an ideal way to dip your toes into the world of pregnancy and see if you want to go further. The next workshop will be in September 2023 and booking is via the YTF.
Perhaps you are already working with pregnancy but want to have more resources at your disposal to better support your pregnant clients. Birth doulas, midwives, hypnotherapists and other birth-workers can really benefit from attending pregnancy yoga teacher trainings even though they cannot run pregnancy yoga classes. I have had midwives and doulas attend my Yoga with Mindfulness Teacher Training in order to be able to bring a much more physical and embodied element to their birth education classes as well as more mindfulness to help their clients better manage their mental and emotional health. The question you need to be asking is: What are you hoping to get from the training that can enhance the work you already do? It is important to recognise that you will not be able to call yourself a pregnancy yoga teacher unless you have the minimum of a certified 200 hr Yoga Teacher training.
Perhaps you are a teacher who has recently been pregnant and experienced childbirth yourself; maybe you found it incredible and feel inspired to support those coming up behind you; or maybe you found it deeply challenging and feel inspired to prepare others in the way that you were not! Many women come to pregnancy yoga teaching after their own childbirth experience. – including me. It can be a real call to action. If this is your motivation, then please take the time to ensure that you find the training that will really empower you to make the changes you wish to bring to the pregnant community.Find a training with the passion to match yours.
You do not need to be a mother to teach pregnancy yoga. If the passion and interest in female health and wellbeing is there, and the belief that yoga has everything to support the transition to motherhood, then a pregnancy yoga teacher training is right for you. I know many midwives, doulas and yoga teachers who have not experienced childbirth themselves and remain amazing and effective birth-workers. However it is essential then that you choose a pregnancy course with a strong leaning towards birth education so that you feel confident and equipped to be able to incorporate some of that knowledge into your pregnancy yoga classes. All good pregnancy yoga classes will feature some degree of birthing knowledge and practice.
As you can see, there are very different reasons for working with pregnancy and perhaps they require different training programmes. Some trainings prioritise the yoga, others more the birth education; some focus only on pregnancy and birth, others incorporate postnatal; some focus on cultivating a strong inner life; others on a strong community. It is important to check that the training you are signing up for is offering the content you want to cover.
So What Aspect of the Pregnancy & Birth Experience Really Interests You?
Is it the female community aspect? The birth education? The female centric bodywork? Or the fascinating anatomy and physiology? To help you explore this question, first we need to understand how pregnancy yoga is different from regular yoga – because it really is. From its curves and waves, spirals and general fluidity to its pre-occupation with female pelvic health, it is a beautiful celebration of the feminine at the height of her reproductive cycle. But it is different in other ways too. Here are some of the key differences:
How is Pregnancy Yoga Different from Classical Yoga?
Pregnancy Yoga Inevitably Contains Birth Education: The question is how much? Again all trainings differ. Check to see how experienced in this arena the teachers are. For example on my training, four of the five teachers regularly attend births; the fifth has had four births experiences of her own. On my teacher training, birth preparation takes up third of the 100 hours – that’s because I believe it is intrinsic to pregnancy yoga.
Pregnancy Yoga Acknowledges The Baby: the mothers body is the living environment for the baby so inevitably this yoga acknowledge the passenger. Again some trainings and teachers are very mother-focused, others are more mother /baby focused. A good pregnancy yoga teacher will encourage the mothers in her classes to connect with their babies during the practice session.
Pregnancy Yoga Prioritises Community: Community is essential when teaching pregnancy yoga whether rteaching online or in-person. Learning how to hold space for open sharing, discussion and social interaction is a key part of any training. As an online community holder, I am particularly interested in supporting teachers to hold connecting online community spaces because not everyone can get to an in-person class.
Pregnancy Yoga Prioritises The Inner Life: Pregnancy Yoga is a preparation program for a rite of passage that will bring many obstacles along the way for your student; from external pressures like induction and restriction to her birth choices to internal pressures like fear, overwhelm, exhaustion and defeatism. Never was the inner life of yoga more important. As such a good training must offer a clear inner life pathway of the pregnant students.
Whether its breath work, grounding practices, mindfulness teachings or yoga philosophy, you are guiding your students to strengthen their inner life, expand their self awareness and gather resilience tools for the challenges ahead. The inner life of yoga comes to the foreground in pregnancy yoga practice.
Pregnancy Yoga Prioritises The Different Needs of The Three Trimesters: a woman who is struggling to keep her food down during the first trimester will have very different needs from a woman with a 34-week baby in her belly approaching birth. A woman in the early second trimester will feel challenged by a class that is focusing on birth prep and relaxation. A good pregnancy yoga teacher training will acknowledge that and ensure you are prepared to support all aspects of the pregnancy experience and the challenges that each trimester brings.
So now its time to reflect on the key practical questions to ask when choosing your teaching pathway.
What Are The Key Considerations When Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training?
Is the Training Accredited?
It is essential that you chose an accredited teacher training programme. Working with pregnancy invariably brings you up against health complications; anything from Pelvic Girdle Pain to Cervical Stitches and Placenta Praaevia. Insurance is essential and every insurer will expert certification. My Yoga and Mindfulness Training has double certification; YAP and FEDANT ensuring that whatever community you are working in you have a recognised qualification.
How Many Hours Is it?
Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Trainings Vary from 40 hours to one year. Most certification organisations expect an 85 hour minimum training. Some trainings spread those hours over time, others compress into a couple of weekends. The YMPB training spans 3 months and features two frame 3-day weekends plus a six week online journey in-between.
All trainings will expect you show up for a minimujof 50 percent of the course. So choose a training you can attend live online or in-person. Recorded trainings are a poor second cousin to the live equivalent.
How Much Work is Involved?
Again training differ widely though most pregnancy yoga teacher trainings will expect some coursework. There is a lot to learn; from pregnancy complications to key birth preparation practices. If you want to feel confident stepping into the pregnancy community, at the end of your training, you will need to engage with the coursework material.
On my training programme everything is geared towards helping you launch your teaching career from writing class plans to recording lessons. All trainings offer you a fixed time-period in which to submit your completed coursework. If you need more time, your trainer will support you. So don’t let coursework put you off. My feeling is coursework is an indicator of a committed training programne. If there is coursework involved, you will not receive your certification until you have submitted it all.
Is it Online or In-Person?
Once upon a time all trainings were in-person – that was before Zoom appeared and transformed the training landscape. Whilst in-person community and teaching remains the gold standard, the online option has opened up the training landscape ensuring you have many more options to choose from and access to some of the worlds best teachers. Many pregnancy yoga teacher trainees are mothers and have little time to spend travelling long distances. A good training may offer you options.
The YMPB training runs TWO parallel programmes; one is exclusively online ensuring you can join us from anywhere in the world. We have had trainees join our programme from Vietnam, Singapore, Dubai, central Africa, Spain and Ireland as well as all over the UK. Our second programme combines In-Person with online offering those with easy access to London the option of attending two In -peson weekends alongside six online sessions over the three month training period.
What Are The Costs Involved?
One of the most important questions. The cost of Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Trainings vary quite substantially with courses ranging from circa £700 up to £1600. Many trainings offer payment plans and some include scholarships. Online trainings may cost less than in-person trainings as venues costs are discounted. Check to see what you are getting for your money. How many teachers are on the training;? How many hours? What manuals and teaching materials are included ? And how much marking is involved? All of this adds up so if you want a good quality training do not expect a bargain price.
If cost is an issue, reach out, it is always better to ask for what you need.
The YMPB training offer s select number of scholarship places that are 50% of the full price. These are reserved for passionate trainees and birth workers who would not otherwise be able to attend.
Finally, your last questions should be:
How Will This Training Support me in Launching my Pregnancy Yoga Teaching Career?
Many trainings offering mentoring services, business support and advice on how to make in-roads into the pregnancy yoga marketplace.
Find out what your teacher training provider offers to help you launch your new career.
On the YMPB training, you receive one years mentorship post graduation. We also run a module on The Business of Pregnancy Yoga ensuring you have a clear understanding of how to launch your yoga teaching career.
So now you have a clearer idea of what teaching pregnancy yoga involves, why you want to teach it plus a whole heap of questions to bring to your trainer of choice.
Training to teach pregnancy yoga was the one of the best decisions I ever made. I love yoga and I love supporting women on the journey to motherhood. Bringing the teachings of yoga and adapting them for this incredible life transition, and all the challenges it involves, is deeply satisfying work. I have had so many women say over the years attending their pregnancy yoga class was one their favourite and most empowering pregnancy experiences.
Follow this link to find out more about our amazing 100 hr Yoga With Mindfulness for Pregnancy & Birth Teacher Training Programme. Running September 2023.
Good luck on your teacher training journey.