A Sun Salutation with Adaptations for Pregnancy
1. How to Adapt a Yoga Flow for Pregnancy
In a normal pregnancy, there is no reason why you can’t practice vinyasa flow yoga well
into your third trimester as long as you feel up for it. However, as your belly gets
bigger there are some recommended adaptations to the classic sun salutation poses that
are intended to feel more comfortable and to help prepare your body for delivery. You can
start to incorporate these at any time during your pregnancy, both in class and at home.
2. Raised Arms Pose – Urdhva Hastasana
Start by standing in tadasana, but take your feet as wide as your mat.
Bring your hands up through the heart center and then reach your arms toward the ceiling
coming into urdhva hastasana. The palms can press together or you can separate the hands
shoulder’s distance apart, whichever is more comfortable. Slide your shoulders away from
Bend your knees while keeping the feet wide and parallel. Lower the thighs to almost
parallel to the floor. It’s ok if you don’t come quite that low too. Bring your elbows to
your thighs and press your palms to your heart center in anjali mudra. This is called
camper’s pose, for obvious reasons. It’s offered as an alternative to a full forward bend
because it allows space for the belly, which often feels better on the pregnant body,
plus it’s more of a hip opener.
4.Lunge With the Left Foot Forward
Bring the palms flat inside the feet, and step the right foot to the back of your mat to
a lunge. Note that the left foot is outside your hand for this prenatal version. Again,
this makes more space for the belly and is a bit more hip opening than a traditional
lunge. Come up to your finger tips if that feels better than flat palms.
5.Prenatal Plank Pose
Step the left foot back to join the right in a plank position. If you’re not used to
doing planks, then you can drop your knees to the floor.
Normally you would lower to chaturanga or knees, chest, chin on the same exhalation. In
this sequence, take an inhale in plank and then move on to the next step.
6.Prenatal Chaturanga Dandasana Variation
Drop the knees to the floor if they aren’t there already. Bend the elbows straight back
as your lower your torso to a chaturanga dandasana position. Knees, chest, chin, and
cobra aren’t practical here because they are done with the belly on the ground. Upward
facing dog is usually skipped because it’s pretty intense on the low back with a pregnant
Straighten your arms, bringing the torso back up to a plank position.
If this pose is too much, skip it and come straight from plank back to down dog.
7.Downward Facing Dog
Push back to downward facing dog. This is pretty much a standard downward dog except you
can take your feet a bit wider than usual if you like.
Late in your third trimester, you may want to start avoiding even mild inversions like
downward dog, especially if your baby is already in a head down position. An all-fours
table top position is a good substitution.
8.Lunge With the Right Foot Forward
Step the right foot forward to the outside of the right hand coming into a lunge. It’s ok
if your foot doesn’t make it to the front of your mat in one step. Take a few smaller
steps or help it forward with your hand if necessary.
Step the left foot to the front of your mat outside of the left hand. Bring your forearms
to your knees to return to camper’s pose.
10.Raised Arms Pose – Urdhva Hastasana
Straighten your legs and bring your hands up through your heart center toward the ceiling
as you return to where you started.
Repeat the entire sequence stepping the left foot back first.