Can I practise yin during my pregnancy is a question I have been getting asked lately.
My answer is possibly. It is best to ask your doctor and midwife about activities during pregnancy. Especially if you are hyper-mobile and have pre existing lumbar or SI issues. With my practise as and manual therapist and my yin yoga teacher training there is no black and white answer to this question. Like many things in life what is good for one person could be awful for another. I have had clients who practised yin before becoming pregnant and were able to continue through their pregnancy because their body awareness was very good and they modified postures for their body. I have also received new clients as a result of trying yin for the first time while being pregnant and came out of the class in immense pain. The purpose of Yin yoga physically is to provide healthy stress and compression on connective tissue, fascia, tendons and ligaments. All of which all become more supple during pregnancy. Most of my pregnant clients benefit from strength training rather than flexibility building practises.
There is a lot of adjustment in the realm of physical changes to the body during pregnancy. It's a pretty big event! Here are some elements to consider and be mindful of:
1.) Hormonal changes:
-Relaxin: aids in lengthening the ligaments for the belly, back and hips. It has a pronounced impact our deep tissues, which are the ones we apply pressure to in yin, and can lead to over-stretching the body.
2.) Change in ligaments: particularly the round ligaments of the stomach (we also work on this ligament when our clients are menstuating and are suffering from cramps due to the uterus swelling), ligaments of the back/ hips are stretching more than ever before with the help of growing physical weight and the hormone relaxin.
3.) Sensitivity in the low back and pelvis: shifting hormones, softening of tissue, change in ligaments, additional weight can all contribute to this area enhancing sensitivity.
4.) Crowding: The uterus can grow to the size of a watermelon to accommodate the growing baby which means all the neighbours like stomach, intestines, bladder have to do their best with less room. This is why its best to avoid yin postures that compress or twist the abdomen.
Some important safety guidelines for practising yin while pregnant.
a) The appropriate edge will be very different. Do not go to your end range or availability, it is best to keep yourself safe and go in the 10-30% range to start and experiment with what your body likes.
b) Adjust hold time to 1 -3 min rather then 5 or 10 min. Staying too long in a posture could lead to unhealthy stress or tearing of tissue.
c) Keep pelvis and abdomen neutral: avoid backbends, twists and compression on belly
Avoid long held inversions eg like legs up wall, bridge, standing fold, avoid lying flat on your back, keep your heart above your head.
No two bodies are alike and no two bodies are the same experiencing pregnancy. If you are hyper mobile or have pre existing joint (especially SI) it may be best to try yin after your pregnancy. Pregantal yoga, Yoga nidra, and restorative yoga are all wonderful practices if you are looking for meditative experiences during pregnancy if you are hyper mobile and pilates can be wonderful to build strength. So in short, yin yoga could be great for your body during pregnancy or not. Experiment with alternative poses or modifications that feel good. The yoga practise can help you to observe new sensations and connect not only with yourself but with the life you are growing. Talk to your doctor and health care professionals.
What is yin yoga and why practise it?
Physically the primary tissue we are addressing in yin is connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, bones and fascia. Connective tissue plays a large roles in our long-term mobility. It benefits from slow gentle traction over a longer period of time. It behaves very differently than muscle tissue. A yang practise involves quick, dynamic, stimulating postures with shorter holds while yin involves slow, static, calming postures with longer holds ranging from 1-10 min. Most yin practises have 3-5 min holds.
Mentally the longer posture and times of stillness are wonderful to cultivate mindfulness and meditate.
Some principles for yin yoga are:
Come to an appropriate depth for your body in the pose. This means you have sensation of gentle stretching but not pain. Low level discomfort is ok but if you are wishing the pose would end soon because you are so uncomfortable you have probably gone to far and could benefit from a lighter variation or more props. No sharp, electric shooting pain. We consciously soften muscles away from bone.
Resolve to stay still. The therapeutic benefit for connective tissue requires passive slow gentle traction. Lengthening tissues is an integral part of what makes our yin yoga practice so impactful. Physically bouncing, quick or unnecessary movement can stress and damage the connective tissue we are working on. Mentally practising any mindfulness techniques that help keep you in the present moment and help to calm overly stimulated minds.
Stay a while. The length of time is a key factor in benefitting connective tissue. Our tissues do have a protective mechanism that helps us stay aware of how much stress is too much, this will present itself by muscles starting to tighten and contract. Sometimes the depth of a pose can be suitable at the beginning but part way through if your muscles starts to contact it is asking to to come out of the posture and find a more appropriate version. The time also allows for a wonderful opportunity to see thoughts rise and change in the mediation practise.
Exit the posture slowly and create new movement or counter movement. Moving quickly increasing the change of damaging tissue as they are not as protected and stable. Incorporating gentle movement or counter movement after the pose encourages blood flow.
Always pay close attention to the signals your body is communicating to you as you practice. It is also best to check with your Doctor if yin yoga is suitable for you.
Price Change 2021:
As of January 1, 2021 sessions with Erin will be $100.
Once Erin defends her thesis in May 2021 her Manual Therapy sessions will be $110
Now that classes & exams are complete I am delighted to take part in more self care practices. Starting with this! I have waited a year to take this course. Thank you Compassion Inspired Health for creating online options during covid times.
If you are curious about Mindful Self Compassion check out:
Thank you for your patience, we apologies for the low availability of sessions with Erin. Now that her classes are complete and she only has her thesis to obtain her Osteopathic Manual Therapist title her availability will improve.
Stay tuned, stay healthy
The Multidimensional Team
Erin has officially completed her 5th year with the The Canadian College of Osteopathy - CCO ! To complete her training she needs to finish her Thesis on Osteopathic effect on General Anxiety Disorder.
Thank you to Marjorie Dg, Kim Mark-Goldsworthy and Lavanya Kalathil for being a wonderful study group.
If you are looking for an Osteopathic Practitioner it is important to know the field is not yet regulated as a profession. This means individuals can use the title after completing a weekend course vs the regular 4-5 year study period. Osteopathy Alberta & Osteopathy BC are good resources for practitioners trained 4 years +. They do not advertise students on their website but you can enquire with them if a student practitioner in your area is a member. Erin is a student member with Osteopathy BC.
Check out Om Practice with Mystee at :
At this time we are only booking existing clients and hope to accept new clients by the end of August 2020.
Here is our updated Pre Screening for Covid 19:
BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool
1. Are you experiencing any of the following:
• Severe difficulty breathing (e.g. struggling to breathe or speaking in single words)
• Severe chest pain
• Having a very hard time waking up
• Feeling confused
• Losing consciousness
2. Are you experiencing any of the following:
• Mild to moderate shortness of breath
• Inability to lie down because of difficulty breathing
• Chronic health conditions that you are having difficulty managing because of difficulty breathing.
3. Are you experiencing cold, flu or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones? Symptoms include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, or loss of appetite.
4. Have you travelled outside BC within the last 14 days?
5. Did you provide care or have close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19? Note: This means you would have been contacted by your health authority’s public health team.
In the current environment of COVID-19 risk, informed consent requires that the patient is informed that:while measures have been taken to minimize the risk of viral transmission, the nature of massage therapy means that physical distancing is not possible in the treatment room and therefore involves some risk of COVID-19 transmission;the RMT is following a protocol to reduce or mitigate risk, but that risk cannot be reduced to zero;
the patient consents to treatment despite some risk;
We practise in a holistic way which considers the WHOLE body when treating a client – this includes the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles, nerves and more. Hands on techniques are used to align the body’s tissue and bring it back to its natural state.
For example, one session may treat the bones and muscles while another focuses on the nervous system, meaning no two treatments are the same. This approach takes the time to assess and figure out the cause of the dysfunction, whether it be a joint, soft tissue that needs release or fascia around an organ that is no longer gliding.
What could I expect during a treatment?
We begin with a conversation about your overall health and the specific issues you’re facing. Next is a full body assessment, involving standing, walking, sitting and laying down. Treatment positions are varied meaning you could be laying on your back, sitting upright, or standing, depending on the issue we are working on.
James is away for year 2 exams in Vancouver @cso_vancouver this week. Did you know it takes 4-5 years of schooling plus an additional research paper or thesis to become a Manual Osteopathic Practitioner ? 🌍
Osteopathic manual therapists believe that abnormal functioning of one area of the body can cause symptoms to present elsewhere in the body, the theory of ‘Tensegrity’. 🌍
When the body is balanced there is no excessive stress anywhere in the body, but when the body becomes out of balance this can be amplified to other areas.
Osteopathic manual therapists regard the whole of the body as greater than a collection of all its parts.They acknowledge the body’s inherent ability to heal itself and seek to support that process by removing any obstacles that impede it.
In order for this to happen osteopathic manual therapists specialize in individualized patients management, which includes educating the patient about their particular condition and how they can adjust their lifestyle to allow themselves the best possible chance recovery or optimal management.
Write up from www.osteopathyalberta.com/what-is-manual-osteopathy/ .