Ananda Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training for RYT’s

October 4-9, 2016

5 Days At The Expanding Light Retreat in Northern California

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Empower your students with courage, love, and the yoga tools and techniques for a positive pregnancy, labor, and birth experience.

Being a Prenatal Yoga Teacher is incredibly rewarding!

  • Experience the emotionally fulfilling work of being a Prenatal Yoga Teacher
  • Learn traditional yoga as well as the latest in scientific research and safety
  • Benefit from modifiable, successful class plans for group and privates classes

Ananda Prenatal Teacher Training is Unique

Our training distinguishes itself from other programs in that it gives you the opportunity to work hands-on with prenatal yoga students during the last two days of the course. This means you’ll immediately get to implement what you learned during the week:

  • The anatomy and physiology you need to know
  • Practice teaching prenatal asanas and pranayama
  • How to support the spiritual and emotional needs of mothers-to-be
  • Safely assisting and adjusting your students
  • Private vs. group classes
  • And more…


“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”

– The Bhagavad Gita

I have a story to share about the first time I found out that a pregnant woman would be attending one of my yoga classes. I had been teaching yoga for four years, but had never worked one-on-one with a prenatal student.

Picture1I had also never been pregnant, and so having no idea how to relate, I thought pregnant women were like creatures from another universe! When the news got to me that a woman who was more than 8 months pregnant would be coming to my yoga class in a few hours, I was freaked!

Why was I afraid to serve this woman? Well, first of all, I felt totally uneducated about what happens to the female body during pregnancy. Sure, I had probably learned some things in yoga teacher training about it, but none of it was coming to me now! Essentially, I felt unprepared. The only safety precaution that I could think of was, ‘Don’t squish the baby!’

Fortunately, I had worked with many different body types and capabilities over the years, but no one who was about to give birth! The good news was that the class I was about to teach was a restorative class. I knew restorative yoga well and had given many successful classes to students with several physical limitations. There are also fewer cautions and contraindications for the postures compared to Hatha Yoga, and fewer guidelines.

My three rules for restorative have always been simple:

  1. Check for safety and proper alignment.
  2. Make sure all the major joints are supported by props.
  3. Make sure the student is completely comfortable and relaxed.

So when the time finally came for me to meet this very pregnant woman, she surprised me by her calmness, confidence, and willingness to practice yoga. She was actually very easy to work with because she knew her body better than I did. We were able to combine my knowledge of the asanas with her understanding of what she knew would be right for her body. We both used our creativity to get her comfortable in each pose.

When we practiced Child’s Pose, for example, she naturally made space for her growing belly, then she wiggled her weight onto the remaining blankets and got comfortable just like that! I was amazed how she continued to move with confidence and body awareness from one pose to the next. I made a few suggestions here and there, but she pretty much did the work. She knew how to get into the poses safely, and once she was there, she melted her weight easily onto the props.

Fortunately, there were only two other students at this class, which gave me the space to give this woman a bit more attention. I learned a lot that night just from observing her! I was lucky to have such a positive experience with my first prenatal student! She gave me the confidence to work with many other expectant mothers down the road.

And of course, once I had the experience of pregnancy myself I learned a lot more through the gradual 9-month process. I got the time to slowly adapt to the physical changes. By the time my belly looked like a basketball, I still felt like myself…just very ready to give birth! There wasn’t a huge disconnect from me and my baby like I had imagined there would be. We were connected by one body!

Do you have a similar story to share? Post in the comments field below.

Are you ready to accept and support a prenatal student if she shows up in your regular yoga class? If not, get prepared with our Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training offered Oct 4-9,2016 at The Expanding Light Retreat for RYT’s. Click here for details.

CO6A0415This is a common question I get asked. I also see this question in forums, on Facebook and the like. 

You might be surprised about how many different answers you will get just about one pose! And how emotional the writers are about what they think is right. 

Serving the needs of pregnant women goes well beyond what they get in class or what they get out of doing a particular pose. Your reach goes outside of the classroom, and into the delivery room and your words and advice will still be with the mother as she nurses and cares for her baby at home. 

Having a powerful yoga niche serving mothers and their babies can be the most important yoga work you can possibly do. Allowing women to have the most comfortable and healthy pregnancy as they can, and empowering them to prepare for their dream to have the most natural and healthiest childbirth as possible is awesome and fulfilling work.

Having a powerful yoga niche can also help set you apart from the countless other yoga teachers now flooding the market.  From impressing a new studio owner or club manager to hire you or send more students to your classes where you are already teaching, having the training and skills in this important stage of life can only benefit your yoga career. 

What yoga poses a pregnant woman can and cannot do is very individual. It takes training to really be able to CO6A0458tailor a prenatal yoga practice for an individual woman. Likewise, knowing what are the best yoga practices to offer in a group prenatal class are very specific.  

I invite you to explore new ways to inspire yourself through what you offer, serve at a deeper level the students who come to you and build a strong yoga business that supports you. 

If you have questions about upcoming Prenatal Yoga Academy Trainings or growing your yoga business, drop me an email and let’s talk.

For questions: click here to email Nicole

The 7 Questions Every Yoga Teacher MUST Ask Their Prenatal Yoga Students

Matra Raj "Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Vibrant Life", Prenatal Yoga, Prenatal Yoga Teacher,

I met Matra Raj many years ago at one of the first Symposiums for Yoga Therapy and Research in Los Angeles, CA.  We now work together on International Association of Yoga Therapists business and all things Prenatal Yoga.  I recommend her book for both Prenatal Yoga Teachers and prenatal Yoga students.

This excerpt form her book gives you a flavor of her style and can be sent to women considering trying Prenatal Yoga.


Starting at a very early age and continuing for her entire life, every woman should commit herself to a regular wellness program that can be modified based on her stage of life, for example, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause.

Mindful yoga is an excellent choice for a woman. Yoga cultivates a wealth of benefits. These are not always emphasized in Western yoga practice, which sometimes focuses on the narrower goals of stretching, core strengthening, and even aerobic exercise. Yoga is not aerobic exercise, though of course aerobic exercise is a good thing. For example, walking is an excellent aerobic activity that is complementary to yoga during pregnancy and the postpartum period (and for general good health).

Yoga, like life itself, is holistic in nature and is deeply tuned to and supportive of all of life’s phases. I would like you to open your mind to an appreciation of these wider benefits as you enjoy your yoga practice at this very special time in your life.

The Program I teach promotes restoration, relaxation and rejuvenation. It emphasizes mind and body harmony, and it helps you to create a deeper inner awareness leading to a peaceful, calm, and centered outlook, no matter how busy your daily life may be.Matra Raj

Excerpted from “Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Vibrant Life” by Matra Raj.
Click here for more information about Matra
To order her book click here.




IMG_3149I remember the look on an experienced yoga teachers face when I walked in unannounced at 8 months pregnant to his yoga class.  Knowing who I was he said after his initial look of shock, “I sure am glad you are a yoga teacher and will know how to take care of yourself during the class!”

I also remember back when I took my initial yoga teacher training prenatal yoga was a fringe niche and most people had never even heard of it.  It was very difficult to find prenatal yoga teacher trainings and so it was a milestone and sign of the new times when I was asked to be on the first Yoga Alliance Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training Standards Committee.

Back then doctors were just starting to figure out that pregnant women actually should exercise instead of taking it easy and had just stopped telling women they should eat for two.

We’ve come a long way baby!  Now doctors not only counsel women to exercise but also the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) even endorse yoga as a good practice for pregnant women.

There is now solid scientific evidence about the benefits of prenatal yoga and who should be able to do what safely.  Think of these statistics from the Yoga in America Study 2012 commissioned by Yoga Journal:

  • The number of people practicing yoga increased by 29 percent from 2008
  • That’s 8.7 percent of US adults who practice yoga
  • Over 82% are women
  • The majority of yoga practitioners fall within the age range of 18-44 (child bearing years)IMG_3148

Couple those numbers with this, the statistic on the number of women at any given time who will be pregnant in the US, and you have over a quarter of a million women who are pregnant and are already practicing yoga.

That’s a lot of women whom we would like to be able to take good care of in our regular yoga classes.  The yoga teacher who is well educated about prenatal yoga will also be the one who will get the new pregnant students and are seeking a regular yoga class sent to them by the front desk staff.  All leading to increased numbers of yoga students for your class.

To help you increase your skills, your service and your class size, I have designed this FREE Webinar:

Prenatal Splits Nicole

That’s me 18 years ago – 1 week before delivering my son!

5 Prenatal Yoga Mistakes Yoga Teachers Make… and How to Avoid Them

In this 60-minute presentation you will discover:

  • The 5 Prenatal Yoga Mistake Yoga Teachers Make
  • How to Avoid the 5 Mistakes
  • How to Grow Your Classes Without Being a Prenatal Expert
  • Fact from Fiction – Dispelling Prenatal Yoga Myths
  • Easy Prenatal Yoga Tips and how to look impressive to ALL of your students

When you register now you will receive the Free Bonus:

Prenatal Yoga Tips Handout for you to give to your students – saves you time, and helps you better serve the approximately quarter million women who are pregnant and practice yoga in the US alone!

Click here to register:

See you at the Webinar!




Dealing with a woman’s miscarriage is a tricky situation for any yoga teacher, prenatal yoga teacher’s included – that is if you even get the opportunity.  Miscarriage has been a culturally taboo subject.  Fortunately that is changing so that not only the grief of the expectant mother can be healthily processed, that of the father can be as well.

At a recent Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training class the usual discussion on this topic took place.  I think due in part to the topic of miscarriages coming more out in the open, the students in the training were eager to more fully understand the issues and be equipped with the knowledge and compassion necessary for helping women in this situation.

AntoniobyBryan.jpg.w180h267So, I decided to ask the expert in Yoga for Grief Relief, Antonio Sausys for his thoughts and suggestions on this topic.  Here’s his sage advice:

I was asked today about how to handle miscarriages in the context of a prenatal yoga class. Interestingly enough, this is one of the so called ‘socially negated losses’ due to the fact that often other people do not know that the woman is pregnant, or also because it causes a lot of self blame. It is important to name it as a loss and to understand that it causes grief, just as the loss of any other person or thing we are attached to, and that it needs to be treated as such. This is not what happens usually, since doctors prefer to emphasize the fact that it is rather ‘common’ (one fifth to one third of pregnancies end up in miscarriage), and that the woman has other opportunities to be pregnant in the future.

The blame is often also directed secondarily to the husband, who usually feels helpless and also grieves only that in a different way. From a Yogic stand point, while many postures could be applicable according mainly to the woman’s needs, ‘rituals’ can be a better choice and of extreme help. Some grievers could benefit from seeing the dead fetus while others won’t; lighting a candle, saying some prayers and having a written document (that can be read as part of the ritual) stating details and feelings related to the parents’ ‘lost dream’ can help them at this difficult time.

Antonio Sausys (BA Psychology, MA Body-Oriented Psychotherapy) is a somatic health practitioner and yoga instructor specializing in one-on-one yoga therapy for people with chronic and acute medical conditions as well as emotional imbalance. He created a ‘Yoga for Grief Relief’ program to induce self knowledge and personal transformation by addressing and working on the physical and emotional symptoms of grief.
Antonio Sausys resides in Marin County with a thriving yoga practice throughout the Bay Area.  In addition to speaking engagements and workshops, he is a radio ( and TV host ( He is the founder and Executive Director of ‘Yoga for Health’ the International Yoga Therapy Conference ( . 

To learn more about his Yoga for Grief Relief please visit his website: Yoga for Grief Relief YogaClassjpg.jpg.w180h120

We would love to hear your thoughts on this complicated and important topic.

As a yoga teacher or yoga therapist have you dealt with a student’s miscarriage?

Did you or would you feel prepared?

Spinal Release Yoga and Yoga Therapy is a therapeutic and relaxing approach that uses specific angles, propping and alignment in poses to release tension in the core muscles attached to the spine.

It is an incredible practice before and during pregnancy.  The decompression of the spine, especially through the pelvis (tailbone Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 9.52.40 PMand sacrum area) supports a healthy reproductive system, balances sexuality, promotes a flexible and supple pelvis, and on the subtle level helps to dissolve deep seated fear. The release of tension in the thoracic area opens the heart and quiets the mind for a meditative experience and sense of happiness.

Women who do this practice during pregnancy find they are happier, more relaxed, more energized and more comfortable.

During each stage of pregnancy, Spinal Release Yoga offers specific breathing practices, poses, and propping (we even prop the growing belly).  The practice of deep muscle release and relaxation helps promote the natural softening and expanding of a the pelvic bones and utuerus which makes more baby space.   Baby loves yoga and starts moving around while mom is releasing her spine.

The low back ache and leg cramps that are common during this time can be dramatically reduced with the deep internal opening.  As the ligaments start to stretch due to hormone production, the spinal release practice supports the relaxin hormone to help soften the pubic bone, tailbone and hip bones, but uses props and alignment to protect  ligaments from getting too stretched, which can be uncomfortable.  Pregnant women learn poses that help with baby’s position and may be useful during early labor to relax mom and help make more room inside.

Pregnancy is a sacred and special time for a mom to dedicate to quieting her mind, relaxing her body and promoting an open heart.  Yoga excels in these things for all people who seek it.

Kaya head shot 3

Kaya Mindlin, ERYT 500 is the most highly trained Svaroopa(R) Yoga teacher and yoga therapist in Northern California and has been teaching since 2001. In addition, she is trained as an Ayurvedic practitioner.

Her thousands of hours of formal training combine with an ability to teach spontaneously according to the individual students present. She loves supporting experienced students and yoga teachers… To learn more visit her web site

She is a Prenatal Yoga Educator/Teacher Trainer in the Yoga Alliance approved  SMC Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training Program. For more information on the program click here.

Would your eyes pop out? Would you show her the nearest exit?IMG_2748

Or  what would you do if one of your long-time regular students came to you and whispered in your ear “I am 6 weeks pregnant and I want to keep taking your class?”  Would you feel competent handling her potential morning (afternoon and night) sickness, dizziness, swelling, unstable SI joints and growing baby bump?

Fortunately you don’t have to become an expert prenatal yoga teacher to competently and safely help you – and your students – in these situations.  However, most yoga teachers find the hour or afternoon they spent in yoga teacher training woefully inadequate when confronted with 2 live bodies in one in their regular yoga class.

IMG_2751And I know some of you are asking, “What hour or afternoon on prenatal training? – maybe I was in Samadhi and missed it!”  Most likely you didn’t miss it – it just wasn’t offered.

To  feel good about allowing pregnant students in your regular yoga classes, learning the fundamentals of posture in different positions and how to accommodate the growing baby is a great place to start.  Asanas to Help Improve Posture During Pregnancy is a short article packed with tips. You can read it now.

If you would like to take an approved for Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Weekend Workshop: What to do When a Pregnant Woman Comes to Your Regular Yoga Class offered in the San Fransisco Bay Area, click here for more information.IMG_2749

If you would like to take an online version of the workshop, please let me know in the comments below. There is one in the works.

In the meantime, check back here for more posts and articles to support you and your yoga career.

Joy to you!