Post Pregnancy Care: What Works

By Lisa Grauaug

An appropriate Prenatal yoga practice is designed to prevent Diastasis Rectus Abdominis….

WHAT IS Diastasis Rectus Abdominis?

An intricate layer of connective tissue sits between the rectus abdominis muscles ( RA or “6 pack abs”) and the transversus abdominis- it is called the linea alba. The linea –alba is designed during pregnancy to thin out which allows for accommodating the growing baby inutero. Post –pregnancy the linea alba then thickens up.

Approximately 33 % of women post-birth are diagnosed with Diastasis rectus abdominis (OR diastasis recti). Where the space between the rectus abdomens muscle has not returned to a near normal state.

There are factors that have been reported to increase ones chances of experiencing DRA in pregnancy and this include 

  • 35+ in age
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • High birth weight baby
  • Repeated pregnancies

There are easy ways to assess for this condition. And it is considered to be caused by overstretching or abdominal straining. Inappropriate physical activity during pregnancy (including Yoga) can also place a woman at risk for this condition.

To prevent and treat particular care is recommended during pregnancy and post-birth.

As a Yoga Teacher it is important if you are teaching women during pregnancy and post-birth that you are aware of the postures that may not be suitable to avoid any un-necessary over-straining of the abdominal muscles. The yoga practice post-birth is different to a pregnancy yoga practice and will focus on appropriate abdominal toning through the intelligent use of the breath and postures (asana). An appropriate post-birth practice will facilitate the rectus abdominus muscles returning to a near normal condition.

How can we support you?

Interested in teaching Pre and Post-natal Yoga? Our 50hr post-graduate training is designed for yoga teachers to expand their skills and knowledge to be able to teach pre and post-natal yoga in group classes and one-on-one.

MORE information please

Food as Meditation

By Eleni Tsikrikas


Jerry Seinfeld once said, ‘Thank god for relationships. Without them, all we
would ever talk about is food. These days, wherever we look, we find a new
blog, book or ideology proclaiming the health benefits of a new superfood,
supplement or diet, guaranteed to give you, among other things, effortless
weight loss, boundless energy, mental clarity and eternal youth. So, of
course, you give it a try, and, voila, it works….. well, for a few weeks,
anyway. Then, unable to sustain this radical new way of eating, your back to
your old habits until…. the next fad diet promising, well, you know the same
results as the last one.

We have bought into a reductionist, cookie-cutter mentality, believing that
we can all eat the same thing and get the same results. Ayurveda, the
planet’s first nature-based medical system teaches that, although some
things are right for some people sometimes, nothing, no foods, fads or diets
are always right for everyone. This observation is based on the premise
that, each and every one of us, is completely different and totally unique.

With respect to food, the only universal truth is that we all need to eat.
Period. Beyond that, we each have various likes, dislikes, preferences
aversions and what we regard as the perfect meal. Every day, however, we
are faced with the same problem…having to choose. This dilemma brings
us to the topic of this blog…Food As Meditation.

First, let me explain a few concepts. Meditation is a tool for clarifying our
values and creating a calm and focused mind. It is a simple, yet profound practice which, eventually, transforms our perception and, ultimately, changes our behavior.

Classically, meditation is a three stage process requiring the abilities to:

  1. Choose
  2. Focus
  3. Sustain

Choose: this is the most difficult step in meditation, as in order to choose to
eat certain foods, I must forgo a whole bunch of other food choices. Choice
comes from the inside. It implies taking in information from the outside,
filtering it through your individual experience and applying the parts that are
appropriate to you depending on your goals. This considered choice implies
reflection and commitment which leads to the second aspect of:

Focus: When I choose freely and willingly the foods that work for me then I
am more likely stay with these choices for a long time because it feels good
and its the right thing for me. With this as my foundation I am more likely to
stay the course and

Sustain: my eating plan. Why because I am the one choosing based on
what feels right for my body. This is the ultimate meditation, someone who
takes their cues and changes their behavior based on what feels truly right
for them!

Meet your facilitator: Eleni Tsikrikas

Eleni discovered YOGA as a means for reducing stress in 1995 while practicing law in Sydney, Australia. Smitten, Eleni completed the Sydney Yoga Centre’s teacher training course. In 2000, Eleni quit the legal profession to teach Yoga full time. In 2004 Eleni moved to Los Angeles and began intensive study with Robert Birnberg a senior student in the T. Krichnamacharya lineage. The major focus of her studies is the “Yoga Sutras of Pantajali” the guidebook dedicated to creating a satvic mind.

Eleni is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, CAS, a Pancha Karma Specialist PKS. She runs a private ayurvedic practice and teaches “Ayurvedic Skills for Living” courses in Silverlake and Sydney. She is a faculty member of The Yoga Institute in Sydney and at California College of Ayurveda, where she teaches and mentors students. She continues to pursue her passion for herbs, studying with renowned herbalist KP Khalsa. Eleni has completed the educational component leading to qualifications as a Western Herbalist. She is presently working on the accreditation process for the American Herbalist Guild.

Eleni passionately believes food is medicine and is looking forward to sharing her passion at The Yoga Institute with a monthly Ayuveda Workshop.

Monthly Ayurveda Workshop info and booking

Dec 6th, 2019: Heart of Yoga Retreat

We can think extraordinary things with our minds, yet we feel our deepest emotions with our hearts.

Join us for this special Heart of Yoga retreat, hosted by Dr Michael de Manincor at the tranquil Yanada Retreat, an idyllic bush retreat, nestled in a glorious green valley between the McDonald River and the Yengo Mountains, near Wisemans Ferry, New South Wales.

Dates: Friday 6th – Sunday 8th December 2019

Location: Yanada RetreatSt Albans (Wisemans Ferry) NSW

Are you ready to bring your heart to life?

This will be a heart-centred journey, forming the start or the deepening of a truly sustainable, transformational exploration into your heart. We will create a safe and supportive environment to ensure you can immerse yourself for two full days of understanding the full system of yoga, learning how to self nurture on a whole new level. As well as make new friends, all in a beautiful setting surrounded by mother nature.

Each day will be filled with a variety of practices, including asana, pranayama, meditation and workshops of self-discovery. You will also have the time and opportunity to enjoy private sessions and treatments, read or simply sit, be and soak up the stunning surrounds.

Unique Venue

Only 90 mins from Sydney, Yanada Retreat is an idyllic bush retreat, nestled in a glorious green valley between the McDonald River and the Yengo Mountains. The tranquil and intimate environment provides an oasis for time out and an ideal environment to relax and restore.  You will unwind as soon as you enter the driveway

Take a moment for yourself

Surrounded by the Australian bush, relax on Balinese day beds on the cool verandahs or pool pavilion, listen to the sound of birds, watch the Kookaburras and Kangaroos, look out along the silvery McDonald River or over the fields and across the valley. Take one of the  bush walks possible on the property; around the cleared lands, up to a flat rock peak in the Yengo National Park or for a swim or kayak in the river. Drive or cycle 5 – 10 minutes to the historic St Albans village and other National Park walking tracks in the valley. Find out more about The Local Area.

CLICK HERE for more venue information.

Retreat Details

Arrival: from 2pm Friday 6th December – welcome talk 4:00pm

Departure: 3pm Sunday 8th December

Getting There

Please don’t use GPS to get to Yanada – follow our full driving directions on Yananda’s LOCATION page including public transport options.

You can access the Yanada by car and public transport

“From the moment you enter the drive, you begin to feel renewed, refreshed and inspired.”

Bookings & More Information

Join us at the Yanada Retreat Centre to find peace of mind, contentment and discover inner wellness. Come and rediscover the magic of life and find meaning, connection and purpose.

Cost:  $695

10% Early Bird Discount until 14th October – use code HoY10 at check-out

Price includes shared room accommodation, linen, all meals, drinks & snacks and specialised Heart of Yoga retreat program.

We look forward to experiencing this special retreat with you.

For further information please contact | 02 9929 2774

What Previous Retreat Guests Say…

“A big thank you to the team at the Yoga Institute for a beautiful couple of days connecting with the heart through yoga and meditation sessions. Whilst only a 3 day retreat, I returned back home completely recharged and rested. I would totally recommend joining in one of their retreats regardless of level of yoga and cannot wait to join the next one” Alex


“What a special retreat this was! Surrounded by nature with delicious food and lovely accommodation, we were led by highly experienced teachers who shared their wisdom on all things connected to the heart.  I learnt so much in such a short period of time ranging from different yoga poses, breathing and meditation techniques and theories about the mind and the body. I would highly recommend this team of teachers and the retreats they organise to anyone!”  Penny


“Thank you for such a wonderful retreat.  Nourishing food, uplifting and motivating group sessions and plenty of quiet time to connect and reflect. Such a perfect couple of days, a sincere thank-you to you all. See you at the next one!” Sam

About Us

The Yoga Institute provides extraordinary education and training, and guide sustainable personal transformative experiences, through the lens of Yoga, connection and community.

We offer inspiration, education and support in applying the ancient wisdom of yoga to modern, everyday lives. Passionate about yoga and the benefits it brings to peoples’ lives, our team is committed to providing you with a highly engaging, practical learning experience.

March 7th & 8th, 2020: Leslie Kaminoff Workshop Sydney

Leslie Kaminoff Down Under 2020

Reimagining Alignment – Fundamental Practices and Foundational Principles

A 2-day Interactive Yoga Workshop that will inform, inspire and transform both your personal practice and teaching

T.K.V. Desikachar’s teachings respect the individual nature of yoga practice, and his father, T. Krishnamacharya, emphasized the importance of breath integration along the central axis of the body.  Inspired by these sources, Leslie Kaminoff has developed an anatomically-inspired set of yoga principles. He uses these to guide teachers and practitioners as they embody their own, personal understanding of what works for them, both in personal practice and teaching. During these practice-heavy sessions, Leslie will model these principles by teaching a variety of sequences, techniques and inquiries.

Dates: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March, 2020
Venue: Mosman Art Gallery: Grand Hall, Sydney
Time: 9:00am – 5:00 pm


Session times: 9:00am-12:00pm & 1:30-4:30pm

Re-imagining Alignment

This highly interactive workshop relies on students to bring questions about their own asana practice and teaching language. Leslie will promote an experimental, experiential atmosphere of inquiry regarding the teaching of alignment, safety and effective cueing of asana.

The session begins with an historical and anatomical perspective on the subject and functional definition of alignment. Then, an exploration of the uniqueness of human structure will lead to the understanding that “asanas don’t have alignment – people have alignment.”

Starting with clear, simple principles that govern musculoskeletal function, Leslie will help you put your asana on a solid foundation literally from the ground up (and from your head down). Topics include:

  • The fundamental importance of proprioception and interoception
  • Functional principles of alignment
  • Breath-centered, anatomically-based cueing
  • The relationship of bandha to support and movement
  • Why instructions like “tuck your tail,” “lengthen your spine,” “square your hips” may be doing more harm than good, and what kind of language to use instead
  • The use of gazing (drishti) and imagery to foster increased neuromuscular integration


Morning session: 9:00am-12:00pm

Less Talking, More Doing – The Theory of Mostly Practice

This is a full-length practice session (2+ hours) with a minimum of lecture. Simple body and breath warmups will be followed by a session of seated breath/bandha practice.

A standing vinyasa series will flow into floor work, modified inversions, twists, backbends and forward bends, concluding with a full savasana, followed by quiet sitting.Brief introductory and concluding remarks will frame the session.

Afternoon session: 1:30-4:30pm

Shushumna Nadi in Theory and Practice – The Central Pillar of Krishnamacharya’s Yoga

An organizing principle of Krishnamacharya’s breath-centered approach to yoga theory and practice involves the opening of the central channel of the energetic body – the Shushumna Nadi. Leslie’s uniquely anatomical and experiential perspective on this topic refers to this as “vertical axis integration.” This session will explore this idea in a practice sequence that integrates asana, kriya, bandha, mudra, pranayama. The session will conclude with a dhyana on the imagery derived from Krishnamacharya’s unique perspective on Prana/Apana, Kundalini and Agni

Dates: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March, 2020
Venue: Mosman Art Gallery: Grand Hall, 1 Art Gallery Way, Mosman (Sydney)
Time: 9:00am – 5:00 pm

PRICES for the Full Weekend Program:
$499 early bird (available up to September 1, 2019*)
Use code: LKEARLY150

$649 regular price

Previous years have been a sell out event, book in early to avoid disappointment

* no pre-requisites or prior learning required *

Terms & Conditions:
Full payment for this event is required to secure your registration. Cancelations prior to the 8th January 2020 are eligible for a refund minus $250. Cancellations received after the 8th January are not eligible for a refund. You may transfer your registration to another person at no cost, however, please notify the program host in writing prior to commencement.

Event cancelation: The Yoga Institute Pty Ltd reserves the right to cancel any event, workshop or retreat due to extenuating circumstances. In the unlikely event that this occurs, a full refund of registration fees paid will be returned to the participant. However, no responsibility will be accepted for any consequential loss in any circumstances. Where applicable, adequate travel insurance is highly recommended.

Please email us in writing for cancellation notifications.

About the facilitator: Leslie Kaminoff 

Leslie Kaminoff is a yoga educator inspired by the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar. He is recognized internationally as a specialist in the fields of yoga, breath anatomy and bodywork. For over four decades he has led workshops and developed specialized education for many leading yoga associations, schools and training programs in America and throughout the world. His approach to teaching combines intellectual rigor, spontaneity and humor, and is always evolving.
Leslie is the founder of The Breathing Project, a New York City based educational non-profit dedicated to advancing educational standards for yoga teachers and other movement professionals. His unique year-long course is available online at
He is the co-author, with Amy Matthews, of the best-selling book “Yoga Anatomy.”
You can follow him on Instagram (@leslie.kaminoff), Twitter (@lkaminoff) and on Facebook (LeslieKaminoffYogaAnatomy), on YouTube (YogaAnatomy) and learn more at

Bonus Material 

A Post-Iyengar Reimagining of Alignment in Asana

Negative Feedback Can Be Positive (except when it’s just negative)

Son vs Father’s Yoga Teachings

A simple breathing question with a complex answer

Honesty in Yoga Credentialing

How Yoga Assists with the Effects of Trauma: Sissi Ervasti

‘MY PTSD stopped me from leaving the house – then I found yoga’

For some, yoga can be a chore. But for Sissi Ervasti, it saved her life.

Article by: Nine Honey featuring the inspiring story of Sissi, who used yoga to overcome PTSD after an abusive relationship.


Like three million other Australians, Sissi has lived with depression and anxiety most of her life. But it wasn’t until seven years ago that she found herself in a dark place – one she felt there was no way out of.

“In 2012 I was detained by a partner and severely tortured,” she tells 9Honey of the domestic violence incident. “It resulted in a lengthy court case and was quite unpleasant.”

Following the attack, Ervasti developed post traumatic stress disorder.

“I was struggling a lot with regulating my emotions and having panic attacks.”

She was 30 years old and her depression and anxiety was spiralling out of control.

“It made me afraid of interacting with people in the shopping centre, or even just leaving the house.”

But the longer she isolated herself, the worse her mental state became.

Soon, she discovered Sydney-based charity The Yoga Foundation, an organisation that connects disadvantaged people experiencing mental health issues with the benefits of yoga. The classes and community atmosphere were a welcome distraction from her everyday reality.

While she continues to be a student of the practice, Ervasti is also completing her yoga teacher training through The Yoga Institute and hopes her own experience will inspire others experiencing similar hardship.

“I feel like I have been born again, I guess, because I now have the confidence to go out and live my life.

“Some days are harder than others, I am not going to pretend like it’s all perfect,” she continues. “But with yoga I feel like I have the skills to deal with the bad days.

“Now I know when to be kind to myself, when to go home early and take it easy, when to go out and seize the moment.”

Watch Sissi’s story HERE

Learn about our upcoming courses and events:
More information


July 31st, 2019: Teachers Listening Circle 

The Yoga Institute is very excited to invite you to join our next Teachers Listening Circle 

This unique circle is especially held for yoga teachers and therapists to come together in community and share what is offering inquiry or curiosity when teaching yoga. The Teachers Listening Circle will be hosted by Lucy Karnani and Rosie Caunt, both highly practiced in holding space for forums of this nature.

Date: Wednesday 31st July
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm circle, followed by a pot-luck supper for those who’d like to stay
Facilitators: Lucy Karnani and Rosie Caunt
Cost: No charge

What is the main objective?

The main objective of the Circle will be to allow anyone who wants to share about their professional or personal experiences as a yoga teacher or therapist to be fully listened to by their peers in a safe space. Lucy and Rosie have seen the great value of sharing common  experiences with others who are like-minded, or more importantly, like-hearted, and who are working with similar situations.  Often putting our experiences into words helps us gain insight and learning from our own experiences that may not happen when we just ruminate on them in our own mind. Additionally, by listening to other teachers and therapists there may be opportunities for learning from other’s experiences.


Who is this for?

Anyone who has been teaching yoga – whether for a few months or many years, frequently or infrequently, all are welcome. There is no charge to attend, although you are asked to RSVP so we can be prepared appropriately 😊. You are also asked to come with an open heart and compassionate intention to support each other. The Teachers Listening Circle will run from 6:30-8:00pm, followed by a pot-luck supper for those who’d like to stay afterward.

The first one took take place on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, and was enjoyed so much by all who attended we have decided to continue hosting our Teacher’s Listening Circles multiple times a year. Numbers are limited, please reserve your place.



What Previous Circle Participants Say…

“My experience was certainly two pronged. I knew that coming together with like-minded yoga teachers would be an incredibly educational experience and a catalyst for my professional growth. What I wasn’t expecting was personal healing and growth. This was certainly an added bonus. Thank you. ” KC


July 24th, 2019: Ayurveda Monthly Workshop

“The People’s Medicine”

The Yoga Institute is very excited to invite you to join us for monthly Ayurveda Workshops with Eleni Tsikrikas

Did you know? Ayurveda is Yoga’s sister science and the planet’s oldest nature based self care system. Its goal is longevity and vibrant health for you. Ayurveda offers a view of health that is practical and simple. It empowers and encourages each of us to participate in our health and longevity.

Date: Wednesday 24th July
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm circle, followed by tea for those who’d like to stay
Facilitator: Eleni Tsikrikas
Cost: $44

Join Eleni Tsikrikas, certified Ayurvedic teacher and healer with over 12 years of clinical experience and certifications in Yoga and Western Herbalism. This will be a  truly innovative and wonderful series of monthly Ayurveda workshops.
Each month we will introduce a new food or lifestyle theme and give a short talk, followed by an interactive discussion. You will walk away with a foundational knowledge of each topic along with some practices that will enhance your life and health

Monthly topics include:

  • Introduction to Ayurveda
  • Diet and Lifestyle Practices for the seasons
  • Your digestive tract, an ayurvedic perspective.
  • Conscious Eating
  • Ayurvedic Detox

Who is this for?
This unique circle is especially held for anyone interested in Ayurveda.

The first one will take place on Wednesday 24th July 2019, with dates for following months to be confirmed. Numbers are limited, please reserve your place.


What makes our teacher training different from other training courses?

There are lots of things that make our course different but there is one that stands out for me personally and for many of our teacher trainees…

It’s the focus on personal practices. This is both the development of your own personal practice AND gaining the skills and knowledge to design personal practices for your students and clients, and teach them how to apply this transformative process in their lives.

When I started my training at The Yoga Institute I had already completed a 300 hour yoga teacher training course, where there was not one mention of a personal practice.

I spent my first mentoring session with Rosie at The Yoga Institute developing a practice, specifically designed for me, my body with all its broken bits and my current emotional state which needed some extra attention. I left the session feeling curious about doing yoga in my own home. Was I going to be motivated?  Who was going to keep me accountable? I was unsure but willing to give it a go.

After a week I was hooked, fast forward 8 years and my personal practice is now like brushing my teeth. It has to be done daily, ideally twice. It doesn’t have to be long, I don’t need candles, a quiet space or even a yoga mat. All I need is my mind, body and breath (and a pair of sunglasses if I am in a public place, so people don’t look at me weird).

What I love most about being a yoga teacher is teaching my students one-on-one. I also love teaching group classes, but the development of a personal practice is truly where the magic happens!

What does Michael de Manincor think?

“One thing of great value that I believe is glaringly missing from the picture of Yoga in the Modern World is yoga being taught one-on-one, as an approach for guiding students in the development of their personalised practice, the way yoga was traditionally taught.”

“In general, it is fair to say that the vast majority of modern yoga is being taught in group classes, often standardised, not a personalised one-on-one approach. There is nothing wrong with teaching group classes. Teaching yoga in group classes has been a really wonderful gift to our world. Classes create community and connection, provide an opportunity for some of us to “get away” from the distractions and business of our homes and work, provide “accountability” in “showing up”, sometimes a place to feel safe, or just be, and they continue to bring many benefits to the lives of many people.”

“I have been teaching group classes myself for nearly 30 years. And in our teacher training courses at The Yoga Institute, we train people to teach group classes – but in a way that addresses individual needs within the group.”

“Importantly, we also train students to design and teach personalised practices and I’ve both personally experienced and witnessed hundreds of times over, how much more powerful a yoga practice can be, when it is tailored to the individual in a one-on-one session.”

What is a private one-on-one session?

When a teacher meets one-on-one with their student, they will first gain a clear picture of the student’s needs and where they are at. Then they work together to co-create a personal practice for the student. The practice is personalised, designed (or modified in the case of an existing practice) according to the current needs and aims of the individual student.

Students are encouraged and empowered to do their practice regularly at home. It might take a few sessions to establish and refine the practice, and then they will meet with their teacher once a month or so, to review and develop the practice further.

The teacher’s role is to ensure the student understands the various components of the practice, guiding and supporting the student in their practice and answering any questions. Here, the student accepts responsibility for doing their own practice, rather than the teacher always being with them and doing the practice with them.

Personalised yoga practices might include a range or selection of suitable asana, pranayama, relaxation, meditation, yoga nidra, sound and chanting, visualisations, forming intentions, or discussions about yoga philosophy, psychology or lifestyle; all designed in response to an assessment of the individual needs, interests and goals of the student (not the teacher!).

This student’s email says it all….

“Twenty years ago I completed my yoga teacher training, and went on a study trip to India, excited about embarking on my yoga teaching journey. But then life happened. I moved cities three times, had a family, and my yoga practice and teaching dropped away. I tried sporadically to re-engage with my practice, and attended classes from time to time, hoping that would help renew my commitment to get back on the mat.

Group classes were often an enjoyable experience, but for me the results felt superficial and short lived.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a daily personal practice, but the memory of it is so strong in my body and my mind. Nothing compares to the feeling of self integration and awareness that I have experienced practicing in my own home, regularly, over an extended period of time. A practice that has been intelligently designed by my teacher, with the right sequences of asana, pranayama and meditation, to suit my needs. A practice that evolved as my needs changed, under the guidance of a teacher, with the skills and experience to design a practice that was right for me, and hold me accountable to myself to do it.

To find my yoga again, I need to find a teacher!”

Evening ‘Letting Go’ practice for you…

Here is an example of a personal practice ‘take home’ by one of our beautiful teachers Gill. Gill is particularly artistic, not all personal practices look quite so neat and nice! 🙂

Download a copy here

How can we support you?

Interested in teacher training? Visit our webpage
Interested in Yoga Therapy Training? Visit our webpage
Interested in developing a personal home practice? Visit our webpage

Email or call me: (02) 9929 2774

Join us, together we will grow, learn and inspire.

Kirstie Christensen ❤
General Manager

Pre Natal and Post Natal Yoga Teaching Course

What to consider when practicing yoga during and after pregnancy

Pre Natal and Post Natal Yoga Teaching Courseby Lisa Grauaug

Pregnancy brings with it a multitude of amazing physical and emotional changes that support the health, growth and birth of a newborn baby.

A yoga practice during and after pregnancy can be supportive, integrative and enable these natural changes.

To realise these benefits there are some key things women need to consider about practising yoga during and after pregnancy:

1. Yoga students who are pregnant and attend general Yoga classes must inform the Yoga Teacher. There are a number of postures that need to be modified or are not suitable during and immediately following pregnancy. An appropriately trained teacher will be able to provide guidance.

2. A woman’s needs change over the three trimesters of pregnancy and after birth. A suitable yoga practice supports the natural changes throughout pregnancy and beyond.

3. There are an array of hormonal changes during pregnancy. One change involves a softening and loosening effect on ligaments and muscles, caused by the release of the hormone relaxin. Because of the effects of relaxin pregnant women are advised to be careful not to over-stretch or over extend in postures and to work with maintaining alignment.

4. During pregnancy there are two beings to consider – the mother and the growing baby. In a yoga practice, one very important consideration is to NOT compress or overly contract the belly to ensure comfort and to safely accommodate the growing baby in-utero.

5. Another important factor is for pregnant women to avoid becoming overheated. A well-ventilated room is essential and over-exertion and strong physical practices are best avoided.

6. A pregnancy or post-natal yoga class with other pregnant women or new mums provides valuable time to share experiences, and a great way to support one’s wellbeing during pregnancy and as a new mother.

If you are pregnant or have recently given birth it is highly recommended to find a pregnancy or post-natal Yoga class. Sometimes finding these specialised yoga classes can be difficult – OR you might be keen to continue attending your regular exercise or yoga class.

If this is the case, attending a general yoga class with a teacher that has been trained to teach yoga to pregnant women and new mothers is strongly recommended. This will ensure that the practices are suitably modified to cater for your changing body, mind and baby.

Teaching pregnancy and post-natal Yoga is a specialised skill set and as part of a focused graduate training in pre and post-natal yoga, a Yoga teacher will gain a comprehensive understanding of the common changes associated with pregnancy.

Some yoga teachers choose to specialise in this area and offer dedicated pre and post-natal classes to support pregnant women and new mothers. We recognise that’s not for everyone, but we believe all teachers of general yoga classes can benefit their students greatly by completing specialist training in this area.


About the Author

Lisa leads the Teaching Pre and Post-natal Yoga course at The Yoga Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing), Bachelor and Master degrees in Psychology, an Advanced Diploma in Yoga Teaching, an Ayurveda Lifestyle Certificate, and has completed a Perinatal Mental Health Course at the University of Sydney.

Lisa is a Registered Psychologist, Registered Yoga Teacher, Yoga Australia (YA) Member and Registered Yoga Therapist (International Association of Yoga Therapists IAYT & YA).

Yoga as a complementary therapy 

We’re encouraged by the continued emergence of Yoga as a complementary therapy

Lisa Grauaug from The Yoga Institute was recently invited to speak at NICM Health Research Centre (Western Sydney University Westmead campus) as part of a Women’s Health Program hosted by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). The theme of this professional development training for GPs was “Integrative approaches for managing menopause and menstrual disorders.”

The focus was to present the latest and best practice in integrative medicine recommendations for GPs, when working with patients who present with reproductive related conditions.

The conditions presented included menstrual disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome and menopause. The therapies presented included acupuncture, use of oral natural health supplements, and mindfulness practices such as yoga.

The speakers presented the best available evidence on efficacy and or effectiveness of these integrative therapies to help GPs make informed decisions in managing these women’s health conditions.

Research into efficacy of Yoga for women’s health

The research that was presented demonstrated that Yoga is emerging as a complementary therapy that is effective, natural and safe, to bring therapeutic relief from a number of symptoms associated with reproductive related conditions.

For example, a systematic review of the Journal of Midwifery Womens Health (2018) – including 378 articles; 8 randomised controlled trials (RCT); & quasi-experimental studies – found that Yoga showed statistically significant improvements for quality of life measures including reduced physical pain, increased sleep, improved concentration, reduced negative feelings, and more.

Also a randomised control trial by Jorge, et al 2016 found that Hatha Yoga (body-based mindfulness practices) significantly reduced menopausal symptoms and improved quality of life.

Experiential learning enhances understanding

As part of this professional development day Lisa was asked to guide the GPs through a simple mindfulness and yoga based practice for them to experience the effect of yoga first hand, and to enable them to have a better understanding of the principles of yoga therapy and mindfulness.

Lisa says: “The timing of the experiential session was perfect. Everyone had been sitting for some time and engaging in a simple practice helped to energise and re-engage the group.”

The practice shared was simple, educative and focused on bringing awareness to self. The session also included discussion around the mechanics of natural breathing and how yoga can assist with this, including mindfulness of breath through the use of ujjayi and simple breath and postural movements.

Lisa also shared information about the professional training required to become a Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. The group also wanted to learn more about how a Yoga Therapist may work with someone who presents with reproductive issues. Guidelines around this process were provided.

Feedback and looking forward

The session received great feedback from the attendees and the event organisers: “Thank you Lisa so much for your excellent session at the workshop.Your session definitely had a very big part to play on the day – there was a palpable change in the audience afterwards, who were energised and engaged. I personally enjoyed it very much as well.” (Dr Carolyn Ee)

Lisa says: “The experiential session was really well received and the group appeared to be more awake and aware following the practice.”

“All in all the day went very well, the audience were receptive and it was very encouraging to see how interested these GPs were in understanding Yoga as a complementary therapy”.

“This was a great opportunity to have an open dialogue with General Practitioners. I believe this type of collaboration is important to help GPs provide patients with the latest and best practice across an array of health care modalities. I am confident that these GPs will now consider Yoga Therapy as an option for their patients.”

“I was also really pleased to have the chance to share that Yoga is more than a body-based practice and that mindfulness is the foundation and core of a Yoga Practice, something that often gets lost in our modern understanding of what Yoga is all about.”

About Lisa Grauaug

Lisa Grauaug is member of our Yoga Teacher Training faculty, course coordinator for our Graduate Yoga Therapy Training Course and director of our Teaching Pre & Post-natal Yoga course.

Upcoming 100hr Yoga Therapy Course Modules:

June 2019: Yoga Anatomy & Musculo-skeletal System

September 2019: Yoga Psychology & Mental Health

November 2019: Foundations of Yoga Therapy

Copyright The Yoga Institute 2019

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