As part of my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Mindful Mamas, I was tasked with reading at least four books related to pregnancy and/or prenatal yoga and review them.
Each week for 4 weeks I am posting a brutally honest review so all you pregnant readers know what books to read and which to avoid. So far, I’ve discussed my surprising enjoyment of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and severe disappointment of Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful.
Next up . . .
Iyengar Yoga for Motherhood Review
Iyengar Yoga for Motherhood was the book that I was most looking forward to because I wanted a solid reference on sequencing of asana as it pertains to pregnancy. This book is a veritable encyclopaedia of the prenatal yoga practice and is an excellent reference and resource.
The book is a thick, heavy hardcover with glossy pages full of photographs of pregnant women demonstrating every pose. It covers, in detail, yoga poses that are appropriate for conception through to 6-months post-natal. It also goes into prenatal physiology in a more detailed manner than I was expecting, and touches on pre and postnatal ayurvedic health and diet.
It’s important to set about the book as an encyclopaedia. I attempted to read it from cover to cover and had trouble staying focused because it reads like a textbook and not a novel. When I realized that this wasn’t the right way approach, I got comfortable with the table of contents and index and used them to help me navigate to the information that I was looking for.
Armed with post-its, flags, and a highlighter I scoured the book for the information that was pertinent to my needs, namely prenatal yoga sequencing, asana benefits, and contraindications. I found it was easy and quick to find everything that I needed and get a high level understanding of the material.
I flagged what I considered to be the most useful tables and chapters for quick reference. “Problems A-Z” is one of my favourites. It is essentially an index of common ailments experienced during pregnancy with a list of all the poses that are helpful to relieve them. Additionally, I appreciated the tables throughout the book that succinctly indicate on which poses are suitable for which stages of pregnancy.
However, my flags and notes in the book have become essential to me quickly navigating to the material I need. In spite of all the relevancy and helpfulness of the material, in some ways I feel like the book contains too much information. Because of its size, Iyengar Yoga for Motherhood is relegated to the bookshelf; it’s not something that I can carry around with me to reference quickly when I need it. It would be nice to have a Pocket Guide to Iyengar Yoga for Motherhood which would have the pertinent tables of asanas by trimester and/or prenatal ailment.
Each asana referenced in the book has its own dedicated page which shows a photo of the pose, detailed instruction on how to perform it, and tables highlighting the benefits, contraindications, hints, and special instructions for the pose. Pictures are even provided for recommended sequences of poses which, since they can be referenced on other pages, seems redundant to me though I admit I can see the benefit for someone who wants to open the book and follow along with the pictures.
In the end though, I’m glad to have this book in my library. It’s something that I know that I will reference over and over again as I start to teach pregnant women and address their problems, concerns, and questions.