The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

 Ep 135: How to Modify for the Prenatal Student with Rena Wren


When teaching prenatal yoga, or pregnant students, what are the poses you should avoid? Can you teach twists, inversions or front extensions? What are some modifications I can cue, or props I can use to cater to the needs of my pregnant students? All your questions are going to be answered on this episode with Rena Wren.

Rena Wren is one of our MamaNurture lead trainers, and the founder of Empowered Yoga Teaching, where she provides continuing education and support for yoga teachers.  Apart from prenatal yoga teacher training through MamaNurture, she offers yin yoga training, and yoga teacher mentoring on a wide range of topics, as well as workshops, retreats, and online courses. 

Contraindicated yoga during pregnancy covers eight main areas. Shannon and Rena dive into each of these, as well as modifications and variations that you can cue for your pregnant students and in your prenatal class. Be sure to check out the free PDF Download and Rena’s videos where she shares variations you can use.

If you have ever taught prenatal yoga, or had a pregnant student come to your class, this episode is going to be a real treat. It is full of tips and modifications that you can immediately start applying to any of your prenatal classes or to work with pregnant students.

Key Takeaways:

[5:38] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Rena Wren.

[8:04] How did Rena get started in her yoga journey?

[12:35] Rena juggles multiple roles and responsibilities. She shares how yoga has helped her find balance in what she does.

[15:09] Check out the PDF download for the 8 contraindicated poses during pregnancy.

[16:03] Shannon and Rena discuss the first contraindicated pose – Breath retention and/or strong, forced breathing. What are some of Rena’s favorite modifications for this?

[17:47] Advanced poses that challenge and build heat are second on the list. How can you tell when certain poses are advanced?

[22:31] What are some modifications Rena recommends to avoid poses that engage and/or stretch the rectus abdominis muscles (e.g. boat, crow, leg lifts)?

[27:18] Front extensions can overstretch the abdominal muscles. Rena walks us through a modification of camel pose for the pregnant body.

[30:11] Inversions are contraindicated for pregnancy. How would Rena modify the headstand, handstand, shoulder stand and downward dog poses?

[36:46] What are some of Rena’s favorite variations for prone poses?

[40:05] How can you identify closed twist poses and what are some modifications you can offer?

[44:54] The last one is hot yoga. Shannon and Rena discuss why they would not teach hot yoga to pregnant people.

[47:15] Check out the live video from September 16 to find out more about caution poses in the grey area.

[47:48] Rena has some final insights on how teachers can approach having a pregnant student in their class.

[49:39] Rena has a MamaNurture training coming up!

[52:05] Shannon shares some details about upcoming teacher trainings that are available.

[53:12] Shannon has an update about MamaNurture and all the work she is doing with niching down.


  • MamaNurture Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in Conway, Arkansas – (Training is no longer being offered by Shannon Crow because she has niched down)

Gratitude to our Sponsors Schedulicity and MamaNurture.

Quotes from this episode:

“One of the main things I’ve learned from yoga is to know the things that I value, and to make sure that I have enough of those things in my life to help me have balance.”

“A lot of students who come to prenatal yoga are new to yoga.”

“Challenging is dependent on the student.”

“Getting people to slow down and feel nurtured in a space really helps them realize that they don’t really care about their idea of yoga was anymore. They care that they feel good when they leave this room.”

“One of the first things to do …is [think about] what are the benefits, what are we trying to do?”

“Take baby with you in the twist.”