The Pregnant Yogini: I Worry So I Do Yoga.

Via Erica Webb
on Oct 24, 2011
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I won’t begin to pretend that I didn’t worry before I was pregnant. Of course I worried. I worried about all the usual things. I like to think of it as ‘healthy worry’, worry that keeps me from doing something silly.

Now I’m pregnant and the worry-meter has elevated to a whole new level. Suddenly I have this little human relying on me to keep it safe and healthy. If you’ve been pregnant or have known any pregnant women, you’ll know that there are a couple of very long lists to follow: What you SHOULD do, and what you SHOULD NOT do.

The SHOULD NOT list is long, and has caused me some grief. The grief has stemmed from wanting to do everything just right. So I don’t eat soft cheese, I wash fruit and vegetables within an inch of their life, I cook food until it’s piping hot, I don’t get into a hot bath or spa, I don’t drink alcohol, don’t sleep on my right side or back… the list goes on and on.

I feel ok when I’m in control; I can be confident in knowing that I’m doing the right thing. But what happens when I’m not in control? When someone else is feeding me, or I worry about every little twinge in my belly; I turn into a twenty-questions champion. My husband looks at me with an incredible level of patience, assuring me that everything is fine.

I’d forgive you for thinking I’m paranoid (you wouldn’t be the first). The positive out of this though? It’s been a huge yogic lesson. This lesson has started with an acute awareness of the thoughts that clamour in my mind when I find myself heading down the worry track.

In the yoga sutras, Patanjali advises of two possible states: one of yoga, or unity, in which the thoughts that race through the mind slow and come to a stop; the second of identification with the thoughts that race through the mind. When I worry, I’m identifying with the thoughts in my mind – those thoughts that say ‘you must get everything just right; you aren’t doing enough; you should try harder to be a good mother-to-be’. If I sit with these thoughts and let them convince me that they are right, I start to slip further and further into worry. If, on the other hand, I can step back from the thoughts, I move a little closer towards unity.

My weapons of choice against worry have been practising Santosha (contentment) and meditation. Santosha has allowed me to accept that things will be exactly as they are. It isn’t an excuse to be careless; but it is an acknowledgement that my control is limited and a belief in the innate intelligence of my body (and my baby’s) to move through the pregnancy exactly as nature intended.

And then there’s meditation. I can tell if I’ve missed my practise: I feel a general sense of anxiety weighing over me and a draining feeling of fatigue. When I sit and focus on my breath or a mantra, I realise that my mind will always throw up ideas and thoughts, but that I don’t have to agree with every single one, like a puppy anxious to please its master. I can actually just notice what’s happening and let it drift away again. The most unpleasant pregnancy-related anxiety I’ve experienced to date has always happened when I give my thoughts a voice, and they keep on talking until I’ve worked myself into a messy state. Meditation pulls me back.

When I sit quietly and simply connect with the growing baby in my belly, I feel so peaceful, so content and so in love.

Photo credit: Yogi

Related article: The Pregnant Yogini: From Headstands to Headaches.

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About Erica Webb

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Erica splits her time between being a mum, practicing and teaching yoga, completing her Master of Arts (Writing), and writing for the joy of it. Trained in Classical Yoga at the Australian College of Classical Yoga, she focuses her practice and teaching on becoming present and tuning into the inner guide. Being a mum is the hardest but most wonderful job she has ever done. She blogs over at and hangs out on Facebook at


10 Responses to “The Pregnant Yogini: I Worry So I Do Yoga.”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Hi Erica – I absolutely LOVE the message in this blog. It's so beautiful and pertains to EVERYONE, not just precious mommy-to-be's. I am really enjoying this series and learning a lot from you. Thank you for being here.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  2. Erica says:

    Thanks Tanya! It is amazing how all of these lessons pertain to everyday life – sometimes it just takes something to bring it all into focus.


  3. Jessica says:

    Hi Erica – Such a wonderful post. I took so much away from this and I'm not pregnant. I've always been a worrier and the consistent worry has ultimately led to some illness. I have started to find peace with regular yoga practice. Worrying is such a bad habit to break. And unless you're a worrier, you won't understand just how hard it is to break the cycle. My husband, even though he is always supportive of me, has had a hard time understanding why I can't "just be happy". There's so much more that goes into it than that. Practicing Santosha is something that I really need to work on. I've still got a long journey to go, but on the plus side, my blood pressure has dramatically improved from my journey thus far.

    Thank you!

  4. Erica says:

    Hi Jessica

    I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed my article!

    I agree- unless you're a worrier, it's a very hard thing to understand. My husband is very relaxed by nature, so sometimes finds it odd that I worry about the small stuff.

    The great thing is that once we're aware of it, we just keep working on being content. We might always worry a little, but at least we can see what's happening and pull ourselves up when it's necessary.

    All the best,

  5. […] The Pregnant Yogini: I Worry So I Do Yoga. ~ Erica Webb […]

  6. Satyam says:

    Greetings Erica,

    I greatly value your post and think you offer a lot to consider. While you may use the term "worry" and I do understand where you're coming from. I think one could also easily apply the word discipline/d. That also applies to your path as a pregnant yogini. And as we all know, discipline is one of the great attributes of any practitioner.

    On a related note, here is a yoga pregnancy documentary I made of one of my students:

    It is a short video documentary of her practice. And I do emphasize here that it is her practice and not the practice for pregnant moms.

    Again, thank you kindly for your wonderful, soul-searching posting.

    Best, best wishes to mother and baby,


  7. Erica says:

    Hi Satyam

    Thank you so much for your reply and for sharing your documentary – it is beautiful. I watched in awe! While I have attempted some of the strong poses I regularly practiced pre-yoga, including arm balances, I have mostly found my practice becoming more gentle.

    Your documentary is a great testament to the fact that each of our bodies is unique, and it's up to each and every one of us, pregnant or not, to be our own guide.

    Thank you again