Just after I wrote the last blog post I went to lunch with a friend, and the third thing she said to me was, "You can't do yoga when you're pregnant in your first trimester?!" That was the moment I realized that a little bit (more) of France had snuck into me. What do I mean by that? Well, despite all the grèves (protests) the French participate in, there is a general attitude of --'that's just the way things are and there is nothing to be done about it' which translates to a shrug of the shoulders and the statement of "il n'y a rien à faire". In fact, most of the protests have to do with keeping things the way they are. That attitude does wonders for your blood pressure, but is bad for the evolution to a more modern society.
My friend who asked this poignant question has done yoga from time to time but wouldn't be considered expert enough to attend a normal class in her first trimester, and considers yoga the best preparation for childbirth, which is no surprise. Here in France, we have 7 hours of free birthing classes taken with midwives, and included in every syllabus I've come across, is at least one hour of yoga.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how strange it is for teachers to not accept students in their first trimester, the more I was determined to find classes for said students. It made me wonder about the liability laws in France, and how they differ from those in the US. I remember pregnant ladies in their first and second trimesters in heated studios doing Vinyasa yoga, they were treated like healthy adults, put next to an open window so they wouldn't get as hot as the rest of the students, and told not to twist. I'm not sure heated Vinyasa is the most responsible or safe thing for pregnant ladies, but prenatal yoga classes in your first trimester are. Why are ladies here in France treated like sick people who can't do a few supported squats and some breathing exercises in a prenatal class? Don't get me wrong, I love it when people in the Metro consider me an invalid and give me their seats, especially when I'm having a particularly rough day (that Mexican I stupidly ate is trying to come back up... but it was sooo good!), and the metro is packed like a can of sardines. It's really nice, but there must be a balance. So, here are a list of yoga studios in Paris who accept students in their first trimester (according to their websites). If you find others, or have tried one of these classes, let me know, I'd love to know how it goes. I will eventually try one or two and let you know what I think.
The Gasquet Institute (Institut de Gasquet)
98 bd du Montparnasse
75 014 Paris
01 43 20 21 20
Métro : Vavin (ligne 4), Edgar Quinet (ligne 6), Notre Dame des Champs (ligne 12) ou Montparnasse (lignes 4, 6, 12, 13)
Check here for schedule updates
Mondays at 5:30pm and 6:45pm
Wednesdays at 5:30pm
This is probably your best option for an evening class. Additionally, Sharon, teaches the Monday at 6:45pm class, and she's perfectly bilingual, though likely teaches in French.
Paris Yoga Shala
9 rue Magellan
01 40 70 14 44
Métro: George V (ligne 1), Alma-Marceau (ligne 9)
Check here for schedule updates
Mondays at 1:30pm --by reservation in English
Wednesdays at 6:30pm --by reservation in English
Trini Yoga Paris
*Medical authorization required*
26 rue d'Enghien (Enter at 24, 2nd court left)
06 03 53 08 42
Code : 4B12
Métro: Château d'Eau (ligne 4), Bonne Nouvelle (ligne 8, 9)
Check here for schedule updates
Tuesdays at 11am
Whoa. I haven't written in over a month. But now that all my friends and family are ‘au courant’ I can share with you! I've been busy incubating a mini-human and haven't been to many regular yoga classes. But I have been trying a few prenatal classes here in Paris, so for all you Vinyasa yogis that have been following the blog, I'll have some more reviews for you come October. If you're looking for prenatal classes in Paris stay tuned!
Before the conception of the mini-mister, I had a couple of conversations with prenatal yoga teachers here, and many of them don't take students who are in their first trimester. I, however, continued to go to the 'normal' classes of the teachers I knew, and I didn't tell them I was pregnant; I just modified any pose I needed to. I am not recommending this to you, my dear readers. I've been doing yoga for 11 years and have training in prenatal yoga. If you've been doing yoga for a long time, and want to continue your practice during your first trimester, there are a few teachers (mostly Anglophones) that won’t have a huge problem having you in their regular classes, contact me and I'll give you some suggestions. If you've never done yoga before and you want to start during your pregnancy, I initially suggested you wait until 12 weeks, realized how absurd that was, and wrote a blog post about prenatal yoga in Paris in your first trimester. I have found only 3 studios and a handful of classes.
Despite my doctor(s) telling me to do as much yoga as often as I wanted to (I have a feeling they hear yoga and think meditation and stretching, not chaturangas and headstands), there are a couple of things I absolutely didn't do during my first trimester, no matter what. I did not take classes in a warm room, no hot yoga, no Bikram yoga. You need to stay fully hydrated, plus I had a problem with mild dizziness (vertigo) when I stood up from a forward fold, so I surely would have passed out in hot yoga! I did not take any classes where I couldn't keep my breathing deep and calm, which means, I didn't take any classes that were super-duper dynamic and/or twisty. Your baby needs lots of oxygen. And I did not attempt to do any new poses that I hadn't done before.
Twisting in the first trimester is a big no-no because it can dislodge the egg from the uterus, but since I do it every single day, and I continued teaching, I kept twisting, but made them very gentle and infrequent. I did not go to a class with a teacher who does lots of adjustments and who would twist me into a knot, and I did not twist myself into a knot. If I went to a regular class and chose not to tell my teacher, I twisted like I was trying to check out who was playing the sax in the metro. And towards the end of the first trimester, when I could tell my bump was getting a bit bigger, I didn't do any poses that put weight on my lower belly.
I'm now halfway through my second trimester, and my practice has completely changed, but I'll save that for another post. Perhaps when I'm fully through with it so you can get the entire story.
Former San Francisco DNA wrangler and current Paris yoga teacher and mom. Sharing. Caution: Possibly too much.