Prenatal Yoga with Shiva Rea DVD Review

Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga DVD
Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga. Courtesy of

Who is Shiva Rea?

Shiva Rea is an experienced and respected yoga teacher known for her fluid dancey vinyasa style practice and exploration of female empowerment though yoga. She's a regular in the pages of yoga magazines and on the festival circuit. She has made a lot of instructional videos with Gaiam, including very popular DVDs for prenatal and postnatal practice. 

What's on the DVD

Since there are different recommendations and modifications for each trimester of pregnancy, it's difficult to present a one size fits all approach to prenatal yoga.

This video elegantly solves this problem by featuring three women, one representing each trimester, demonstrate each position with appropriate variations.  Rea, demonstrating the first trimester unmodified poses with beautiful alignment, leads the fifty-minute session intended to strengthen and support you through pregnancy and delivery of your baby. The women representing the second and third trimesters both have lovely practices as well. Rea’s modifications rely heavily on the use of a chair and are especially conservative for the third trimester, which makes sense for moms-to-be who are new to yoga. Experienced yoga students who have been consistently practicing through their pregnancies without difficulty may find the chair assists are not necessary until the last few weeks of pregnancy, in which case the second trimester modifications continue to be appropriate.

The first section of the DVD focuses on meditation and pranayama.

Rea also leads a series of Kegel exercises, which are always good to be reminded of during pregnancy. This is followed by a series of standing poses focusing on hip openers, upper body twists, balances, and hamstring stretches. The floor work section includes a series of plank poses, which are great for maintaining your upper body strength during pregnancy, an area that is often neglected in prenatal classes.

Throughout, there are excellent explanations of the benefits of each method and pose for pregnant women. Finally, Rea leads a guided relaxation to end the practice.

Is This DVD for You?

This DVD is a great option for pregnant women who want to practice at home. Though the modifications are appropriate for beginners, it is best suited to those already familiar with yoga and would ideally be used to complement prenatal yoga classes since these offer the opportunity to get personal feedback from a teacher and start to connect with other expectant women. As with any exercise during pregnancy, there may be individual reasons why yoga is not compatible with your physical condition, so make sure that you consult with your prenatal health care provider before trying anything on your own. 

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.