An Interview With Saraswathi

I recently returned from Mysore where I spent a month studying and practicing ashtanga yoga at the KPJAYI institute. Being there while almost 7 months pregnant was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (I will be either writing or vlogging about it more thoroughly soon)

Even though I was practicing with Sharath at the main shala, I just could not miss the opportunity to try and speak to Saraswathi too (his mother) if she could share some of her advice about ashtanga and pregnancy. Turned out she was more than happy to have a chat!

It’s so lovely to meet you! Actually it was Ilpo (Koponen) who suggested I come and talk with you if I get the chance.

Her face lit up instantly into a big warm smile.

Ohh Ilpo! My student! How is he, how is his practice?

Saraswati had a class of students waiting for her to start teaching but she asked me to join her to the office side so we could talk for a moment. And so we did.

Me: I’m now almost 7 months pregnant and would love to hear any advice regarding the practice?

“During pregnancy you should not do all the postures. You skip Marichyasana C and D,the twisting postures you cannot do. You can repeat A and B and even B sometimes is not possible. A is okay but you must create more distance with your leg. You take regular practice, the back bending, baddha konasana and upavishta konasana, these postures are very very important for the pregnancy. The deep breathing while practicing yoga gives good oxygen for the baby. Also the oil bath is very good for you. During pregnancy always keep active, don’t do lazy! You take walks and keep working normally.”

Is there anything I should eat while pregnant, any special types of food?

“Eat food like you normally eat, for pregnancy there is no special food. Vegetarian food is always good, but don’t eat papaya! Papaya is not good during pregnancy because it creates too much heat in your body.”

What about after the baby is born?

“After the delivery there is some special foods you can have for example rasam and pepper soup. You can also mix milk with rice and eat it. It’s good to make dosa out of rice flour and fenugreek. Fenugreek makes you strong and spinach is good to eat for breast milk.

After the delivery you must take good rest, minimum one and half months. You and your baby should have an oil bath every day. One should not practice asanas for 3-4 months after delivery, that time is for recovery and good rest.”


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