Youre pregnant or have a preexisting medical condition

A few medical conditions may preclude you from doing yoga with weights. If you have a heart condition, you're obese, or you're pregnant, think twice before undertaking this form of exercise and proceed with caution. You may have to consult your doctor before doing the exercises.

The cardinal rule of yoga applies especially to people with medical conditions: If something doesn't feel right, if an exercise makes you uncomfortable, or if you feel pain, don't do it. Back away from the exercise and consider whether you're doing it right or whether you should be doing it at all.

Heart conditions

Heart disease is caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, or a genetic predisposition. The most common heart ailment is coronary artery disease, which is caused by a clogging or narrowing of the arteries that restricts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart. If the heart muscle is weakened and can't pump blood efficiently, congestive heart failure can result. Signs of a heart condition include angina (chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn't get enough blood), edema (swelling in the legs), and shortness of breath.


If you have a heart condition such as coronary artery disease, speak to your doctor before you undertake any kind of exercise. All forms of exercise, including yoga with weights, place a burden on your cardiovascular system because exercise increases the flow of blood and stresses the heart muscle. For that reason, you must be especially careful before you undertake an exercise program if you have a heart condition.

The good news for people who are cleared by their doctors to practice yoga with weights is that the discipline offers real rewards to patients with heart disease. Yoga with weights lowers your stress level and gives you the opportunity to exercise at your own pace without overtaxing your cardiovascular system.


Being obese doesn't prevent you from doing yoga with weights, although you do have to start slowly. If the Balanced Workout exercises we describe in Chapter 7 are too difficult, start with the chair exercises we present in Chapter 18. You'll discover that after a few workouts, the core muscles in your trunk and torso will become stronger. The weight on your body will be distributed more evenly and you'll be able to move more freely.


Before you take on yoga with weights or another new exercise program during a pregnancy, seek the advice of a prenatal care physician. Typically, women who have been cleared to exercise can do most of the standing and sitting exercises we describe in this book until the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. After that period, depending on the woman and how strong she feels, doing exercises that require lying on your back or belly may be too strenuous or difficult.

In our experience, women who practiced yoga before they became pregnant can continue doing many of the standard yoga practices throughout their pregnancies, but women who want to take up the discipline to stay healthy during their pregnancies are better off in prenatal yoga classes. The trainers who oversee these classes know which exercises are suitable for pregnant women; they're attuned to a pregnant woman's health and understand how to guide her through yoga workouts. Chapter 17 has advice for pregnant women who want to study yoga with weights.

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