Pregnant Women Claim Yoga Studio Banned Them Over 'Distracting' Bumps

Pregnant mom

Although exercise when you're expecting is important for a healthy pregnancy, some women have to modify their routines as they get further along. Any potential changes should be between Mom-to-be and her doctor out of the best interest for the baby. But instead of thinking about what's right for baby, one yoga studio has been accused of kicking multiple pregnant women out of its classes. These women were reportedly asked to leave on separate occasions simply because they're pregnant -- and the instructor appears to be squeamish when it comes to bumps.


Hayley Ross is not only an experienced midwife -- she also had clearance from her own midwife before she started attending hot yoga classes. However, after nine weeks of taking classes at Yoga Shack in London, Hayley was told by the teacher to not come back while pregnant. "I was told I couldn't make my own decision. I felt horrified. I was a little in shock because I'd been practicing yoga there for so long. But they told me I couldn't continue," Hayley told CBC. 

Although Hayley was told she wasn't welcome to continue taking classes because the studio feared that hot yoga wasn't safe for expectant moms, Vanessa Romphf had a similar experience getting kicked out of class in 2015 and was told it had nothing to do with safety concerns. "I was about seven months pregnant and [the owner of Yoga Shack] came up to me and said that she wasn't comfortable with having me in the class because I would make other people uncomfortable. I was shocked about that because I thought the philosophy of yoga was all about being yourself, in that moment," Vanessa said to CBC. "I felt pretty discriminated against, embarrassed, guilty." 

Pregnant woman

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At the time that she was temporarily banned from the yoga studio, Vanessa had just completed a half marathon at seven months pregnant and knew how to listen to her body while working out. "[The owner] didn't bring up safety at all with me. I told her I would have my doctor or my midwife call and she said 'No.' If her emphasis was on safety I would have been more understanding," she said. "But it was all about how I would make other people feel uncomfortable."

Yoga Shack owner Lisa Shackleton told CBC that her decision not to allow pregnant women to take her hot yoga classes is based on worrisome studies she's read. Because of this, it doesn't matter to her if Hayley is a midwife or if Vanessa had clearance from a doctor. "For me, that is our policy. Your occupation doesn't determine how your unborn child can react to the heat," she said. "Not only am I concerned about the health of her and her baby, but I'm also concerned about our staff teaching the class and other members in the class. There are other people who are worried for that person. It's a private journey on your mat but you're also in a room full of people. I don't want people anxious about whether or not she is going to faint." 

Pregnant woman

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Hayley had been taking the classes weekly with a group of friends and hopes that others are just as outraged over her experience as she was. "She told me I was a distraction, that her other clients weren't happy about me being there. So that was it," she said. "I'm hoping that people are horrified that they're discriminating against a pregnant person."

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