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She Believed

I’ve been promising for a few posts now to share why I became a prenatal yoga instructor, a side gig that I squeeze in around working full-time, and being a present wife and mom. So here goes: My yoga journey starts back in 2005, when I began working here at Experience Life …

I had tried yoga in college, but it wasn’t until I was hired on as the full-time associate editor here at Experience Life that I began practicing yoga regularly. Our then managing editor taught Forrest Yoga at a Twin Cities studio, and a couple of us on the team began attending her classes regularly. It was challenging both physically and mentally, and I loved the combination of strength and flexibility that each class offered. I overcame mental blocks around inversions, learned how to use my breath to breathe through intense poses and find inner calm, and discovered a confidence that I had never known. A lifelong athlete (I played multiple sports from grade school through high school, and became an avid runner in college), yoga provided an opportunity for physical and mental development on a deeper level. I was hooked.

I soon began attending vinyasa classes with Andrea Gerasimo, a gifted yogi and feng shui guru who also happens to be the sister of editor in chief Pilar Gerasimo’s (check out the decluttering miracle she worked in my closet in our “Order Out of Chaos” series). It was there that I realized the power of mantras and how to use the breath to flow from one pose to another. I left those practices so relaxed and in tune with my body, and often with a renewed mindset and fresh perspective.

Over the years, teachers have come and gone, and I’ve tried various classes. I’ve learned that hot yoga is NOT for me, and that vinyasa is right up my alley. I’ve taken weeks off and come back to question why on earth I ever stepped away from my mat. It’s transformative.

So when I learned I was pregnant in early 2010, I knew I wanted to make yoga a key part of my prenatal health and wellness regimen. At the recommendation of various friends, I began attending classes at Blooma, a Minneapolis-based yoga studio for expectant mamas, new mamas and their families. It turned out Blooma was about so much more than yoga — it was about community and education and empowering women to trust and believe in their bodies (and themselves!) through this biological process.

My perspectives about pregnancy shifted as my belly grew, and thanks to the encouragement and knowledge of the amazing instructors, I approached the birth of my daughter with confidence. I knew I couldn’t control all the circumstances surrounding my daughter’s birth, but I was well-informed and empowered.

My daughter was born on a warm fall day in 2010, and the experience, while no doubt the most challenging of my life, was nothing short of amazing. I credit Blooma for helping me have that kind of birth — from the poses and movements I used during labor to the mantras I repeated over and over to the informed decisions my husband and I made throughout those 24 hours. I knew I wanted to share what I had learned with other women.

Fast forward to fall 2011:

I learn that Blooma is offering a prenatal yoga teacher training program. This was my chance to embrace that fire and passion that had ignited during my pregnancy and first year as a mom. I signed up without hesitation, and on a cold weekend in January 2012, I joined 12 other women for what would be another transformative experience — physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially. We shared, we cried, we laughed, and we learned SO MUCH about how yoga is a powerful tool in supporting women through pregnancy and birth and motherhood. It was one of those weekends where I knew I was exactly where I needed to be the entire time.

Shortly after the training, I began co-teaching classes with Blooma instructors and subbing whenever the opportunity arose. I taught private prenatal sessions to a friend of a friend. When a long-term subbing opportunity at Blooma arose, I jumped at the chance, and since September, I’ve been teaching one to two classes per week. I’ve taught mamas who are brand-new pregnant to those multiple days past their guess dates. And I’ve received beautiful emails from new moms sharing their birth stories and how what they’ve done and learned in my classes have helped them through the birth experiences.

Those emails and the pictures of the moms and their sweet babies are the reasons I became a prenatal yoga instructor. They’re why I’ll continue to embrace new opportunities to deepen my own practice and knowledge as a teacher, mom and woman for years to come.

Looking to start or deepen your own yoga practice? Watch for the April 2013 issue of Experience Life, which features “Yoga 4 You” — an overview of the four main categories of yoga to help you pinpoint what kind of practice (or practices) might be right for you. 

PHOTO CREDIT: This saying is a staple in all of the Blooma studios.

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