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**Special thanks to my friend, Alissa Marie, for providing insight on Prenatal Yoga for my blog**

The practice of yoga can be life changing, introducing you to your body, breath and thoughts in a way you may have never experienced before. The more you practice connecting these pieces of yourself the easier it is to relax your body on demand and release the heaviness of fear and expectation. Mindful movement is the best way to keep the physical body functioning and feeling at its best. The only way to make the experience better would be to have each class specifically designed to focus on the phase of life you are in at this very moment. This is the “prenatal” yoga difference.

I had already been certified as a 200hr yoga teacher and I had been teaching yoga for about 3 years when I took my training in prenatal yoga with Blooma International in Nashville, TN. The weekend was so inspiring and empowering! Pregnancy was such a transformative period of my life and the idea of supporting and loving on women on their own journey to birth and beyond was powerful. Yoga had pulled me through some devastating circumstances in my life, walked me through fear, and allowed me to realize my inner strength. The opportunity to combine these two experiences is why I fell in love with offering prenatal yoga.

PreNatal Yoga at Renew Mama Studio - Grand Rapids

The difference between yoga class and prenatal yoga class lies in the focus.

· We begin each class with a meditation/centering on a reading about pregnancy or motherhood. This brings our mamas attention to the specific stage of life they are walking. The class takes on meaning and intention.

· Each mama then creates an affirmation for herself based on the reading and meditation.

· We build community by introducing ourselves and sharing our affirmations.

· Movement begins slow, finding our rhythm, tuning into our breath.

· Class follows the arch of labor, building in intensity and finishing in bliss.

· The poses are focused on strengthening the muscles needed for labor and birth as well as postpartum recovery.

· Our practice goes back to the breath and its power to release tension with direction, and movement.

The feedback from our mamas is powerful! Knowing how to move their bodies helps with relaxing and releasing through contractions. Being able to direct and control the breath is important when birth becomes intense. Affirmations create a powerful mindset for mamas to empower them to ask for what they need during prenatal care, birth, and into postpartum, from their care providers, partners, and support circle. If you have the option during pregnancy to practice prenatal specific yoga, mama, it can make all the difference!

Alissa Marie is a 200hr certified yoga teacher with certification in prenatal yoga, birth doula training, and instruction with She offers prenatal yoga classes Tues. Thurs. and Fri. as well as Yoga Based Birth 6week series, Partner Positioning Workshops, and Postpartum Prep nights, more info


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