We caught up with our fabulous teachers, Jess Earle and Maria Sakaria, to discuss the benefits of prenatal yoga practice.

Refresh Yoga Center: What made you decide to focus your yoga training on teaching prenatal?

Jess Earle
Jess Earle

Jess: I chose to focus my teaching practice on pre- and post-natal yoga when I was pregnant with my first child, Thaddeus. For me, yoga was the perfect complement to a healthy/fit pregnancy and I wanted to be able to share that knowledge and experience with others.

Maria: For all women pregnancy can be a scary and unknown journey. Yoga has so many benefits to provide physically with poses that prepare our body for birth, mentally with breathing exercises that work the subconscious and come in use when mostly needed during labor, emotionally by becoming part of a community and a group with other mammas to be, and so much more. To be the messenger of all of that and help future moms get through the discomforts or pregnancy, is an honor. What made me focus my training on prenatal yoga is the looks of relief, the sighs of comfort and nurture and the smiles of connection that I get from each mom after every class. Nothing can beat that!

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Maria Sakaria

Maria: The lovely squat goddess pose is one and most important. Even though many pregnant yoginis may not like as it can be an intense squat when holding. However, the squat is good in so many different ways. It not only prepares the body for birth, but also reminds the mamma to keep a neutral position of the pelvis, create the space that is needed for birth as well as to breathe through the discomfort and let go.

Another good exercise and very helpful for both moms and moms-to-be is the pelvic floor exercise. This is so important to be incorporated in each class and to make sure to remind moms to practice at home also. The pelvic floor muscles loosen during birth and it can be very uncomfortable to get them back to normal after birth. Keeping these exercises frequent poses before and after giving birth, is important to keeping a healthy and strong pelvic floor.

Finally, any side bending and stretching of the upper body is so very helpful for pregnant yoginis! In our day-to-day lives we sit in an office most likely and slouch. If we are pregnant we are more inclined to slouch and intensify our lumbar curve. Stretching the shoulders and reaching up and away from the ribs creates space. With the baby pushing into mom’s diaphragm, it feels so good to just stretch and open some space up for both herself and the baby to have some more room.

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Baby and Me Workshop

Refresh Yoga Center: What made you decide to focus your yoga training on teaching prenatal?

Jess: I chose to focus my teaching practice on pre- and post-natal yoga when I was pregnant with my first child, Thaddeus. For me, yoga was the perfect complement to a healthy/fit pregnancy and I wanted to be able to share that knowledge and experience with others.

RYC: What is special to you about working with moms/moms to be?

Jess: Prenatal yoga is such a wonderful practice. There is a fantastic sense of community as women come together during this special season of their lives…one that is empowering and filled with growth, both emotionally and physically. Prenatal yoga takes that growth to the next level, and it is such a joy for me to be able to encourage woman as they prepare to bring life into this world and really end up giving birth to themselves as well. It is an incredibly nourishing space, and, for me, it is an honor to teach the lovely ladies of Refresh.

Maria: Moms-to-be are resilient and very strong. They come to yoga classes not only for themselves but for the health of their baby. They want to stay active but at the same time connect and find sometime time to just breathe and take care of themselves in body and mind. There is a special warmth and nurturing feeling in prenatal classes. The community created amongst all women is special and unique.

RYC: Can you name three best/most favored poses for pregnant yoginis and why the pose feels good or is good for them?

Jess: There are so many great yoga poses for pregnancy. I like to tailor classes to the specific needs of the students, but I always incorporate poses that:

  1. stretch the back to counter the strain of the growing belly, such as puppy pose;
  2. strengthen the legs, for those interested in laboring upright (can you say squats?); and
  3. exercise the pelvic floor (because those muscles bring babies into this world and they can take women out with a prolapse if neglected)!!!

Last, but definitely not least, is resting pose. I enjoy providing a calm space for mommas to bliss out, complete with light massage, to let the stress of the world melt away and prepare them to go peacefully through the rest of their day.


download10You can find Jess and Maria at Refresh Yoga Center on Tuesdays, Sundays and Saturdays for Semi-Private prenatal classes. Jess also offers Baby-and-Me Workshops for parents and their babies under 1 year-old.  Maria holds regular Parents-to-Be Workshops to help moms and their partners prepare for birth.