It is such an honor to teach prenatal yoga! As one of my teachers always quoted, “The seat of the teacher is of service.” In the spirit of a doula, midwife, loving doctor, the prenatal teacher offers ahimsa, the first Yama which means compassion, to her students. My current class description reads:
“An optional (though recommended) 15-minute community time builds a supportive class atmosphere and discusses the ebbs and flows of the pregnancy journey week to week and starts a 60 minute accessible yoga class for all stages of pregnancy where moms choose the best of many options for each pose and practice. Strength building and stability poses custom for expectant mothers are utilized to help “Mother the mother.” Moms will also learn breathing and meditation practices for labor, postpartum, and their lifetime mothering journey. Questions are encouraged and welcome. Class ends with a restorative savasana. Appropriate for all stages of pregnancy and movement levels-all are very welcome!”
Each week, with respect and honor for my students and the privilege to pass along ancient yoga teachings backed with modern research for best practices, I share techniques and practices for nurturing, strengthening, and empowering the pregnant people who attend my classes (with friends or partners in tow occasionally too). I hear their stories, concerns, and questions, passing along relevant practices or information to help them “abide in ease” (another quote from another great teacher of mine, shared from a translation of one of the ancient sutras). Our class is a cocoon, free from judgment. We breathe together. We move our bodies into nurturing postures, choosing the best option for our bodies in the moment. We focus on strengthening and stability, not flexibility. Pregnant bodies become hypermobile from the prenatal hormone relaxin. Much of what we discuss and practice is moving in ways that assist moms in adapting to building a baby--sometimes a little slower in movements to keep blood pressure steady (pregnant moms are creating more blood for baby, so blood pressure can fluctuate more frequently). Sometimes we do not hold poses as long due to not wanting to over-stress joints that often won’t feel it that day but will feel it the next day if mom loses connection with her inner peace and intuition and over-extends herself.
Yoga is the yoking of mind, body, and peace (which can translate to soul in religious traditions or inner balance in non-religious traditions). Yoga is universal and, while it is practiced in many religions, it can also be separate and non-offending as a universal practice--coordinating mind, body, and peace. My job as a prenatal teacher is not to preach, tell a mom how to birth, feed her baby, mother her child, or even how to do anything really.
I serve lovingly as a guide--a fellow mother who, after three different births and counseling moms for over ten years as a volunteer peer counselor, really loves offering mothers choices to serve their journey. Breathing techniques to try when they wish. Asanas (postures) that will strengthen them in their prenatal journey but will also assist them in the differing stages of labor-options that will only serve them when they choose to. Meditation techniques tried in class might assist them while waiting in line for groceries or during the intensity of the transition stage in active labor--only when they choose.
I will hear their stories, I will pray for their journeys, I will celebrate their joys, I will cry with their struggles--I am honored to serve.
Sarah Blunkosky, 200 RYT, 95 RCYT, and 85 RPYT, loves sharing and teaching yoga with babies, kids, and adults. A history geek, Sarah enjoys reading old yogic texts and sharing their wisdom with others. She is currently in a 300 Hour RYT advanced training and is on a long-term path to be a yoga therapist. Sarah teaches chair, Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga, Hatha, and Gentle Yin Yoga. Specialties include: Prenatal, Postnatal, Pelvic Floor, Complex Prenatal Conditions such as Breech & Placenta Previa Presentations, Children with Special Needs, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, and Yoga for Arthritis.
As a certified Accessible Yoga Ambassador, Sarah infuses her classes with body positivity and radical acceptance for wherever one is at in the journey. She believes it is essential to offer options that are not hierarchal but better serve one’s anatomical reality in that precious moment. Her prenatal classes help prepare mothers to love more on themselves to better serve their mothering journey: “Mother the mother.” It is a great honor to help prepare one to birth another into the world - Sarah wants to help strengthen moms and empower them for the journey in the present now and future.
Sarah is also a Level II Reiki practitioner and a homeschool momma of three kids, one of whom has Down syndrome and autism and several learning challenges. She works as an education consultant, historian, and writer too. When she is not with her family or working, you can find her teaching therapeutic yoga or curled up in her favorite corner of the public library.