How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
I began teaching prenatal yoga in January of 2002. I started out as a Bikram yoga teacher in September 2000 and then continued my education and got certified in prenatal yoga with Colette Crawford in 2001. At that point I began moving away from Bikram yoga and studied vinyasa yoga with Shiva Rea and Cyndi Lee and received certifications from both Shiva Rea and OM yoga in 2004.
So my story into prenatal yoga is really quite coincidental. I was hanging out with a few friends between yoga classes and one of the other teachers mentioned she was interested in prenatal yoga. I thought it sounded interesting and did a little research about it. I had never even thought about it before my friend Dianna mentioned it. At that time there were not a lot of prenatal yoga teacher trainings and the ones I did find were only a few days, 3 at most. But then I found the Seattle Holistic Center. They offered a 10 day, 60 hour intensive prenatal training. And I thought- that is the one for me!
I first renting a small studio within the Bikram yoga studio I was teaching at. I was offering 2 classes a week, and within a few months, I was up to 5 classes a week. Things were going well until the owners of the Bikram studio told me they were restructuring there studio and decided to make my rented studio space into a dressing room. I then found a few partners to help me open a bigger space. So within a few months, the Prenatal Yoga Center was born. We opened our doors the weekend before Labor Day 2002.
What was your inspiration for creating a center for expecting and new moms?
My vision for the Prenatal Yoga Center was inspired by OM yoga and the Seattle Holistic Center. I was certified through both these studios and highly respected their commitment to a well- rounded experience; I also appreciated that they offered workshops and classes that went beyond just asana. Having taught at a yoga studio that only offered yoga classes, I knew I wanted the Prenatal Yoga Center to be more of a community-builder with classes that supported the new and expectant mom in more ways than just yoga. New and expectant mothers are such a unique population to work with and their needs are very specific.
My inspiration and vision definitely grew as I grew as a teacher and childbirth advocate. I was invited to a hospital to witness births, having never seen one at that time. I was horrified how mechanical a very natural event became. That experience truly changed the way I taught and the mission of the studio. I became a certified labor support doula and a certified Lamaze childbirth educator. My intention definitely shifted beyond teaching yoga poses appropriate for pregnant moms, to creating a yoga class that interweaved asana, childbirth education, sense of community and confidence. I am not attached to how these women give birth, but I am attached to the idea that they choose how to birth from a sense of confidence and empowerment.
So I guess you can really say my students inspired me to create a center just for new and expectant moms. It is about serving them, not me.
What were you doing prior to running the Prenatal Yoga Center?
I was a musical theater performer. I started when I was 8 years old and officially left the business when I was 28 to open the Prenatal Yoga Center. I have a degree from the Boston Conservatory with a major in musical theater. I have absolutely no background in business! But after 7 years of running the studio, I think maybe that earns me an honorary MBA!
What do you enjoy most about running the Prenatal Yoga Center?
I LOVE teaching and working with the students! I am filled with such pride and excitement when I hear back from the students after they give birth that the yoga classes helped them in their labor and delivery. Or if one of the blog articles I wrote made them stop and think about how they want to give birth and what is right for them and their family. Making a difference in someone’s life is beyond description.
What are your locations?
Our main studio in on the UWS (251 W 72nd st 2f). However, we have three satellite studios where Prenatal Yoga Center classes are offered. Flatiron at Appleseeds, SoHo at Rosie Pope Maternity and Brooklyn at Easeful Body.
Are you planning on expanding beyond NYC?
Not at this time. But we are offering teacher training courses. So maybe I will either collaborate with one of our graduates and open a center outside of NYC or one the graduates will open her own space.
for more information please visit: http://www.prenatalyogacenter.com.
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