Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond

Before Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond...

Hi I’m Jessica. I started yoga in 1997 to relieve really bad neck and back pain.

Founder, Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, motherhood & beyonod -prenatal teacher training

I was shocked when my pain was gone in a couple weeks!

I was already in love with yoga, and I knew I wanted to help people out of their own pain and suffering by sharing it.

But first, I wanted to understand HOW it worked. Why does yoga heal us? And why does it sometimes hurt us? 

I studied cadavers with pre-meds at UCLA, became a Certified Personal Trainer and got my Masters in Exercise Science.

But I didn’t find the answers I was looking for until I found a school of yoga that was based in alignment called Anusara.

In alignment-based yoga, every pose is an opportunity to align our muscles and bones with what’s called the “optimal blueprint.”

I learned that it’s not the pose we do that heals, it’s what we’re doing inside the pose that matters.

It’s moving the breath, the muscles, even the bones and organs in their optimal direction, like physical therapy, that allows the body to find body stability and ease.

That’s why we can be hurting ourselves on the mat, and healing ourselves while we’re driving.

I couldn’t believe how healthy, strong and flexibly I got using the biomechanical alignment principles I learned!

Jessica Jennings, Founder Ma Yoga for Pregnancy

I start teaching yoga for pregnancy

And biomechanical alignment principles helped me to fulfill my dream of helping  students and clients to relieve back, wrist and knee pain – as well as heal chronic injury.

And yet when I started teaching prenatal yoga in 2001, I felt like I was missing something.

My pregnant mamas were facing so many challenges that went way beyond the physical.

I learned quickly that pregnancy can be isolating, anxiety-inducing, and exhausting.

I also saw that with yoga and community, moms-to-be seemed to get calmer, more centered, more strong and even more graceful as their babies and bodies grew.

I went back to the essence of yoga – the five elements – and began helping mamas connect on a more energetic level with their innate feminine wisdom and power by aligning with the space (breath), earth (stability), water (play), fire (power) and air (freedom) within.

I began to see pregnancy as an opportunity, rather than just a whole bunch of physical challenges, a rare moment in our lives when we are actually encouraged to slow down, turn inward in a whole new way, and learn how to take care of ourselves on the deepest levels.

And I saw how when a mama chooses to nurture herself physically, mentally and emotoinally, energetically and spiritually, she finds inner resources she didn’t know she had!

ma yoga for pregnancy, motherhood & beyond founder Jessica Jennings

I become a mom

When I became pregnant in 2006, I thought I was fully ready to have a baby.

I had a blast teaching my prenatal yoga class while I was pregnant – I’m still friends with some of those mamas today.

And while my labor didn’t go QUITE as planned, the prenatal yoga find my calm, powerful center and breathe through all the changes.

The hardest thing was… well, after labor.

Being home with baby without help and waking up every three hours throughout the night to feed left me exhausted and depleted.

I didn’t have a postpartum yoga practice and I didn’t know where to start. 

Despite it all, I was blissed out – here’s me with my daughter – in a fog of exhausted love.

This is me SEEMING to be so calmand happy with my new baby!

jessica - long before mom and prenatal yoga online - other classes in yoga for pregnancy didn't prepare me

The truth is, even though I’d been teaching prenatal yoga for years, when I had a baby, I was realizing that I had never really learned how to take care of myself.

 I needed my yoga more than ever, but there was no way I could pay a nanny while I enjoyed an hour-and-a-half yoga class.

I lived for two years in a blurry, blissful, bedraggled love cloud.

When I came to, my pelvis had turned so substantially that I couldn’t do a Cobra. There was a bone in the way! I had not healed correctly postpartum, and I hadn’t noticed because I wasn’t doing yoga and I just wasn’t paying attention to my body.

Years later, I was still undoing the damage and healing the adhesions.

I realized that new moms need alignment-based yoga maybe more than any other time.

So when my baby was two, I started Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond. My dream was to create a Mama Circle in every neighborhood!

I gathered some teachers I’d trained in prenatal yoga, we all found different locations in our neighborhoods, and we made sure to offer Mom + Baby classes so our mamas could come back easily with their babies.

Below was my very first Mama Circle! I remember each mama so well.

And with moms and moms-to-be loving their classes at four locations in the Los Angeles area, my vision was a Mama Circle in every neighborhood seemed to be coming true…

first ma yoga for pregnancy mama circle

Below is a video one of our students made for us! So sweet…

I really like Rachelle’s class because I find that the exercises she focuses on are really helpful for pregnancy and for labor prep, plus she’s really attentive to different people’s bodies and their varying needs based on belly size and stage of pregnancy.

It’s also cool because she’s a doula so her insights to birthing and labor have been really valuable.

A.R.

I was glad to be able to finally come to a class now that they’re online!

I am going to keep coming…my body really enjoyed the hour of moving, stretching, and centering.

Jelena P.

I actually loved the class. I say actually because, as you know, yoga has never been my “thing” and computer stuff is also not my “thing” but Jess!

THANK YOU!

I’ve been walking around for 5 weeks with such pain in my knee/leg and all the alignment work made me feel SO much better!

Sue B.

[Ma Yoga Foundations] was so wonderful! It was the best online yoga class I’ve attended.

Thank you for sharing your energy and beautiful ma presence to help us move energy.

 

Dr. Carley C.

Awesome! Thank you so much! The virtual classes have been saving my life and I truly love these classes.

 

Laurie S.

That class was f-ing awesome. I feel so much better!!!!!

You are an amazing teacher. Your ability to explain is crazy good.

Erica B.

Thank you for the Ma Yoga for Everyone class this morning. I am sooo wiped out I can’t believe it! Feels great.

 

Gary K.

Thank you so much for your wonderful gift of [Ma Yoga Foundations] today. My legs are still shaking but I feel less anxious.

You are amazing!! Can’t thank you enough for your encouragement to join you this morning.

I needed it emotionally and physically.

 

Rosibel R.

The live online class was great! Viviana was very friendly and knowledgeable and made sure to incorporate moves based off of the body aches we all had, so it was a great class… I will definitely be back in her class.

Kayla C.

Having lost 2 previous pregnancies, I wanted to be extra cautious in my practice and exercise. I was welcomed and supported in every way.

The instructors have been wonderful! These caring instructors are full of ideas on how to modify poses.

 

Jenn R.

Rachelle is so knowledgeable and welcoming and I am so thrilled my sister told me about this gem! She beams warmth and passion for what she does.

She’s an incredible resource and she’s very attentive to everyone’s movement within the class.

I’m very excited that I found Rachelle and this class so early in my pregnancy so that I can make it a part of the rest of my journey.

Barri S.

Thank you for all the great classes, it was really excellent to feel strong and confident throughout my pregnancy. Knowing that I could make it through an intense yoga class kept me from being afraid to exercise and really use my body the whole way through.

I actually thought about yoga class during labor!

Something you said a few times along the lines of not being afraid about what might happen during labor, just thinking “is that happening right now”. I’ve heard plenty of yoga teachers say “be in the moment” but it’s never made much sense, so thank you for putting that idea into a more usable phrase.

Liza C.

I took the free class with Viviana on Wednesday and it was great so I am really excited to continue the practice.

Sonal G.

The feeling that these amazing ladies, especially dear Melanie, give to pregnant women with pure love, care, peace and knowledge is priceless.

Leila S.

Melanie, everything you taught me over the past six months came into play and helped prepare me for that wonderful night.

I will never be able to fully express how honored and grateful I feel for all the wisdom you shared with me as I took your class, but my husband, my mother, and I agree that it all played into my ability to stay focused and have a wonderful child birth experience.

Alex T.

Thank you so much again for providing these tailored classes and community.

I told my therapist about it too because of the impact one class and your attentiveness had. It’s amazing. Thank you for this beautiful space and service.

Erica P.

Great class with Hayley! She is a confident calming teacher. I really enjoyed her flow and the pace of the whole class.

Savannah F.

I took two abSOULutely fabulous classes today!

Lindy was my first class after a long hiatus, she was so soothing and healing for me. I went in feeling rusty and a bit “off”, I left class feeling safe and nurtured. Melanie’s class was also exceptional; her pelvic openers really soothed my lower back; it is tingling now in a state of ultimate relief!

Nina R.

The feeling that these amazing ladies, especially dear Melanie, give to pregnant women with pure love, care, peace and knowledge is priceless.

Jessie

I participated in Kathy’s prenatal class today as a mom with a dog, toddler and 4 month old while I was trying to wrap up a work call. Kathy didn’t blink an eye.

I can’t believe how focused and calm Kathy was while not only guiding me but a handful of others. Her voice was calm and soothing and her flow was natural. I could get up leave and join back in with ease. Great job Kathy.

Thanks for helping this mom through whatever kind of yoga practice I can get!

Stephanie G.

Lindy is an amazing instructor. I felt so relaxed after and less tensed.

She was also so caring, attentive and took time to talk to each student to know them more.

Bonita C.

Hayley is a wonderful teacher, very sweet. I really disconnected and relaxed with her.

Jeanne B.

Enjoyed Heather Kampf’s Friday class! Heather demonstrates poses so that it is easy to follow her instructions; she also checks closely to see that I am in the correct position on the mat so I get the most out of each pose.

Donna C.

Daho is awesome. I had the free class with her and I liked practicing prenatal yoga that day itself.

I always wait for Wednesday when I can work out with her.

She customizes poses based on your week of pregnancy, pays attention to how are you doing, corrects them and the best part is you don’t feel tired after the class.

I recommend her to anyone planning to do prenatal yoga in their second/third trimester.

Aakansha B. - from our Google listing

Heather led a nice class working to make “Breath with movement and staying in the present moment the goal over personal perfection” as her theme.

The class flowed nicely and Heather’s cueing was easy to understand.

I felt the Warrior poses were challenging in their hold time which was good as contractions are going to hang around for a while as well. Feeling that intensity and getting through it is great prep for labor.

 

Jeanne D. - from our Google listing

Heather K. is a great teacher! I really enjoyed the Yoga for Busy Moms class she held today.

I loved her authentic voice, playful/not too serious class — I noticed myself smiling throughout the practice.

Loved the gratitude/body scan meditation at the beginning and the closing Om, focusing on taking the vibrations with me throughout the day.

Ashley M. - from our Google listing

Best thing that I found during my pregnancy is Ma Yoga! I definitely recommend Melanie.

She explained every detail and is a super nice person. Since they have an everyday class option for prenatal yoga, it’s a great option to be able to attend whichever day you want to attend.

Most yoga studios have very limited or no prenatal classes.

Aysegul B. - from our Google listing

I have loved all of the teachers I have met in these classes. They each take the time to get to know each person and their needs and then tailor the classes to those needs.

There is a great balance between mind and body and a lot of great pregnancy advice and knowledge!

Shana K. - from our Google listing

Heather’s class was amazing.

She was warm and welcoming…the cues were so helpful; the flow and sequencing of the class was just what I needed.

She has a warm and welcoming presence – even thru zoom, you could feel her connection to those of us in the class. I will enjoy another class with her for sure!!

Nancy W. - from our Google listing

I enjoyed the yoga class with Ash.

She has such a soothing voice and explains step by step.

Maureen S. - from our Google listing

I am 38 weeks pregnant and I have been taking prenatal yoga with Lindy Ker. She is an amazing teacher.

She teaches a well-balanced intuitive, empowering, and centering class. I feel strong, confident, and alert after her classes.

I highly recommend Ma Yoga Living and taking a class with Lindy Ker.

Tara Z. - from our Google listing

LOVE IT! The teachers are always super loving and caring even though there are on the other side of the screen.

I met Ash earlier this week and she was teaching from Greece!!! The audio was perfect, no issues whatsoever, even though she was outdoors!

I loved her energy, her flow, she truly listened to me and another mommy and shared some wisdom on the yoga mat to attend to our needs on that day.

I particularly was having a headache and didn’t think I could do it.

Ash didn’t push me at all, she just allowed me to be there and join as I felt like it. Well, I ended up feeling great and the headache was gone!

Yoga with Marycarmen - from our Google listing

I have taken many different yoga classes and these are by far the best.

I highly recommend Melanie for pregnancy yoga. She explains everything clearly and brings you into deep concentration during class.

Also, she knows a lot about pregnancy and birth and it’s very calming hearing her advice.

Ana H. - from our Google listing

I’m often the only male in Jessica’s Ma Yoga Foundations classes and I love them.

Jessica’s Saturday class has gone a long way in helping me relieve my low back pain and understand how the parts of my body fit together.

I really appreciate her focus on alignment and breath along with her explanations of the mechanics of the body. She is the best!

Gary K. - from our Google listing

Jessica’s extensive knowledge of alignment is evident in every class.

Whether you’re pregnant, injured, or just dealing with common aches and soreness, Jess will weave in cues to address everyone’s needs without calling attention to anyone.

Her warm and optimistic personality infuses her classes with uplifting inspiration. Because she offers variations and refinements in every pose, her class is right for anyone.

Heather K. - from our Google Listing

Jessica is such a wonderful teacher.

The alignment-based yoga she teaches coupled with her extensive knowledge from decades of teaching bring such depth and compassion to her teaching. I intend to take her classes for as long as she is teaching.

Please give yourself the gift of taking a class with Jessica.

Sensei April - from our Google Listing

Jessica clearly and gently moves her students through the poses.

She cares about the well-being of her students and will tailor the poses to match the need of each student. I highly recommend her classes!

Abby L. - from our Google listing

Had my first free class and it was amazing!

Small group and Jessica helps you adjust your positions. Would definitely recommend! 😄

Kim P.

I love Ma yoga classes, they’re exactly what I want to calm my body, soul and mind. Highly recommend these classes and all the trainers are so experienced and empathetic.

Spandana J

Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond Grows

The moms loved being together, reconnecting to body and breath, strengthening and releasing tension – and all the while getting to stay connected to baby.

Some moms came back even before they could exercise, just to get a little yoga and grown-up vibe!

In a few years, we had had more than 18,000 moms and moms-to-be come through our ten Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond locations in Southern California.

I was training teachers not only to offer prenatal yoga, but to start their own  “Mama Circle” by partnering with a small business in their neighborhood.

But I started noticing a problem.

People came once a week, left feeling amazing, and then a couple days later, that aligned feeling was like a distance memory.

I realized that having a home practice is an essential part of being able to support healing and thriving for ourselves during the difficult postpartum period – and for the rest of our lives.

I started asking my pregnant mamas and moms to try and do a downdog at home.

It didn’t work. Life is too crazy busy and it’s really hard to know what to do at home anyway.

So we raised a bunch of money from our amazing Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood  & Beyond community, and created the “Ma Yoga Living Room” – an online hub where our students could get guided through therapeutic, strengthening, uplifting yoga videos designed for exactly where their bodies, minds and hears were. 

Here’s the video we made of our vision for what we wanted to become!

Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond Moves Online!

The Ma Yoga Living Room was great – except… for ALL the people who WEREN’T in Southern California, and didn’t have an in-person class to combine their videos with. 

I tried doing Zoom yoga for pregnancy classes, but no mamas showed up.

And then…. Covid came.

All of our locations shut down.

I would never wish quarantine upon the world, and yet there was a silver lining for Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond.

Suddenly we could reach moms and moms-to-be wherever they were – in towns that didn’t have prenatal yoga, in cities where it was too hard to get around with baby… wherever they were.

Within 24 hours, Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond was online with a full schedule of Zoom yoga for pregnancy and postpartum.

It was so easy for moms and moms-to-be everywhere to have a home practice! With both Ma Yoga Living Membership video practices plus ndividualized instruction from our expert teachers in Zoom yoga for pregnancy and new mom classes, we were finally able to support mamas in the way they deserve to be nurtured.

Looking back, it was quite a windy road, but we ended up with the potential to actually fulfill my dream: a (virtual) Mama Circle in every neighborhood!

Jessica Jennings, founder Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond

Ma Yoga for Pregnancy Motherhood & Beyond Certifies Teachers Everywhere

I had been offering a weekend prenatal training since 2006, and in 2012 I started the 85-hour, Yoga Alliance-registered Ma Yoga Prenatal Certification Program (RPYT).

I was permitted to do half of it online – and I loved that part!

Mayurveda: an Ayurveda Training for Women online allowed us to explore the daily rhythms, food-as-medicine routines and self-care practices for busy women, without cramming all the info into a weekend. 

And The Yoga of Birth becaome a wonderfully healing experience for busy new moms to talk about their birth and get support for whatever still felt unresolved.

When quarantine happened, Yoga Alliance allowed the whole training to move online.

The Yoga of Pregnancy, the 3-week prenatal training, became accessible, affordable and easy to do for women in states that told me they had zero prenatal yoga.

And The Yoga of Healing – the therapeutics module – was even better when we could slow down, and take on simple ache or pain a day.

Plus, we included a Ma Mentorship so we could get people started online teaching with us right away!

I believe that Ma Yoga Certified teachers have the most expertese in theapeutic, alignment-based, transformative prenatal yoga and are also the most nurturing of any teachers anywhere.

When you try a free yoga for pregnancy or postpartum class, it’s so different from doing a video on Youtube.

You’re connecting with someone who is dedicated to helping women have an empowering journey to motherhood and beyond.

She’s a coach, a healer, and a friend all in one. a truly expert and empathetic teacher, coach and friend who will support you throughout your whole journey to  motherhood and beyond!

prenatal yoga certification - yoga for pregnancy teachers

Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond Becomes a "Kula"

A “kula” in Sanskrit is a community of the heart. I always wanted Ma Yoga to be a kula, but all of our teachers were spread out everywhere, super busy, and we rarely saw each other.

Now, we can hop in to each other’s classes, gather and support each other easily – and share with our students in online support groups.

Our Certified Ma Yoga Intructors, Birth Practitioners, lifestyle educators and of course our moms and moms-to-be are truly a kula (community of the heart) who offer yoga, education and support in birth classes, mom support and yoga, and prenatal yoga online.

I am so honored to be part of this community of the heart that comes together to make the world a better place, one mama at a time.

Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond postpartum support

The "Ma" in Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond Today

Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond is based in the idea that with the right kind of guidance and support, we can learn to change the challenges of this journey into opportunities to step into our highest, most powerful, wise and nurturing “Ma” Self.

The “Ma” in Ma Yoga means mother in just about every language, such as:

  • Mandarin Chinese: Mãma
  • Hindustani: Māṃ
  • Spanish: Madre or mamá
  • Arabic: Māma
  • Russian: мама
  • Bengali: Mā

In Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga, “ma” also means the highest, most powerful and wise – as in “Ma Kali”, the mother of all goddesses.

Put it together and you understand what Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond is up to in the world.

It’s not only about becoming a mother to a baby.

It’s about learning to mother yourself.

When you allow yourself to be guided and supported, when you slow down and listen inward in a loving way, when you incorporate true self-care into your busy life – you begin to step into your feminine wisdom and power, and co-create a life that reflects your greatest possibilities.

You become a powerful co-creator, whether you’re gestating a baby, a vision, or a new way of showing up for the people and projects you love.

We can’t wait to support you on your “Ma” journey!’

Free ebook

The Yoga of Pregnancy

Discover the do’s and don’ts, how to safely adjust regular poses and the amazing benefits of prenatal yoga.