Before Ma Yoga for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond...
Hi I’m Jessica. I started yoga in 1997 to relieve really bad neck and back pain.
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!
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!
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!
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…
Below is a video one of our students made for us! So sweet…