How did you first get interested in yoga? I became interested in yoga only after recommendation by my chiropractor. He had been treating me 1 to 2 times per week to help me relieve my on-going back pain, which I had been suffering from for many years due to a major car accident. Working in an office where I worked many hours sitting in front of the computer aggravated my back. I did not know much about yoga at the time and my impression was that it was for ‘Senior Citizens.’ Now I know better!
What change has yoga made in your life? Immediately, the change I noticed because of practicing yoga was reduced back pain and shoulder tension. As I began practicing yoga (as physical therapy) I also noticed that it relieved my overall stress and tension. Yoga soon became food for my soul.
What inspired you to begin teaching yoga to others? Believe it or not, I became inspired to teach yoga to others after my pregnancy and childbirth experience. I managed 26 out of 27 hours of labor completely without pain medication! I used my breath, movement, and the mantra Om to get me through. I owed that all to my yoga practice. The experience left me empowered and I soon wanted to teach the tool to other women.
How would you describe your teaching style? Ha ha! I always comment that I was a dancer before I was a yogi so my teaching style tends to be fluid with lots of movement, often choreographed so harmoniously with the music. My teaching style is light, funny but direct. I think the students appreciate my authenticity and candid approach to explaining yoga, pregnancy, and birth. There is also a very strong maternal component to my teaching which encourages students to move beyond their mental limitations.
What could a woman coming to one of your Mommy & Baby classes expect? The mommy & baby yoga class I teach at YogaWorks are strongly based on building community and support. The women learn to restore their bodies after childbirth all while having great fun with their baby. We do baby yoga via incorporating movements with nursery rhymes. At every class we laugh, dance and sing! Mothers can expect to leave my class invigorated and while at the same time their babies are ready for deep sleep.
What kind of benefits do infants get from yoga with their mother? Babies enjoy connecting with their mothers by gentle touch, movement, and breath. The movement from the yoga class stimulates the baby’s vestibular system and also calms their nervous system. In essence, babies who do yoga with their moms are well-prepped to become baby Einsteins!
What advice do you give to pregnant women who wish to continue practicing yoga? Keep practicing! In most cases, a healthy pregnant woman can continue practicing pregnancy yoga until she begins labor. As a general rule, I recommend that even a strong yogi who is pregnant and still practicing her regular yoga, might consider switching to pregnancy yoga from month 6. The reason for this is that in a regular yoga class, pregnant women will be required to modify much of their practice. Plus, the skills and poses they learn in pregnancy yoga specifically, prepares women for childbirth. A regular Hatha Level 1 and 2 class, for example, does not accomplish this goal.
What importance do you place on making choices to eat organic food and buy organic clothing and household goods when possible? A pregnant woman’s immune system is more fragile. Not only that, whatever mom eats, drinks, and wears on her skin does transfer to the baby in utero. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has spoken about ‘toxic babies.’ By the time the baby is born, she/he is born with up to 200 toxins found in their blood! Natural, pure, and whole is always best. Check out this video with Dr. Gupta.
What was the most memorable experience you’ve had as a yoga teacher? Wow. Tough question since every day I leave my yoga classes I am left with memories that stay with me like gems, always. One particular case was when I taught yoga for Seniors in England. There was a student who had practiced yoga for many years. I had noticed her standing with her back towards me with a fully erect spine and excellent posture! She was 82 years old! The vision of her inspires me to keep practicing yoga.
What advice would you give to someone who is totally new to yoga? I would encourage new students to start slow and gentle. Be patient and kind to your body. Yoga will meet you where you are at and in time you will notice positive changes.
Patricia Grube is a certified Pre/Post-Natal Yoga instructor who teaches classes at YogaWorks in Los Angeles. Patricia developed the YogaWorks Teacher Training program for Postnatal and Mommy & Baby yoga. Additionally, she is a childbirth educator and birth doula and recently published the new book “Posh Push: Modern Girls Reveal Secrets for a More Natural Birth” now available on Amazon.com. Follow Patricia on Twitter: @SerenityBirth1