Supported Birth Covid Update: We are holding in-person classes (5 couples max).
Serving the Greater Los Angeles area
Serving the Greater Los Angeles area


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by Jessica Jennings Ma Yoga

As a brand new prenatal yoga teacher, I knew nothing about pregnancy (except of course the basics), and all I can think of is how beautiful these women are, how full of Shakti – radiant, powerful, wise feminine goddess energy.

I tell them in my introduction: you have everything you need within you. You ARE the goddess. Enjoy every moment of creating this little life within you.

And… they look at me like I’ve gone batshit crazy.

Over the next year, I learned that pregnancy is not the sweet journey full of baby kicks and painting nurseries I’d always imagined:

  • They’re exhausted. Sleep is hard because they can’t find a good position and they’re peeing all the time. Their energy is going to make this baby and they’re pumping 1 1/2 times the normal amount of blood.
  • They’re anxious. Pregnancy brings so many all-too-real worries: Am I eating too much? Not enough? Did I cause damage when I got my toes done, and I was around all those fumes? How will I handle the pain of birth? Will my baby be ok? How will I handle it if something doesn’t go right? Will I be an ok mom?
  • They’re uncomfortable. Their bodies change day-to-day – even moment to moment. The pregnancy hormones relaxin and progesterone cause every joint in the body to destabilize (not just the one in the front of the pelvis that allows the baby’s head to squeeze out, thankfully). Wrist pain, back pain, shoulder pain, and knee pain are common for the mamas, on top of the baby moving organs and bones around and pressing into things that do not feel like they’re supposed to be pressed.

So, I figure I’ll give them some therapeutic yoga.

“Who has wrist pain?” We’d work on breath and shoulder blades and it helped relieve their pain. The alignment principles I’d learned still very much applied to the pregnant body – and were even more necessary because their bodies were moving out of alignment all the time.

It wasn’t until a couple years later that I stopped looking at pregnancy as either a beautiful Shakti-filled experience or an annoying problem that would someday go away.

But I couldn’t help but wonder…


I began to take a deeper look at the journey of the mamas in my class.

Some started coming to class as soon as they found out, others when they could pry themselves up off the couch after the hormone storm of the first trimester – full of fear.

They were, in yoga terms, in their “small self” – that part of us that says we are not enough. We’re not doing enough; we’re not strong enough, we’re not smart or kind or good enough.

By the time they left class, they were different. There was a vibe of confidence, groundedness, and readiness. And when they came back with their babies, they were in their feminine power.

I wondered, what caused this transformation? 


On the surface, we’d done a lot of poses, became stronger and more open, and shared the ups and downs of our transition to motherhood.

But underneath, the mamas had been constantly connecting to something through their breath. They made space for it, aligned with its flow, and created a strong container for it.

That thing within is called prana in yoga, often defined as a “life force.”

Prana is Consciousness + breath, or “the invisible forces that nourish the physical body.” Prana is energy, nature, or god, or however you choose to describe whatever beats your heart and breathes your breath when you’re not even noticing. This life force energy is everywhere – it is nature itself – and when it’s in our body, it’s called prana.

Prana has three main qualities:

It’s intelligent. The body is full of hundreds of thousands of the smartest systems we know of, talking to each other, working together – even stepping in for each other, knowing how to work as a team, how to adjust for any situation to support life – and how to create life.

We can tap into this deep wisdom to sense our next steps, to feel which choice moving forward will be right for us, and to intuit what our body needs.

It’s powerful.  We use it to various degrees on the mat whenever we connect to our intention – our heart’s most profound longings – and we find ourselves able to do poses we couldn’t do before or deeper than we ever thought we could.

It’s nurturing. We are constantly being nurtured by the universe.  The gentle opening up of space around our lungs allows breath to flow in, whether we’re paying attention or not. The movement of prana throughout the body, bringing the goods and taking the waste. The hugging of our fascia and muscles for support.

Prana is all around us. The sun warms us on the beach. Water cools our feet. The sand beneath us holds us so we can settle into the earth’s embrace. The space and the gentle breeze help us feel free and playful.

And people are of course nature as well: when people gather together with an intention to align with their highest Self, connected to their true, authentic goodness, we feel nurtured just being in that room.  


Many pregnant women choose to slow down. To step away a little bit from the fray, even if they’re working. They listen inward in a whole new way, and they begin to honor what they hear.

Instead of our usual endless to-do lists and high-achieving non-stop “I got this” attitude, some women begin to cut themselves a break. Nap in the middle of a Saturday? OK. Eat what my body is asking for. Yes. Learn to move and breathe to make space. Sure, let’s do it.

And when they learn to listen inward, they are learning a new skill: how to turn nurturing energy inward. The pranic quality of nurturing energy is what opens the door to the other two, wisdom and power.

The moms-to-be hadn’t just done poses and shared some laughs. Many had learned how to take care of themselves, to “mother” themselves.

Why? Instinctively we know when we’re pregnant that taking care of ourselves means taking care of the baby. 

The mamas had learned to step away from focusing on achieving and instead focus more on being kind to themselves, getting to know themselves anew in each moment, and doing it all in a nurturing environment.

They learned not to compare themselves to others because every pregnancy is unique. They learned that it’s ok to be a work in progress, to not know or be certain about anything, and to let things unfold.

They learned not to berate themselves for having fear, frustration, or doubt or whatever was coming up for them, but to feel the feelings so they could flow through and then they’d find a new place.

We can step into nurturing energy anytime. We can slow down, step back, sit quietly and receive our breath deeply, take a hot bath, go for a walk, and do yoga.

Generally, when you do this, you’re going against the grain of society, always pushing us forward to do, do, do.

But when we’re pregnant, we have societal backing for this. People understand if we’re less productive if we need more rest.   Lots of OB/GYNs recommend yoga and many women take the opportunity when they’re pregnant to try yoga for the first time. They just feel called to slow down and pay attention to their body’s needs. Prenatal teachers can help women learn to relieve aches and pains, get stronger and more flexible, and prepare for labor and postpartum.

The ability to receive nurturing energy as a depleted, exhausted new moms can be life-changing.  

Pregnancy is an amazing opportunity for moms-to-be to learn self-care practices and principles – not just because it helps them step into their power and wisdom but also because it prepares them for what’s to come.