I gave birth to my daughter Eveline 5 weeks ago and my weekly visits to PYC for prenatal yoga plus the workshops I took (Childbirth Education, Caring for a Newborn, Parter Yoga and Massage) were instrumental in supporting me physically, mentally, and emotionally through my pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the first few weeks of motherhood. The yoga itself helped me feel physically strong and relaxed throughout my pregnancy and that strength has carried through and made my recovery smoother and easier than I expected. More importantly, the ready accessibility of the tools that were reinforced through each yoga class and workshop has kept me balanced and allowed me to take each moment as it comes. Although I said I was open and accepting to however my labor and delivery happened, I hoped for as natural an experience as possible, but my baby and body had other plans leading me to a scheduled induction and ultimately an emergency c-section. Even though my plans of laboring primarily at home, using my birthing ball, or taking a bath were off the table, because PYC was so inclusive of all types of births in their themes and discussions, I still felt like I had tools available to me. I used meditation music and essential oils during my induction, felt confident in asking questions of the medical team as we gradually escalated the levels of intervention, and returned to my breath every time I felt fear or doubt creep in. Even my husband felt more prepared in supporting me and that he had greater knowledge of what was happening as he had joined me in all of the workshops. Ultimately our daughter arrived healthy and safely and all our "plans" didn't matter. And though I knew how important prenatal yoga had been for me, it was in those first few days of learning to breastfeed when I heard my yoga teacher Caprice in my head saying "relax your shoulders...where are you holding tension that you don't need to be?" that I really realized the depth of that support. Thank you and I look forward to returning for mommy and me classes and hopefully future pregnancies!
This is partially due to the bright, clean, and warm environment, but mostly do to Deb's caring, calm, and welcoming personality. At the beginning of every class Deb goes around the room asking everybody how they feel and if they have anything they want to work on (i.e. stretching, back pain, sciatica,etc.)-she really gets you to connect with your body, your baby and with the people around you. I have found her classes to be both physically and emotionally gratifying-you always leave her studio feeling good. The breathing exercises, and meditation I learned in Deb's prenatal yoga class helped me get through my second natural labor experience-thank you Deb-and I'm planning on using it to get through this pregnancy.
I had an atypical birth, meaning that my water broke before i had contractions. Hence, I experienced intense contractions, which began at once and were every 1-2 minutes (at Mt. Sinai Hospital I was told it's 10 times more painful than if you have contractions prior to the water brake). Thanks to the prenatal yoga classes I took I remembered to use my voice and breathing, which were great skills to have at that time. Also, I felt overall in control and connected to my body. And finally, I had a sense that i can do it and that my body can go through the pain. As a result, I was able to handle the pain for a few hours before asking for the epidoral without feeling so overwhelmed. Eventually, after 12 hours, and two hours of hard pushing, I saw a little head and next thing I had my baby lying on my belly. Thank you and all my other instructors for helping me have such a positive and rewarding experience,
Not only did the pre-natal class give me a great total body workout, but I actually stretched and toned areas of my body I had never worked before. I also truly believe that the class helped me to quickly lose all the weight after the birth of my daughter. In addition to the great workout, the emotional support offered in the classes is unsurpassed. Just when I thought my physical "ailment du jour" was the most unusual (or embarrassing) thing in the world, I discovered from my classmates and the instructor that it was really quite common, along with different remedies others used to deal with the indelicate issue. As a result of attending the classes throughout my pregnancy, I also formed a handful of very close friends who are now my favorite "mommie-friends" for playdates for the kids. The most important thing, however, that I took away from the class was what I was able to incorporate into my birthing experience. As a complete pain-wimp, I had no doubt in my mind that I would opt for an epidural as soon as I got to the hospital (if not sooner.) Nonetheless, the abdominal techniques I learned in class were invaluable during my very long 3.5 hour pushing marathon. Everything I learned in LaMaz during the adventure was but a scant memory after the one hour mark, but strangely enough, I felt like Deb was right there in the room with me as I visualized the abdominal exercises we had done in class right up until my daughter was finally born. If all of the above doesn't persuade you that pre-natal yoga is an essential pregnancy accessory, you may want to consider the following: During my first pregnancy, I swore I would NEVER, EVER get pregnant again and go through nine-ten months of nausea, heartburn and other less-than-amusing side-effects of pregnancy, yet here I am, back at pre-natal yoga for round #2!"
I can honestly say that the techniques I learned helped tremendously during a very long delivery - both physically and mentally. I also firmly believe they helped me get back into shape quickly after my daughter was born. While I had more time for "myself" with my first pregnancy, I am definitely making prenatal yoga a priority with number 2 on the way. Thanks to Deb and her staff for a truly beneficial program!
The Prenatal Yoga Center is an incredibly special place. Yes, it's a beautiful, bright space, but what's more important is the warmth and care that I have felt from day one. I had a challenging pregnancy - my daughter has a limb difference that was diagnosed prenatally, which was a scary and stressful experience. The Prenatal Yoga Center has been a refuge of serenity that gives me the chance to focus on loving my baby. It's hard to convey in words the appreciation I feel for Deb and Jane, who have always provided loving support and acceptance for both of us! When I was in labor, it was Deb's voice from prenatal yoga that I heard in my head: "Breathe in to open your heart." Mommy & Me Yoga has been a different experience, but what I have appreciated the most is Jane's insistence that tuning into our babies' needs - whatever they may be at any moment - is part of the practice of yoga. I have spent many a class nursing my baby for (at least) half the time, and though I might not always get to all of the poses, I love simply being back in an environment that I found so soothing during pregnancy and one in which I feel completely supported as a nursing mother. It is hard to imagine someone more passionate about helping moms and babies than Deb. Rather than taking a stance of defending her own turf and limiting the Center's focus to yoga, she constantly seeks out ways to broaden and enrich the experiences of the moms and babies she serves. She makes information and resources available at every opportunity - from music to massage to money management to babywearing, the Prenatal Yoga Center is always much, much more than prenatal yoga. It is a growing community resource that is becoming an epicenter of support for parents in NYC.
I enjoyed every prenatal class, going weekly, and even working my work schedule around my classes to ensure I wouldn't miss any. I always felt great during and after class, feeling so connected to my body and my growing baby. I felt it lessened my fear of labor and really helped me enjoy the moment of being pregnant. After Jackson was born I really missed my yoga classes and was so relieved at the easy transition into the mommy and me and postnatal classes. Your center really was an integral part of such a great time in my life and for that I owe you a very big Thank you. My biggest worry right now is with my moving out of Manhattan how am I ever going to have another child without the prenatal yoga center - I might just have to commute in when the time comes." Thanks again,
In the last few days I noticed that I feel very strong physically andemotionally, as well as extremely focused and clear about my workevery time I leave your yoga classes. I have decided to make it part of my 'work schedule' as it helps me bepeaceful and extremely productive as well as being gentler to otherpeople. Thanks so much for creating such a wonderful haven! Until very soon,
Thank you for being such a support during such a critical time. Not only did I enjoy and benefit from yoga classes (before and after), but it really went way beyond that. As you may remember, I took a lot of the other offerings with you: Childbirth, Breastfeeding, CPR, Support Grp. etc. I thought these were great classes with excellent instructors. You have built such a great community and I met a lot of women with whom I have become close. Finally, you always gave such great advice/tips and really seemed to care about each person's little ache and pain. If it weren't for your encouragement (and that of Terry Richmond), I would not have has such a wonderful birth (after changing hospitals and OB's). Overall, it was a very nurturing, fun, empowering experience where I also learned a great deal. Thank you again for everything. I miss you and the classes and I can't wait to get pregnant again so I can come back! Warmest regards,
I believe that both of these characteristics helped me achieve the natural birth that I hoped for and I know that your classes helped to strengthen my ability to maintain focus and a sense of calm. Thanks again. Hopefully I'll see you soon for Mommy and Me classes! Best Regards,
All your programs were invaluable and I made some really great friends there! I know many other new moms who feel the same. You should feel really proud of what you're doing there! In a city as big as NYC, it's great to be part of a community- especially at a time when things can feel overwhelming! Best,
I liked all of your advice about how the pain is purposeful and our bodies are working for us with the pain - all helped me with the psychological aspect of labor. When I had Maeve and opted not to return to work full-time, I was floating out there a bit - didn't know many other moms and wasn't sure how to connect. When Maeve was 11 wks old I began your Mommy & Me yoga classes, as you see - I have reaped the benefits many-fold with great women in my life and many classes at your center. My little family has grown and benefited so much from it all. I love that it is a business run by a woman for women - and the mission is for us to become strong and self-aware in body and mind. I can't thank you enough for an incredible experience in my prenatal yoga classes with you - better than my previous birthing classes anyday. Thank you for all that you do!
My contractions came really fast and I spent the majority of my labor in the wonderful jacuzzi at the birthing center. Deep, low moaning helped me manage contractions through the first hour or so, but then I entered what I describe as a very spiritual zone. Deep breathing and visualizing the image of my 2 grandmothers' and great grandmother who have passed holding me and lifting me up and through each contraction. During those hours I became very quiet and just breathed. It was incredible. Active labor came faster than we all thought and my midwife was so wonderful letting me stay in the jacuzzi until the very last minute. I pushed for an hour and at 10:46 on Thursday 19th our beautiful baby girl Cecily Rose Canzano entered the world! I had the labor experience I was so hoping for which was natural, supportive, beautiful and fast! Shortly after I had Cecily I asked my midwife if she thought my abdominal exercises helped and she said 'most definitely'. She said that I was so strong during pushing, determined and an hour was really fast for my first labor. I also asked her when I should start doing kegels again and she told me to try one right there and I was able to do one. She said to start doing them right away and that it was pretty wonderful that I was able to do one so shortly after the birth. I feel so fortunate to have had such a wonderful experience with my midwife Elizabeth (both Elizabeth and Barbara at CBS Midwifery are so wonderful). Also, I feel so fortunate to have had found the prenatal yoga center. The techniques and exercises in class really helped me manage the pain and be strong during labor. You are such a great instructor and such a beautiful person, Deb. Thank you so much for all of your support and for the peaceful energy you give to all your students. I hope to find a prenatal yoga place and instructor like you in Boston when we decide to have baby #2. Thank you so much for everything and I wish you the very best! much love,
I got an epidural an hour and a half before I began pushing. Before that, I used all the tools I learned at the Prenatal Yoga Center, including deep yoga breathing and aromatherapy. There was no screaming and even when the contractions were so painful, I was able to stay calm (although quite miserable!) I never even yelled at my husband! I tried to push with my abs but I'm not sure what I was pushing with, to be honest! They told me to take deep breaths and hold them while I pushed, so I was definitely "pushing with my face" but the baby came out quickly anyway! Anyway, thank you so much for the past few months of "coaching," you helped get me through the toughest part of my pregnancy and helped prepare me for the labor and delivery. I'll see you in around six weeks for post-natal yoga!
The techniques you taught were invaluable. Knowing what to expect was so comforting throughout the process. In fact, I was able to push the baby out with only 3 pushes because of your focus on abdominal conditioning. The doctor and nurses were amazed at how quickly I was able to do it – they said it normally took a lot longer! I felt such a sense of accomplishment and, after 10 months of waiting for the baby, there no better feeling than to have the process go quickly and smoothly. I will attach a photo of Catherine. I could not be more thankful to you for providing me with the skills I needed to have a successful labor and delivery. I’ll be back again next time! My wishes for a wonderful labor and enjoy every moment with your new baby. Fondly,
As you may remember, I had to have a C-section, much against my wishes, because my baby was breech. We also found out, during delivery, that he had the cord around his neck so its a good thing we went with the C. Not to say you can't come out vaginally with the cord around your neck - I was born at home with the cord around my neck - but I think with him being breech it was the safest thing. ANYWAY, what I want to say, and I invite you to share with your classes, is this: In class you often talk about how you don't know what labor and delivery are going to bring. And although I had a planned C-section, so much of what I prepared for still mattered. I used breathing techniques before and during the surgery to help me stay present, calm and in my body despite the spinal. I know, for a fact, this helped me feel more like the delivery was mine. I was so afraid that the C wouldn't feel like I really *had* the baby, but because I was able to stay present and feel him coming out of me, I was able to connect with my delivery and still feel like I had a real labor experience. Also, we can't underestimate the help yoga has on recovery. All the nurses were blown away with how quickly my recovery progressed. I was up and about the day after the C and my body was doing all its normal functions by the following day. Of course its a long road, but I do feel that coming into the surgery in good condition really helps. Now, as I await my 6-week appointment, I'm trying to incorporate some simple stretches into my day to continue to feel in-my-body and not just like a milk cow! Can't wait to get back to real physical activity and work-outs. So here's a couple pictures of little Jackson Wilfred Heilbut. He was born on 6/17 at 7:59 am at Lenox Hill Hospital. He was 6lbs 14ozs (not exactly the 7.5 they predicted!) and 20.25 inches. All the best and I'll see you soon in postnatal!
During the last class I went to before I went into labor (I ended up being 8 days overdue), Deb had us doing mock contractions. After a couple we discussed what we might find useful to distract us from the pain of childbirth during that one minute. Frances would often have us try sighing or rubbing out fingers over our thighs. I remember during that last class Deb saying that we might choose to use mantras during labor as a way to get us through the contractions. Most importantly, Deb said that we should remind ourselves that we can do anything for one minute. Labor is just a series of one-minute challenges. This was an incredibly inspirational and empowering concept for me during my labor. As the contractions intensified, I just kept repeating the mantra, "I can do anything for one minute, one minute." Without that piece of mind, I'm not sure I could have achieved the natural labor that I wanted. In a nutshell, I was able to labor at home for a long time using the yoga breathing and that particular mantra, got to the hospital at 1PM and gave birth at 3PM to a beautiful baby boy named Emmitt. Many thanks to the Center for all the encouragement, physical and emotional, in helping me achieve a truly positive birth experience. I never would have guessed I would find myself chanting through labor, but it worked! Sincerely,
I can't tell you how many times I used the breathing and relaxation techniques when I couldn't fall asleep at night, or even when I was feeling stressed about something at work. I had a lot of anxiety about the birth, but your class gave me confidence that I could handle it and that I would be prepared to roll with whatever ended up happening. In addition, it was so wonderful to be part of a community of supportive women who were all expecting. We're all home now and settling into the rhythm of our new life nicely. Darren is breastfeeding well (he tries to nurse from anyone who holds him in a cradle position, including my husband!), and he has an incredibly sweet and mellow temperament (at least so far!). I will definitely be back for Mommy & Me and/or postnatal yoga when I get the clear from my doctor, and I may show up for the breastfeeding support group as well. Thanks again, Deb, for the wonderful classes and all the resources the Prenatal Yoga Center offers. All my best to you and the other expectant moms from the Tuesday night class-