Meet Kat Blandino, Yoga People’s lovely new Prenatal yoga teacher + Top 8 Reasons why Prenatal Yoga is amazing for moms-to-be!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of sitting down for tea at Vineapple with Kat Blandino, a Brooklyn Heights mom and Yoga People prenatal yoga teacher.
Kat became impassioned about teaching prenatal yoga after witnessing the transformative ability of yoga during her own pregnancy, birth and early years of mothering.
Kat is originally from London and has a sweet and nurturing aura. She is immediately one of those teachers that you can just feel comfortable around. I could get swept away by her voice and could have tea with her for hours!
So you’re right down the street from Yoga People? How nice!
Yes, I live in North Brooklyn Heights with my husband and son Luca, who turned 3 at the end of last year. I love being teaching and living in the same neighborhood, there’s such a sense of community which is really important when raising children and its great being able to walk to ‘work’!
Did you practice prenatal yoga when you were pregnant with Luca?
Yes! I started practicing yoga years before I became a mother but the importance of the practice in my life was solidified when I became pregnant. We had recently moved to California and all my friends and family were back on the East coast and in the UK. It was within the prenatal yoga community and later in my postnatal/mommy and me classes that I found my support group and deep friendships that guided me through the joys, frustrations, worries and everything in between that you experience as a new mother! Community is such a wonderful part of the prenatal journey and I love seeing bonds being made in my classes. I credit prenatal yoga to being able to enjoy a pretty much aches and pains free pregnancy and prepare me for birth.
So you think prenatal yoga helped with your birth too?
No doubt! it was by practicing prenatal yoga that I developed not only the physical strength and stamina but more importantly the understanding of how to surrender and soften. I felt so connected to my body and to my baby that was able to work WITH my body to birth my baby. I gained a better understanding of myself and how to listen to that inner voice and trust my instincts. In the end I was able to have the birth I had hoped for – a water birth at home.
and then you decided to teach yoga?
Exactly! I took my 200 hour yoga teach training after Luca was born and then went on to take the 85 hour Yoga Alliance Prenatal teacher training and the advanced 500 hour training! I am very passionate and dedicated to offering every mother-to-be a yoga practice that builds the confidence, strength and ‘tools’ to have a pregnancy and to birth in the way THEY want to. There is no one size fits all, right or wrong way when it comes to pregnancy and birth, it is a highly individualized journey. What matters most is that the mother is able to connect to herself and baby, be healthy and feel confident to voice her desires and wishes. As we know we can have the best laid plans but baby and birth can take us in a whole other direction! and that’s the other great thing about yoga, it aids you having the ability to be adapt when things change, and to stay calm and centered amongst changing circumstances.
What can moms-to-be expect from your class?
My intention is always to provide students with a warm, welcoming and sacred space to focus on their pregnancy in a deeper way. Creating the space and time needed to adjust to the changes taking place, bond with baby and celebrate themselves. The asanas, breathing practices and deep relaxation techniques in my classes are designed to alleviate the physical discomforts of pregnancy, understand emotional ups and downs and prepare the body and mind for pregnancy, birth and beyond. Pregnancy can be exhausting, overwhelming and a hormonal roller coaster as well as a time of excitement and joy. I want women to be able to come to the mat with whatever they are experiencing that day and feel supported and loved. In short ,I want my students to leave class feeling really good!
Kat’s top 8 reasons why prenatal yoga is so important for a smooth pregnancy.
1. Really learn to let go! The breathing techniques and asanas we practice tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, (the opposite of the fight or flight feeling) which helps smooth out the emotional roller coaster of pregnancy AND aid in more restful sleep for when that snoogle body pillow just isn’t cutting it anymore!
2. Prenatal yoga helps to relieve the general aches and discomforts of pregnancy. Shoulders, back and hips hurting? That pregnancy waddle setting in? We’ll take care of that! Good posture = good pregnancy.
3. Prenatal yoga improves circulation, gets the muscles working effectively which helps to avoid varicose veins, hemorrhoids and fluid retention. Puffy ankles be gone!
4. Prenatal yoga creates a mama community, not only important during pregnancy but in those early weeks and months after birth too, having a sisterhood of support helps reduce the baby blues.
5. Prenatal yoga creates a scared space to bond with baby and nurture yourself. In general we need to slow down and create space, especially as New Yorkers. Catching up on your Netflix shows with a bag of popcorn doesn’t count! Prenatal yoga is solely about honoring yourself, your growing baby and your pregnancy journey together.
6. Prenatal yoga helps mamas prepare for the big BIRTH DAY by increasing stamina and strength, it’s called labor for a reason. And just as importantly, your time on the mat will help unveil a deeper understanding of the self including any fears or doubts. Knowing the self more fully and dealing with these fears before birth can help avoid having them arise during labor and inhibit the birth process.
7. Prenatal yoga teaches pregnancy-safe modifications for your yoga practice. Some mothers-to-be still want to go to their regular yoga class and/or continue a home practice, prenatal yoga will give you knowledge of how to safely do that.
8. Know thy Pelvic floor! I can’t stress how important that is not only for birth and labor but long term health.
Anything else you would like to add?
I am so excited to be a part of the Yoga People team and to join YP’s existing yoga teacher and my friend Tymaree to expand the offering of prenatal yoga within the community. I look forward to meeting all the mamas on the mat!