Prenatal Yoga Classes

Parent Q&A

Outdoor prenatal yoga in the Berkeley area? Aug 11, 2020 (1 responses below)
Any outdoor prenatal yoga classes? Jun 19, 2020 (2 responses below)
  • Hello! I'm looking for an outdoor prenatal yoga class in the Berkeley area. I just moved to the area and am at the beginning of my second trimester. Open to great classes on Zoom, too. (For context, I've been practicing for nearly 15 years, so classes geared toward people with experience would be ideal, but any and all recommendations would be much appreciated.)

    Thank you!

    Moderator Note: Here are replies to the same question asked in June:

    Green Yogi in Berkeley is doing outdoor classes with Julie Anne. I did prenatal yoga with her for both of my pregnancies. Highly recommend her!

  • Any outdoor prenatal yoga classes?

    (2 replies)

    I’m looking for a regular prenatal yoga class to join in this post-covid world. I’d prefer an in person class that meets in an outside space like a park. I’d consider one that meets on zoom/online. Are there any prenatal yoga classes like this? I’d prefer one in Berkeley. 
    I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant, third baby. 


    I did with Carol, my entire pregnancy and my delivery was success with a practice yoga. She teaching online via Skype or zoom and she is doula too. She is amazing. 

    send a message or I can give too you a phone number.

    Hi.  I'm 35 weeks along with my first baby and have been taking pre-natal yoga for the past 4 months or so.  I don't know about outdoor classes but I've been taking pre-natal yoga at the Family Room in Albany (and it is on zoom for now) with instructor Julia Ann Stathis.  She is a doula and it has been great.  She also teaches pre-natal at the Green Yogi in Berkeley on Sunday mornings and that class is also currently on zoom.  I was taking some pre-natal yoga classes at the Berkeley Y before COVID but those are discontinued. 

    Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Prenatal yoga in the Berkeley, El Cerrito, or Oakland areas

May 2014

My wife is interested in taking up yoga or some other low impact activity, other than walking, now that her pregnancy has made it difficult to jog and do other more active activities. She's specifically looking for a class which specializes in expecting mothers. She'd like to find a place in the Berkeley, El Cerrito, or Oakland areas were she can learn pregnancy safe activities and meet other women who are also going through their own pregnancies. Mike

Ojas Yoga Center at the El Cerrito Plaza (on second floor on Trader Joes side) has a wonderful, warm, and inclusive prenatal yoga class on Saturdays at 11:00. moondeva

have her try Cynthea Denise's yoga classes. they were huge for me when I was pregnant. cheers! Kathleen

For Mike who asked about classes for his wife-I took prenatal yoga through the Namaste studio in Berkeley and I really enjoyed it and they have postnatal classes as well. The studio on fourth street in Berkeley and Ojas in El Cerrito also offer prenatal yoga classes. She might also want to consider belly dancing or a dancing for birth class. As for prenatal exercise, I highly recommend Karen Casino in South Berkeley--it's a small class size so it almost feels like a private lesson! Expect to do kegels, abdominal strengthening exercises, squats, exercises using bands and some Pilates as well. I started her classes at the beginning of my second trimester and I think they really helped me through labor as well as to regain my shape postpartum. She also offers a new mothers workout complete with a baby sitter!, 510-644-2066 Rachael

Barefoot Movement in Uptown Oakland has some terrific prenatal yoga classes. They tend to be very gentle, though if you want a bit more of a workout (like I did), they also have some ''Level 1, prenatal ok'' classes. The studio is also really low-key and friendly, which I appreciated, having never really done yoga before I got pregnant. Anon

I tried out a bunch of different prenatal yoga classes, and I think you just have to see what style of instruction clicks with you. I highly recommend Deborah Saliby's classes if you like not a lot of touchy feely discussion and a real serious Hatha/Iyengar style yoga session. She is one of the best yoga teachers I've had, prenatal or no. She's very attentive to everyone's different bodies and needs - she noticed my asymmetrical back in a huge class, which no other yoga teacher has done. And she has a lot of great birth prep advice. She was teaching at both Namaste in Berkeley and another studio, check her website for current classes. - great birthing through yoga

There is an excellent prenatal yoga class at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center itself. It is on Monday evenings. The cost is $65 and it includes six 1.5 h sessions. No kids allowed. There is one going on right now. Next session starts in only September. To register you have to go through the parental education. Here is the description provided by their website: Each class includes yoga, labor positions, breathing exercises, deep relaxation, and support. Whole Birth Yoga is a safe pregnancy exercise that is beneficial to all women at all stages of pregnancy. No experience necessary. Victoria

I highly recommend Karen Casino's Pregnancy Workout. Unlike other prenatal exercise classes I took, this isn't just modified to be safe for pregnant women. Karen actually built the workout from scratch with pregnancy and labor in mind. There are exercises and stretches to help with your aching back, your wonky hips, and the all-important pelvic floor and abdominals. Karen is really knowledgeable about anatomy and stays on top of the latest research. She also really cares about her students and assesses if you have any misalignments. I really believe that Karen's class helped me have an easier labor and get my waist back quickly. When I was taking the classes in 2013, it was $150 for 10 classes. You can see more info at Naomi

Cynthea Denise Pre-Natal Yoga class recommendation

Dec 2012

I have been attending this class for the past few months of my pregnancy and I am so happy I started. I have a desk job and commute so I needed to get in touch with my body, but I got so much more from the class. Great advice, focus on my needs, a chance to connect to other mothers and a resource for other services within the community. Cynthea is an excellent teacher and I could not have gotten through my last few months without her support and class. Brandy

Cynthea is so wonderful. I loved her pre-natal yoga classes and I've been enjoying her mama and baby class too. Cynthea is all about supporting mamas and families and finding our strength and connecting with our little ones. I feel stronger and more grounded after every class. Mariah

Prenatal Yoga for a Transplant

Nov 2011

Hi BPN, I just moved to Oakland from Minneapolis this week and am 20 weeks pregnant with my first child. We moved here for my husband's job so I would love to find a yoga community to help me start feeling grounded and in a routine as I settle into our new home. Prenatal yoga classes would be great as baby is definitely starting to make itself known, but great Vinyasa Flow studios/classes/teachers with knowledge about prenatal modifications work for me too. I'm coming from a studio that emphasized whole body health and energy work, not just the physical elements of yoga, and would love to find a community with a similar philosophy. We're living in Adams Point, but I'm willing to travel around the East Bay for the right class. Thanks for your recommendations and look forward to seeing you in class! Blythe

I absolutely love Seventh Heaven Yoga in Berkeley. They have a good variety of classes including pre-natal. I took Deborah's Wednesday evening pre-natal class when I was pregnant. I now take an Ashtanga Flow class on Tuesday evenings. The Ashtanga flow is a bit different from Vinyassa flow, but I have come to absolutely love it. The Ashtanga flow class that I attend is offered on Tues, Wed, and Thurs evenings with Ava Roy. We've had several pregnant ladies in our classes as the Pre-Natal yoga class is much slower paced. Fellow Yoga Mom

Prenatal yoga with childcare?

Aug 2011

Anyone know any pre-natal yoga classes in Oakland or Berkeley that offer child care?
Want to do prenatal but can't ditch the kid

Cynthea Denise is a great prenatal yoga teacher. Her Wednesday morning mom & baby class at Monkey Yoga Shala in Oakland welcomes toddlers as well. Even with your toddler present you get a lot of yoga in. It's fun! anon

Which yoga is the best fit during pregnancy?

April 2011

Curious about which yoga classes/styles may be best fit during pregnancy... mama to be

7th Heaven Yoga with Debra Saliby. I completely enjoyed her class and took them through both of my pregnancies. I dealt with the pain and was so calm during my second labor that I ended up being so comfortable at home and managed my pain so well, I left for the hospital too late and ended up having the baby in the car! I learned so many relaxation techniques and I think my body was just so geared up for it. I would highly recommend these classes. Baby on Board

Check out Cynthea Denise's prenatal yoga classes.

This place has great prenatal yoga classes: I went there last year when I was pregnant, had no prior yoga experience and really enjoyed the teachers and classes. albanymama

I took classes at for the last 6 months of my pregnancy. Saraswati is amazing! She's very knowledgable about women's pregnant bodies & what you should & shouldn't do. She also know a lot about pregnancy nutrition which you'll get tid bits of throughout the class. I always walked out feeling great! I go to postnatal classes now with my 11 week old baby. They ate equally ad great & it's really fun to see mom & babies I did the prenatal classes with. Daphne

Prenatal yoga is a great form of exercise, especially for the last half of pregnancy, but you do need to take special precautions. Because pregnancy hormones relax ligaments and other connective tissues, you want to make sure that you always feel stretches in the belly of your muscles, NOT your joints.

Flow style yoga classes, where the body is moving easily from pose to pose, are ideal. Static standing poses, if done for more that a few minutes, can cause pooling of the blood in in the legs which can cause dizziness and possibly fainting. Since pregnancy continually change the body's center of gravity as your baby grows, one-leg poses should be done with one hand on the wall, or a chair, etc. to prevent loss of balance.

To prevent, or lessen the severity of diastasis recti (abdominal separation) you should not perform spine twists, back bends, and some forms of belly breathing after 20 weeks gestation. NEVER forcefully expand the lower abdomen during inhalation as this places too much strain on the linea alba, the connective tissue that runs down the center of your belly and can cause a diastasis to occur.

All pregnant women should strengthen the deepest abdominal muscle, the Transverse Abdominis, or TvA, to help prevent diastasis recti, back pain, and pelvic instability. Because the TvA is also the major expulsion muscle, building strength in this muscle greatly aids in the pushing phase of labor.

Four, safe TvA exercises for pregnancy can be found on page: All lotus type poses place torque on the lateral ligaments of the ankle and are not advisable during pregnancy. ''Hot'' yoga styles like Bikram classes are also not advisable during pregnancy. BeFit-Mom

Ojas Yoga Center is a wonderful, fairly new, yoga studio in the El Cerrito Plaza run by Nicole Becker. It is located on the second floor, above the GNC store and Trader Joes..........near Gymboree (another resource after your baby arrives). I'm not sure offhand about the times of the prenatal yoga class, but I highly recommend the studio. I take classes from 6 different teachers and love the atmosphere and calm of the studio. or 525-1369. Melissa

I recommend Amanda Nube's classes. She teaches at Yoga Kula in N. Berkeley and elsewhere I think. Her classes are a balanced blend of relaxing and strengthening. I also learned about my body and posture. She has a lot of experience with pregnancy and birth, and her hands-on help was very supportive. Her classes really helped me through my pregnancy. I recommend her. Check out her website is Katherine

Low-key prenatal yoga class?

Jan 2011

I'd love to hear your recent recommendations for a low-key prenatal yoga class for an out-of-shape, 2nd time mama-to-be. I have no big fitness goals, nor do I necessarily need pregnancy and childbirth advice (although fitness and advice/support are nice things), just looking to stretch & relax with also-pregnant company. I'm in North Oakland, so that or adjacent neighborhoods would be ideal. Looking for Moments of Calm in 2nd Tri

Hi, I am 7 months pregnant and just started taking the prenatal yoga classes at YogaMandala on Telegraph at Stuart. I was not looking for a hyperfitness experience, nor a meditation class. I was looking for some good stretching and relaxing with accompanying strengthening. I have liked both instructors here and there are 4 classes offered a week. You can get a very good deal for unlimited prenatal classes for $200 (not as good a deal for me with only 10 weeks left as for you, but pretty good nonetheless). You can also buy a new-student 3-class pass for $30 and trade it up for the full prenatal pass if you decide you like it. That's what I did. Look them up on line for most of the info you need. Good luck. Tasha

I took pre and postnatal (Mom/baby) yoga classes at Mountain Yoga in Montclair. Anja Borgstrom is the teacher for both those classes, among others, and she is great-and low key. The prenatal class I was in had first, second and third time mamas of all shapes/sizes. Give it a try. yoga is my sanity

I would recommend Kat's prenatal class at Yoga Mandala on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley. Kat is terrific, check-in's are quick and the yoga is gentle and for all types. I can't say enough about Kat, she was very in touch and compassionate and always made sure we were doing poses within our individual comfort zone. There was never any pressure to do more, in fact it was geared toward really listening to your body and not over doing anything. I took all my classes with her and just can't say enough how great she was.

Jessica also teaches prenatal classes and is the prenatal director at Yoga Mandala but I do not think from your post that you would benefit from her class. She spends over half the class talking and giving pregnancy and post pregnancy advice and out of the hour and half class you might get a half hour of yoga in. That was not what I went to yoga for so I avoided her classes. Two each her own. anon

Two recommendations for pre-natal yoga (and one for post- natal). In N. Oakland, Yogalayam is great. I went for my 1st pregnancy, but I think would be just as nice for 2nd. Touchy-feely (in a good way) and calming. Check the website for more info. I also enjoyed 7th Heaven in Berkeley on 7th Street near Ashby (so not too far from Oakland...).

For post-natal I HIGHLY recommend Melanie Green's class at Berkeley Yoga Center on Addison & Bonar in Berkeley (near University and Sacramento). That class is fantastic. I went with my 1st and 2nd child. (I see she has pre-natal too, so that would probably also be worth checking out if it fits into your schedule.) Joanne

There are prenatal yoga classes offered at many yoga studios. They also offer yoga classes at Kaiser. I took prenatal yoga classes at Seventh Heaven Yoga ( with Claudia during the last month of my pregnancy and wished I had done it sooner. I would highly recommend going to her classes as she taught me a lot of relaxation and breathing techniques in preparation for labor. I believe my great experience of having an unmedicated birth was attributable to my prenatal yoga practice with her. Miriam

Prenatal yoga recs (El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley)

Dec 2009

Hi there, I'm looking for prenatal yoga recommendations in the El Cerrito/Albany/Berkeley area. Or other prenatal exercise class recommendations are also welcome! Thanks so much, Julia

I am currently almost 9 months pregnant. While I haven't had as much time as I had hoped for prenatal exercise classes, I have heard amazing things about the Berkeley YMCA's prenatal yoga class. For full disclosure, I am the Childwatch program director at the YMCA. In my work, I often hear expecting parents rave about the prenatal offerings at our Y. Most notably, a new mom recently told me that going to the yoga class really helped her during her labor. Between breathing techniques, relaxation, and stretching and body positions, the class was a tremendous resource for her. Personally, I most enjoy our prenatal water classes and have enjoyed meeting other pregnant women due around the same time I am.

In fact, many new parents stay in touch with the women they meet in our prenatal classes. Also, once you have your baby, you may consider your post-natal workout options at our branch. Between swimming, small group personal training, dance classes, yoga, pilates, individual personal training, and much, much more, we have a variety of fitness options. In addition, we have a wonderful childcare program for babies as young as 8 weeks old! We would welcome you and your growing family to our branch and childcare/family programs! For more information about our prenatal classes, please refer to our website, or feel free to contact me directly. Heather

I took the prenatal yoga through Alta Bates. you can find the info on their website. I loved the teacher, she is experienced, a mom herself and very caring. The class is offered in the evening, unlike many classes. So I was able to attend after work. Each class we had a chace to share how we were doing. She integrated music, breathing, and relaxation into the practice to help prepare for labor. In the nice summer days we would sometimes go outside. The class is not too expensive $12 and I looked forwrd to it each week. I am still friends with two women I meet through the class. Sarah Rubenstein

I recommend Cybele Tomlinson's prenatal yoga classes at the Berkeley Yoga Center (in North Berkeley next to Strawberry Creek Park). She is an experienced yoga teacher, mother, and former doula. I went to her classes all through my pregnancy and always left feeling wonderful, both physically and emotionally. Anon

Hands down best yoga studio for moms & families is Yogalayam! They have prenatal, postnatal, children, parent- toddler, yoga for disabilities,and more. Their postnatal class even includes childcare! The director, Saraswathi Devi is amazing. Check out their website or call 510 655 3664: libby

i can highly recommend my regular yoga class which is on sundays at 5 pm at the albany ymca. it is not a prenatal class but i did it the entire time i was pregnant and postpartum and it was great! i actually tried a prenatal class thinking i was missing something not being with other pregnant moms, but i found it quite boring and too slow. it is a level one class but there are mixed level people within the class. the teacher jenni is wonderful and very gentle and intuitive and is currently pregnant herself! she can give you all the modifications to do while pregnant. its at least worth a try to see if you like it! yoga momma

It's not specifically a pre-natal yoga class, but our lovely teacher at the Sunday evening Albany Y yoga class is pregnant herself, and also taught through most of her first pregnancy a few years ago. Her name is Jenny, and it's a great class. You might check it out and see if it would suit you. Yoga lover

Pre-natal classes near San Leandro

Jan 2009

We've recently moved to San Leandro, and I'd like to find a recommended yoga studio with prenatal classes not too far away. South Oakland or even Alameda might be ok, but it would be much easier not to have to drive to Berkeley or Piedmont Ave, etc. Thanks.

There is a terrific pre-natal yoga class at the Alameda Yoga Station ( on Sundays 1:15-2:45! loved my pre-natal yoga class

Is regular yoga OK in early pregnancy?

March 2008

I just found out that I'm pregnant so it's very early on. I've been taking a beginning yoga class for a couple of months now and would like to continue with it. The prenatal yoga classes don't work in my schedule and frankly I can't be in a room full of pregnant women this early on in the pregnancy. I spoke with my instructor who said that until things get uncomfortable that I could continue with all of the poses. This is different advice then what I got from a prenatal yoga teacher at the studio. I asked her the same question and she gave me a very long list of things not to do (inverted poses, abdominal work...). Now I'm afraid I won't be able to enjoy the yoga class I've been taking because in the back of my mind I'll be worried that I could harm the fetus. Any feedback from women who've done non-prenatal yoga early in their pregnancy would be greatly appreciated! Asana or Asa-No? Yes, yoga is totally fine during early pregnancy, as long as you aren't doing the kind in the heated room. And definitely don't stop doing abdominal work yet! If you do, you'll have a sore back by mid-pregnancy, and a much harder recovery. You don't ever actually have to stop doing abdominal exercise per se; as you get into the middle of your pregnancy, the key is to find gentle, safe exercises which keep your abdominal wall strong without having you lie on your back (stop doing that by 5 months, or earlier if it makes you feel light-headed), and without aggravating a diastasis (abdominal wall separation), if you develop one once your baby is big enough to be seriously stretching your abdominal wall. anon

I did yoga, not prenatal yoga, for my entire pregnancy. I did modify once I was uncomfortable -- no crunches, feet hip width apart, on my knees not my belly for things like bow pose -- but my teacher just worked with me and it was totally fine. anon

Regular yoga classed will be fine in early pregnancy. You'll need to start modifying poses when your tummy starts to get in the way. Since you have only been doing yoga for a couple of months, stick with beginner level classes and make sure that you never stretch your ligaments/joints, always stretch the belly of the muscle. Depending on your body type, certain poses might need to be modified to achieve this goal.

As your pregnancy progresses, your posture will begin to change, and all of the curves of your spine will increase. In response, specific muscle groups will tighten; the lower back, front of the chest, neck, hip flexors, and opposing groups will weaken; abdominals, upper back muscles, rotator cuff, glutes. Hopefully your prenatal yoga instructor will give specific exercises that target these adaptations. Simple balance exercises should also be a part of your prenatal program.

While many yoga poses that target the abs are not advisable in the last half of pregnancy, you should keep working the deepest abdominal muscle, your Transverse Abdominis or TvA. This muscle compresses the abdomen. Keeping this muscle strong will help to prevent diastasis recti, and strength in this muscle helps greatly in labor.

Poses that increase the curve in the lower back should be avoided as pregnancy progesses. Never let your belly relax in poses where the abdomen is aligned with the force of gravity, like in cow pose, as this can cause diastasis. You should also avoid all lotus type poses as these supinate the ankle joint and stretch vulnerable ligaments.

You do not need to worry about hurting your developing baby. More info on prental and postpartum fitness and exercise can be found on my web site at Helene

Doing yoga during pregnancy is a very good thing! As for the teachers' comments, both are right: You should be able to continue your usual class at least through the end of the first trimester. (Make sure your teacher knows you are pregnant. Poses can be modified.) You will start to notice changes and probably will prefer a pre-natal class as you get bigger. I practiced yoga through and after two pregnancies, continuing my usual active class with only minor adjustments after 4 months. I went to a pre-natal class at about 6 months in, though I did have to adjust to a slower pace than I was used to; yoga gets you to spend time in your learning zones one way or another.... Listen to your body and to your teachers and enjoy the pregnancy. yoga teacher and mom

While I am not a doctor, so please remember this advice is not medically based, I am a person who did yoga from start to finish with my last pregnancy. I had been doing Bikram yoga for a few months when I then became pregnant. I continued through my pregnancy, even went on my due date. I did not do prenatal yoga at all. There were a number of poses that had modifications for pregnancy. The basic rule of thumb that I was told (by my OB) for non-high-risk pregnancies is that if your body is used to doing it and you are good at listening to your body, then continuing an activity or exercise regimen that you are used to doing during pregnancy is USUALLY alright. anon

Congratulations on your pregnancy! In my experience, what poses you can and can't do during pregnancy is all up to you and your body. I had a pretty active practice for a few years before getting pregnant and continued going to my regular classes right up until the end, modifying poses and using props as necessary. My advice is to keep going to your regular classes, listen closely to your body, and do what feels right to you.

To share my experience, I told my instructors, who I had been practicing with regularly, very early on so they knew what was up, and the only poses I modified right from the get go was to stop doing closed twists and just go opposite from everyone else into an open twist. I did my last handstand (which happens to be a pretty easy pose for my body) at 7 months when it just no longer felt right, but gave up other much ''simpler'' poses early on and typically didn't attempt any poses that I didn't already know I was comfortable with. Oh yeah, and my 9 month old seems perfectly normal. I would be happy to share some of the modifications that worked for me. mpm

I carried on with a full Ashtanga yoga practice, including inversions and backbends until the day before my daughter was born. I did modify as needed and there were a couple of special poses for pregnant ladies. My teachers let me guide my daily practice based on how I was feeling. Early on, my biggest problem was feeling dizzy as I stood up and so I just did that very slowly! yoga mama

i say YES!! i did non prenatal yoga throughout my entire pregnancy and feel i benefitted greatly from it and think it made my pregnancy better all around.i actually wanted to try a prenatal yoga class so i went and found it quite boring! i would say you're supposed to avoid inversions(like head/hand stands), twists and ab work but mostly later in your pregnancy when your belly is bigger--it will just feel counter- intuitive. i did things like down dog and gentle, more upper back twists the whole time and it was fine for me. just trust your body to tell you if something doesn't feel right and be sure to let your teacher know you're pregnant, they can give you modifications to do as well. enjoy! -yoga lover

Congratulations! I have a two month old baby and I did yoga all throughout my pregnancy. I took prenatal classes and regular yoga classes up until the day my water broke! I found it easier to figure out what was safe to do once I started to show, as certain poses were awkward. I was told early in pregnancy to avoid deep bends/twists and inversions. As you start to show, you would want to avoid ab work (crunches, boat pose, etc.) as you might tear or strain your ab muscles (that happened to me). I don't know about ab work for early pregnancy. But plank pose seemed o.k. Other than that I think I just did the regular stuff, 'though vinyasas were harder as I got heavier. Please understand that I'm just passing on info that I got and that I'm not a medical professional nor a yoga instructor. The yoga I did helped a lot with preventing/lessening pregnancy discomfort and in the postpartum recovery. Good luck! Teri

Prenatal yoga classes in the east bay

Jan 2008

Hello! I'm new to the area and looking for suggestions for good prenatal yoga classes in the east bay. I work full time so weekend or even early early (6am) classes are best for me. thanks so much! ModernMom

Check Yoga Room on College ave in Berkeley.They are really good. I have been taking classes with Gay for last 3 years. K

I tried many different studios and classes for pre-natal yoga during my first pregnancy. I far and away prefered the classes at 7th Heaven yoga in Berkeley. I wanted yoga for the stretching and exercise, but found many of the classes were more ''encounter group'' where 45 mins of the 1.5 hours was going around the room introducing oneself and asking questions, etc. Not true for the classes at 7th Heaven; they were all about the yoga, but I learned EXTREMELY helpful tips along the how to get the baby off my bladder just before bed so that I could pee once a night instead of 5-6 times...

I also learned how to find the ''birth muscles'' so I could use those to push instead of pushing like you have a bowel movement...made the pushing MUCH easier, quicker and more effective.

I am not an ''alternative'' person (meaning I was all about pain medication, having the babies in the hospital, etc.) and I felt very comfortable in these classes even though most folks were of the home birth/hypnobirth variety. Going in with an open mind, I learned a ton and feel that my birth experience and (lack of) pain afterwards was much attributed to the yoga and the classes at 7th Heaven.

I just checked their current schedule and they have one class a week at night and one on Saturdays that might meet your schedule. I particularly liked the classes with Deborah Saliby. I took many from her my first and second pregnancies. Good luck!! Nikki

Prenatal yoga in the Alameda area

Nov 2007

Could someone refer me to a great yoga studio in the Alameda area that offers prenatal yoga classes? In Alameda would be great, but I'm willing to travel over into Oakland or Berkeley on a really great referral. Mary

I took classes at the Alameda Yoga Station on Park Street. My teacher's name was Jamie. She was wonderful and I felt great doing yoga during my pregnancy. I just looked at the site and there is a new teacher but I'm sure they're all good. It's a little pricey but worth it as a treat to yourself. The classes are fairly small and when I went last year, they were on Saturdays. Here is the link for the schedule: Congratulations on your pregnancy! Yoga Mom

Prenatal yoga in Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill/Lafayette/Concord

Oct 2007

I am looking for any recommendations for prenatal yoga classes in the walnut creek/pleasant hill/layfette/concord area. I am new to the area, and looking for a class to both practice yoga (under new restrictions) and meet other women in the area. So far everything on this website is referencing yoga primarily in Berkeley/Oakland areas, which I will travel to if necessary, but would prefer someting closer to home. Any thoughts? Pyra

Call the Women's Health Center in Walnut Creek. They have classes galore for pregnant gals, including yoga: (the catalog link is on the upper left as well) (925) 941-7900 Full disclosure: I work for John Muir and while my job is so-so, I adore the Women's Health Center. Great people. namaste

I've been going to a wonderful prenatal yoga class at World Yoga in Walnut Creek. The instructor is a doula, and she has many helpful suggestions about pregnancy, giving birth, etc. Soon to be Mom

Weekend prenatal yoga in N. Berkeley/Albany

Oct 2007

I can't seem to find a weekend prenatal yoga class in the North Berkeley/Albany area everyone offers weekday evenings or middle of the day. I am six months pregnant with my second son and for my first pregnancy I religiously went to yoga in SF with Kari Marble - I love the community and had a relatively easy birth. I'm looking for that same sense of community at a time that is reasonable for us. Please send any suggestions - thanks

Saraswathi Devi teaches a wonderful, well-loved Prenatal Yoga class on Saturdays from 10 AM to 12 Noon at Yogalayam. TherebNovs a second prenatal class on Wednesdays at the same time. The classes help pregnant moms strengthen our bodies, connect with our growing baby, receive a lot of TLC, and meet one other. Saraswathi has supported hundreds of women to become mothers and have a thriving yoga practice.

I also benefited from her other programs, such as Inner Approach to Childbirth, CouplesbNov Bodywork and Massage for Pregnancy and Childbirth, Infant Massage and Postnatal Yoga with moms and babies. She is very knowledgeable about yoga and pregnancy and has taught for decades. The atmosphere is very nurturing and community-oriented. Moms groups sometimes spontaneously form in these classes. The classes provide great exercise and meditation instruction and theybNovre full of useful information and referrals. Good luck!

The address is 1723 Alcatraz Avenue, just West of Adeline in Berkeley. The phone number is 510/655-3664. Email is info [at], web is grateful mama

Prenatal yoga: Do I have to?

Oct 2007

Hi there. I'm writing because I'm in my 3rd trimester and trying to decide how much to cave in to the pressure to do prenatal yoga. That probably sounds dumb, but in the Bay Area it feels like everyone thinks your labor and birth and recovery will be about 1000 times better if you do it, and so you'd be a sucker if you don't. I went to prenatal yoga about 5 or 6 times, tried to have a good attitude, tried to improve, but I just can't tell if I'm getting anything at all out of it. I do other cardio exercise on my own, so I do get exercise, but I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and go back to yoga for the sake of a great birth etc., or if I can just accept that I'm not a yoga type person. I'd love this community's opinions on this one. don't get the hype

Hoo boy... You are in your final trimester. You do not HAVE to do anything! To me, one of the most important lessons of motherhood has been learning to trust my instincts -- my body, my heart, my moral core. So if yoga is not doing it for you, don't go. There's no *ideal* way to have a baby, be a mother, love a child... there's only your way. Trust yourself.

I am a yoga fanatic who hopes to become a teacher one day. No - you do not have to do prenatal yoga! I did it religiously and had a difficult birth resulting in a c-section and a long recovery. It is not a magic bullet. Do what makes you feel healthy! Non-judgemental Yogi

Ah, the yoga pressure! I did prenatal for four months withb my first, was late and fully induced. I did maybe two classes (and no other exercise bar chasing around a 2.5 y.o.) with my second and had a labor half as long and only some Pitocin to push things along. Then I discovered Pilates. Woo-hoo! No more Bay Area yoga! Exercise that requires concentration and has satisfying intensity but w/o the unfortunate woo-woo hippie aspects of yoga. Don't get me wrong, I did yoga and meditation for years (not in the Bay Area, BTW), but found the anti-medical-establishment, anti-intellectual tone of my prenatal yoga classes v. frustrating. Skip it if you want to. Sounds like you're doing just great! Congrats and good luck! Liberated!

You don't _have_ to do anything when you're pregnant, really...I did yoga because it helped me feel good in the moment--very relaxing, low impact exercise, stretching felt great. The mindfulness and connection it created for the life I was carrying was also wonderful. But I used little of my prenatal yoga in either of my births, so I would say there are lots of other ways to prepare for your upcoming birth and beyond. (Hypnotherapy, in my case, was great.) Follow your instincts. anon

Given my experience I wouldn't stress about it. I was on bedrest and (even though I wanted to) couldn't do yoga, let alone anything else and had a fast delivery of multiples. Just don't forget to do your *Kegels* and ENJOY impending motherhood! You'll have a great birth. yoga-less

Yoga is only a good thing if it works for you. Myself, I could never coordinate the whole breathing thing with the arm and leg moving thing. I say don't worry about it!!! Jill

I didn't do prenatal yoga and had a very easy labor, delivery, and recovery. Don't believe the hype. Yoga has been over-hyped and that leads to unrealistic expectations and disappointment. If yoga is not your thing, find something that is. Mine was water- walking (just walking in the pool -- lovely break from gravity!) I do agree that it is important to keep active. --Good luck!

I had to laugh when I read your posting about prenatal yoga. I am the *least* yoga-rific person I know but I did end up taking a class when I was pregnant. I really wanted the stretching, and it was nice to have a weekly get together. My favorite prenatal exercise however was swimming, which I highly recommend. And, I had a C-section so I can't speak to whether the yoga actually will help you (my guess is that there are just a lot of factors) with labor. I found that I really got the most of my prenatal yoga only during the last trimester. If it isn't doing anything for you, don't make yourself do it! Go do something you enjoy and feel like you are getting something out of it. I know the prenatal yoga through Alta Bates is drop in, so if you change your mind months from now and want to re-join a class, there's an option. LR

I am a ''yoga-type'' and did prenatal yoga throughout my 1st pregnancy. Despite my yoga and my hopes for a ''natural'' birth, I had a horrible 26-hour labor which required all manner of medical interventions short of a C-section. Don't believe that anything is going to buy you an easy labor. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

Hi, I tried prenatal yoga and couldn't get into it. It just wasn't my thing. Instead, I swam laps every day, did light weight reps, and took my dogs for long walks. After my son was born, I recooperated very quickly. I was up and around in only a day or two (had the doctor check me out of the hospital 24 hours after birth). I think every pregnancy is different, just like every person is different. You've got to find what works for you. Oh, I went to Baby Boot Camp after my son was 8 weeks old, had a great time, and have gotten into excellent shape. Jewelz

I've never gotten all that into the yoga thing either (feels like blasphemy in the Bay area, I agree), although I walk, do cardio and aqua classes and swim. My advice is: do what feels good for you. After 2 kids and 2 natural labors, I do not think that yoga makes a big difference (although I think some kind of exercise is good for mind & body), but with birth #1, which is typically a longer labor, I did use some yoga motions during early labor. I learned them after attending 4 or 5 prenatal yoga classes. I think some kind of exercise is helpful, but I personally preferred swimming or water aerobics during my 3rd trimester to any form of yoga -- makes you feel weightless....You might also try mindfulness meditation, which I found helped me during my first labor in terms of coping with pain. water mama

Are you serious? This might be harsh for this newsletter, but get real. You should only do what you are comfortable doing, if you don't like yoga don't do it. I think as long as you are active and doing some sort of exercise, your labor will reap similar benefits as yoga. Yoga is about breath, and relaxing, not just stretching or strength building, if you are trying to do it while fighting it, I think it'll be very counterproductive and stressful. just don't do it

Oh geez, of course you don't have to and I think you need to find a new crowd to hang out with. I'd recommend spending your time doing something you really enjoy, like going to movies or bars or something you won't be able to do when you have a baby. People's recovery from child birth basically depends on their baby and maybe their actual child-birth preparation. Being particularly strong or flexible or whatever yoga is supposed to do for you doesn't make any difference. If you want to take a class, take an actual Lamaze or other birth method class. anon

You most certainly don't have to. I was not and am not a ''yoga person'' either. I did end up really liking pilates while I was pregnant. Pilates has some similarities to yoga but without all the new agey ''look inside yourself'' stuff. That's an extremely poor description, but suffice it to say: don't do yoga if you're not feeling it. Listen to yourself. And don't think I'm talking you into pilates, either ;-) yoga-free and proud :)

Your post made me laugh. No, you don't have to do it. I give you permission - I'm not a yoga lover either. I love other types of exercise, especially swimming and ballet, so to each their own. just say no

I am biased as a yoga lover but I think there might be value in at least practicing breathing and maybe ''chanting'' or ''singing'' while breathing. Controlled long breaths, especially while making noise, or even singing/speaking sounds during contractions, worked wonders for me. I even turned the sounds into positive talking like OOOOH BABY and it not only helps making long open sounds but puts the mind on a positive image, your baby. If you are thinking yoga is just about being a pretzel or holding a warrior pose for a long time, I encourage you to think in a different light. I wish you all the best for your birth! yoga mommy

I had 2 kids, 2 ridiculously easy deliveries and recoveries, and never did a second of prenatal yoga. I know lots of people love yoga, but I just couldn't get into it, preggers or not. I did lots of walking, exercise bike, a little pilates, that sort of thing -- as long as you're fit, I don't think the way you get fit is that important. Better to do something you like and can stick with than to force yourself into something you don't enjoy. Don't Have to Be Like Everyone Else

I had to laugh because, I too have felt the pressure and I am pregnant with my fourth child. I am sadly out of shape and my 3 deliveries have taken 9 hours, 2 hours, and 1 1/2 hours, respectively, from start to finish. I shared a hospital room with a woman whose second child was born in 20 minutes, she wasn't running any marathons or doing downward dog beforehand. We all want healthy babies and easy deliveries. Labor is scary when you haven't done it before. I think these folks are just looking for anything that will help. Being in shape is great, but if you think athletes have easier deliveries and recoveries, it just isn't so. I personally think big hips and 7 pound babies are my secret weapon, but that is all genetics. As Vicki Iovine says, the gods of pregnancy are usually fair, and those gals with no morning sickness get stuck with 30 hour labors and those who couldn't look at food for four months are done in 3. Just enjoy your pregnancy and talk to your doctor. Resting

If you don't want to go to prenatal yoga, then by all means don't go! This is your last free time for a long time; why on earth would you want to spend it doing something you don't like? Believe me, once the baby's here, there will be many, many trendy things that people will try to bully you into doing, and you don't have to do any of those either. Ditch yoga and go to the movies

Good for you! don't fall for the hype! You can get the same benefits of yoga with many activities you can do on your own. The hype, however, will follow you forever as a mom -- breast feeding, fish oil, baby massage, baby sign, private school, public school, kindergarten, middle school, colleges -- it never ends!! --mom

I'm very glad you asked this question. I want to reinforce, in no uncertain terms, that if you fail to do prenatal yoga your baby will be a three-eared monster and you will balloon to three times your original weight within twenty minutes of giving birth. My own wife smoked crack and ate nothing but deep-fried chocolate profiteroles throughout her pregnancy, but because she did one hour of yoga every trimester our child's teeth and toenails are made of solid gold and my wife will be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year. If you hate yoga, you hate yoga. 99.9 percent of all the births in the history of the universe have been performed without the assistance of prenatal yoga. There are enough obligations in this world, enough things we all have to do that we'd really rather not, that I think you can safely skip yoga without feeling bad. If your friends insist, tell them you have a heart condition that would make yoga very dangerous for you. If they persist, go along with them to class and then drop dead on your yoga mat. That'll show 'em. zd

You shouldn't feel pressured to do something that's not right for you. You can do your own stretches to stay limber and build strength in abdominal muscles. My OB gave me a booklet with suggested stretching exercises and I'm sure you can find a book with these at the library. I think many people like yoga classes because they are scheduled and are group activities. That doesn't mean yoga is right for everyone. Yoga is fine, but it's not the be all and end all. Not believing the hype

Since you are getting exercise and not enjoying yoga, I'd say, forget about the yoga. And don't feel weird or guilty about it. anon

I've done one class of yoga in my life. I was ~12 weeks preg with #2 at the time so I doubt it influenced birth or recovery. I have 2 children, both born vaginally with no meds. no tearing with #1, small tear with #2. back hiking soon after each. I just walked walked walked before/after each birth - probably about 2 miles/day - a morning/eve walk of ~1 mile each. no yoga, no hype, great births and babes. did it my way

I don't think so. If you don't particularly enjoy it, use your time to do some other physical activity that you do enjoy. I didn't do prenatal yoga for my first or second birth. I did weekly pilates for my first, not for my second. I exercised regularly during both pregnancies, and continued riding my bike to work during my second pregnancy until about 35 weeks or so. My first (10lb, 10oz baby born at home) was about 18 hours of labor. I was sore, but had a pretty normal recovery. My second was a 6 hour labor, was 10 lb 2 oz (also born at home) and came out like a breeze. I felt like I hadn't even had a baby after he was born. (I know, it seems bizarre, but it's true.) That said, my second was breech and I had to have an external version to turn him. Fortunately for us, this was not a big deal - it wasn't painful and it was successful. I had hoped he would turn after trying acupuncture, homeopathy, and chiropractic treatments, but no such luck. But, maybe it helped make the version successful. I wondered if doing yoga might have prevented a breech baby - it's doubtful, but you never know. -also not that keen on prenatal yoga

Don't do it if you want to. I'm a midwife (CNM) and have seen a few thousand labors. No matter what doulas and homebirth extremists tell you there is no way that anyone can predict or control what happens in their labor. And no amount of yoga or anything else can change this fact. It's true that a healthy body will recover from any physical stress, birth/injuries/illness/surgery, but yoga isn't the only way to achieve physical health. You should try and get some exercise that's low impact and aerobic. Swimming and walking are both excellent for the third trimester of pregnancy. Yoga is excellent too, but if you're not relating to it then do something else. Listen to your body and move it in the ways that feel good to you. Let your body guide you!

In short, of course not! Excercise will make your labor and recovery easier, and yoga is great for a lot of folks - but if you're not enjoying yourself, either try a new class/different teacher or move on. I had a really positive with Karen Casino's prenatal exercise class - it's pilates based, very informal, and really helped prepare me for pushing. After I had my son I never looked ''pregnant'' even when I was still overweight, which I credit to the stronger stomach muscles from her class. All of that said, if none of this is your bag, just skip it! Life is short

The short answer, of course, is that you don't need to do anything you don't want to do. But I got the sense you were trying to find out more about the actual benefits of yoga, so here's my experience. I thoroughly enjoyed prenatal yoga with both my pregnancies; however, I don't think it really had any direct impact on my labor and delivery. For me it was more about staying mindful and relaxed during pregnancy (I dig all that yoga stuff). If you're exercising and staying active, that sounds terrific. This is the last time for many years that you will have this much control over your time, so don't waste it on something you're not into. :) (And if you are hoping for a natural childbirth, I'd highly recommend some kind of hypnobirthing training, but that's another story.) yoga's not for everyone, and that's ok

feh, if it's not for you, it's not for you!

i felt sluggish and NOT like exercising for both my pregnancies. i rested A LOT. and my first labor was 6 hours (2 hours in the hospital), with baby born in 4 pushes. my second was born at home (as planned), after a 4 hour labor, unassisted, since the midwife and i didn't think things were going that fast. half an hour before she was born the the contractions were still just ''crampy,'' and i was sitting in bed eating oatmeal for breakfast. transition (when you start feeling like you're out of control and there's NO way you can handle this) to birth was about 20 minutes. she was born with zero pushes, just a strong fetal ejection reflex that crowned her with one contraction, and shot her out like a cork with the next.

so do what feels comfortable and ''right.'' and drink red raspberry leaf tea, for a strong and well prepared uterus! it's full of the minerals muscles need to function well. i think it did me much more benefit than exercise would have, when my instinct was to rest.

the MOST important thing in labor is feeling that you are free to move and do what feels right. for some this means walking and crouching and even belly dancing, to help baby work down and out. for others (me!) it means lying quietly (on my left side), resting my voluntary muscles and allowing my uterus to do its job, and letting it go slowly enough so as not to tear.
* have people around who support and have confidence in you,
* get a doula if it's a hospital birth (to deflect those who want to ''manage'' you),
* don't let them boss you into the stirrups (it's just for THEIR comfort and convenience, and slows down labor and increases tearing),
* don't let them coach you into pushing before you are ready, or in a way that doesn't feel right,
* and have confidence that you can birth your baby!

p.s. i'm a physical therapist, not just a couch potato. ;) --follow your instincts--

Only do it if you like it and want to! It may help some people with birth, but not everyone. If you don't like it and it gives you stress, don't do it, period. I don't think it will make much difference in your birth experience. Anon

Earlier Reviews

July 2007

There is a great class on Wednesdays from 10:30-12 at Yoga Mandala in Berkeley. The woman who teaches is Uma Kahn. She gave me excellent private lessons when I was pregnant with my son and friends of mine who have gone to her class have really benefited. Following her recommendations was one of the few things that helped relieve the nausea I had all throughout my pregnancy. She's sensitive and intuitive without being new agey. The web-site is Julee

I've shopped around a bit, and my favorite, which is also the most rigorous prenatal yoga class I've attended so far is Melanie's class at Berkeley Yoga Center, on Addison Street, Thursdays 9:30-11am. Her background is in Ashtanga, she's a mother of two, she really knows her stuff, and her class is a good workout. There's also less talking and more doing than in some classes I've attended: happy yoga mama

For both my pregnancies, I took pre-natal yoga classes from Cynthea Denise. Cynthea is a great teacher and is very involved with her community of moms-to-be and new moms. She was also a Registered nurse for 23 years working in pediatrics and within the maternal/infant health area, so she is very knowledgeable. Check out her website for a list of classes: Liz

Oct 2006

Can anyone recommend a prenatal yoga class in the El Cerrito / Berkeley area that meets after work hours? Many classes seem to be at lunchtime, but I work in the City. I've been gaining too much weight already (at 15 weeks) and need to limber up; I've never tried yoga but it sounds great. tiffany

Jayme Pohl teaches a great Pre-Natal cass at the Alameda Yoga Station. The class meets Saturdays 12:00 - 1:30 pm. It is fine for beginners and easy to get to another yogamama

The best prenatal yoga that I have found is at Yogalayam in Berkeley. There is a Saturday morning class that I went to through much of my pregnancy. Saraswathi, who teaches the class, is a bit of a legend and is a wealth of knowledge on pregnancy, childbirth, etc. In addition to a great yoga class, she will help you through the specific issues that come up with your pregnancy -- for me it was ridiculous swelling of hands and feet Good luck

I attended both regular and pre-natal classes with Lori at Yoga for Life on Solano in Albany, Her prenatal classes are indeed during the day but if you go to the evening yoga and let her know that you are pregnant, she will let you know which poses not to do. Her classes are very gentle and very beginner friendly. Tracey

Hi, I took classes from Cynthea Denise during both of my pregnancies. She is a smart, patient, experienced teacher and great with beginners. She was a registered nurse for 23 years in the maternal/infant health and pediatric areas, so she also imparts some really useful knowledge. I highly recommend her classes. She teaches at a number of studios. Check out Cynthea's website: Liz

I would very very highly recommend Barbara Papini's class at the Yoga Room in Berkeley. Barbara is a gifted teacher for any and all levels. She is so caring and supportive. I started her class when I was ~9weeks pregnant and went every week until 40 weeks. Then I took her postnatal class which is excellent, as well. Can't recommend her highly enough. Annie

I highly recommend Saraswathi Devi's prenatal yoga class at Yogalayam (Alcatraz and MLK in Berkeley) - it's not a weekday evening, but it meets Saturdays from 10am-12pm (also Wednesdays from 10a-12p for the lucky few who don't have to work then). Saraswathi has been doing this for 35 years and is a FOUNT of information about all things pregnancy related. She combines yoga with meditation, acupressure, and even nutritional teaching and her classes attract a wide variety of women of different sizes, shapes, abilities and SES. It's a very relaxed and warm, supportive atmosphere. She also offers postnatal, toddler and child yoga, and teaches yoga to people with disabilities. I went for both my pregnancies, and even formed a moms support group with several women I met there. Her classes are a real treat! happy and healthy

June 2006

Hello, has anyone out there tried the pre or post-natal yoga classes at 7th heaven Studio, & if so, could you tell me what you think of them? Many thanks! Carrie

I did Pre and post natal yoga at 7th Heaven, Betkeley Yoga Center and 7th Heaven. Melanie Green at Berkely Yoga is the best. She really knows birthing and helps new mama's prepare. She is a kind and gentle women. Ada Shedlock (4th ST and Alameda Yoga) teaches a awesome post natal to get you back in shape. Mel's post natal is terrific also. 7th Heaven is my least favorite. Yoga mom

The prenatal yoga class with Deborah Saliby at 7th Heaven is good. Worth checking out. I also enjoy the Berkeley Y class with Betsy Appell anon

I really liked the prenatal yoga at 7th Heaven with Deborah Saliby! She is very good at making the class what everyone needs. She also knows a lot about what your body is going through and what exercises / poses are good and bad for you at this time. Half way through our class she moved to Solano Ave, so I started to go there. I only went to two of the post natal classes at 7th Heaven with her due to schedule conflicts, but wished I could have continued! It is so fun to go there with your baby! 7th Heaven has a very calming and inviting setting and everyone there is very friendly and helpful Sandy

I have found both the pre- and post-natal classes at 7th Heaven to be wonderful. My first yoga experience was my first prenatal yoga class with Deborah Saliby at 7th Heaven. She is fabulous. She really knows how to work within the bounds of the pregnant body, and fosters a calm and meditative state encouraging you to connect with your body and unborn child. My pregnancy was amongst the most relaxing times of my life (and I had an amazing amount of turmoil and stress going on during those 9 months--father in the hospital, phd qualifying exams, wedding, working 120 hours a week....), and attribute that to Deborah. I also had an amazing recovery time (I was out and about within days of giving birth). In addition to the physical and emotional/mental benefits, there is a strong sense of community and togetherness amongst the mothers-to-be: my daughter is over three months old and I still attend weekly mom get-togethers with other fellow yoga moms that began when we were all still pregnant! Postnatal is also great, similar to prenatal-- fabulous for the body, great community (we go to lunch after class), wonderful teacher happy, healthy mom

If you do nothing else for yourself while pregnant, take Deborah Saliby's pre-natal yoga class at 7th Heaven! When I started looking for a yoga class when I was pregnant, every studio I called said to find Deborah and take whatever classes she offers- -they were so right! She is fabulous--kind, warm, friendly and interested in you, your pregnancy and your baby-to-be. She's also really good at making sure that you are correctly doing poses and that they are safe for your changing body and your baby. She has so much experience teaching prenatal yoga & with her it's obvious that it's a calling, not just a job. (She is also a HypnoBirthing instructor--visit her website at I went to Deborah's classes regularly for four months and credit them with helping me through a really difficult labor and delivery. Thanks to my yoga practice, I was strong, flexible and had endurance--I was able to try all sorts of birthing positions, knew how to breathe to mitigate the pain and relax. Deborah also has some pre-natal & birth-specific meditation CDs that were great to practice with at home. It's also a great place to meet other moms-to-be, about fifteen of us have started a mom's group based on meeting one another in her class that been going strong for almost eight months now. On Wednesday mornings when Deborah does not teach, Anja offers great pre- and post-natal classes on Wednesdays at 4th Street yoga. Rosie, who teaches 7th Heaven's post-natal class, is also really good Laura

Dec 2005

Can anyone recommend a prenatal yoga class that is held on weekends? All of the listings I've found are during the day on weekdays -- impossible if you have to be in the office. I live in the Berkeley hills and am particularly interested in classes in North Berkeley or near campus. Thanks!

I would encourage you to join me at Berkeley Yoga Center Saturdays from 10:30-12:00 (Addison off Sacramento). Deborah Saliby is the Instructor, she teaches an amazing pre-natal classes during the week at 4th Street Yoga. This class is Intermediate Hatha not prenatal, but Deborah has been wonderful modifying poses. You should give it a try, I'd be so grateful to have another pg person so I don't feel like such an anomoly Her webisite with class schedules is If you'd prefer the bonding side of prenatal yoga, there are saturday morning classes at Berkeley YMCA and Piedmont Yoga in Oakland, but they seem to provide more chit chat than work out IMHO. Susannah

Hi. I took Barbara Papini's prenatal class at The Yoga Room on College @ Derby (in the Julia Morgan Building) during my pregnancy, Thursday evenings 5:45-7:15. It is probably hard for you to get out of work and to a class by 5:45 - but boy, it is so worth it. Barbara is such a good teacher and the class is so nurturing and she has you do REAL yoga. Her class was the highlight of my week during my pregnancy. Rinat rinatf [at]

It's not in Berkeley, but the Yoga Station on Park Street in Alameda has a pre-natal yoga class on Saturdays at 12:30. I went for both my pregnancies and I'm not claiming a direct correlation but with my first, I labored for 15 minutes and 3 pushes, and the 2nd was 8 min and 2 pushes. The instructor is wonderful - each class begins with a check in so she can tailor the poses, and ends with a 15 mins relaxation. I loved it. alameda mom

Sept 2005

I know this question has been asked many times before but there just isn't that good of information in the archives. I am looking for a prenatal yoga class preferably in Oakland. I checked out Piedmont Yoga's schedule and the class days and times are so limited. What are some of the other studios that you are going to and are you finding more options in days and times? Thanks! Hoping to be Yoga Mamma

Ada Shedlock has a great prenatal class at the Alameda Yoga Station on Saturdays 12:00 - 1:30 pm. fellow mama yogi

Cynthea Denise (who teaches at Piedmont) also teaches a class at Namaste in Rockridge Thursdays at 6 pm. If there is anyway you ca make it to any of her classes, I would highly recommend it. She is just fabulous! I also took some Saturday classes with Saraswathi Devi at Yogalayam on Alcatraz in Berkely. Yoga mama

I highly recommend prenatal yoga at Yogalayam at 1717 Alacatraz (just below Adeline). Saraswathi Devi is the instructor and has been leading prenatal yoga classes for years in this community. She is so knowledgable, gentle and motivating. Prenatal yoga classes are Wednesday and Saturday from 10-12. She also teaces a postnatal class on Tues/Fri from 10-12 that is wonderful. The first half hour is spent doing baby massage, the rest of the time dedicated to yoga poses you can do with or without your baby. Plus there are generally at least two helpers who walk around and help with all the babies. They are so good with them. They have information on line at The cost is $12 per class or $90 for 8 classes. baylaurel

I took a number of prenatal classes at the Berkeley YMCA (yoga, dance and swimming) and found them all to be a wonderful part of my pregnant months. I HIGHLY recommend Betsy's prenatal yoga classes (I believe still offered on M and W). Betsy is an experienced doula as well as a great yoga instructor. Her class is useful on many levels - provides exercise, relaxation/meditation techniques for labor and a chance to connect with other expectant moms. Also, if you are already an experienced yoga practitioner, there are many other regular yoga classes that you can attend. I did so throughout my pregnancy and found instructors (especially Scotty and Nancy) to be extremely supportive and encouraging. They took time to help me learn how to adapt poses for my growing body and made me feel comfortable participating at my own pace. Another bonus of joining the Y: post- natal classes were you can reconnect with all the moms (and babies!) from pre- natal. Vanessa

Mountain Yoga in Oakland (Montclair) is surprisingly easy to get to via Hwy 24 & 13. Anja Borgstrom teaches a very gentle and restorative prenatal class there on Sat. mornings. There are many other great classes in reasonable proximity, though. Here is a partial listing I made a few months ago--so double check the days and times. I've found Melanie's class at Berkeley Yoga to be the most challenging, with lots of great strengthening and stretching that is appropriate for pregnancy (she recently had two children herself).

For those looking for a pre-natal yoga class, I would highly recommend Barbara Papini at the Yoga Room in Berkeley. She has been teaching pre-natal yoga for 14 years and has 4 children (and several grandchildren) of her own. She's caring, knowledgeable, and supportive. I have learned so much about my changing body and the birthing process from her. And the community of other moms-to-be is fabulous. You can find out more at their website: Annie B.

I also highly recommend Barbara Papini's class at the Yoga Room (in the Julia Morgan Center). Barbara is a very experienced teacher and offers one of the only evening prenatal classes in the area. Great for working moms-to-be! Eve

Bikram yoga during pregnancy?

March 2005

Before becoming pregnant, I was a big Bikram yoga devotee. When I became pregnant, I felt that the class was too demanding and hot for my pregnant body. Now, that I have nothing but pregnancy aches and pains, I was wondering if anyone knew of a Bikram class that catered to pregnant women? Not a regular class that I could just go to as usual. I need some help modifying each exercise and a place I won't feel bad if I can't make it through the whole hour and half class. I would love any recommendations that you could offer. P.S. I actually miss the benefit of the heat, so I'm not really interested in going to a ''cold'' yoga class. Thanks! R.

As a yoga teacher, father, and husband of a prenatal yoga teacher, I need to say that generally during pregnancy you do not want to raise your heat greatly. Hot baths, hot tub, saunas are all contraindicated for pregnancy. So I'd generally lump hot yoga in with the group.

I'd also like to add that I don't recommend vigorous yoga practices like bikram for pregnancy. In the circle of yoga mamas I'm familiar with, it seems that the strength it provides may in some cases become an obstacle if there isn't a heavy dose of surrender thrown in. As an observer of two births (so take it with a grain of salt) it seems that letting go of all the tight muscles in the abdomen, etc, is the most important aspect of a successful labor. It helps for them to be toned, but not tight.

I'd like to add that Deborah Saliby, a pre & post natal & hatha yoga teacher also teaches hypnobirthing, which gets a 20 out of 10 as birth preparation course. visit Feel free to contact me via email with any questions or comments. Good luck David

Hi Remi, I am pretty sure they don't offer pre-natal hot yoga because it is verydangerous for the baby. You know how doctors tell you not to go in hot tubs when you are pregnant, that is because its dangerous for your baby if your body temperature gets above a certain level. And though I love Bikram myself, I know that my body temperature gets a lot hotter in a Bikram class than it does in a hot tub. So, I'd stay away from the hot yoga till after the baby is born. Then start again a couple weeks after the baby is born...its a great way to get your body back! anon

Risks of Bikram Yoga while trying to conceive?

October 2003

i'm currently trying to conceive for our second child and am wondering about the risks of continuing my bikram yoga while trying to conceive and then through the first trimester. i don't want to do anything that would be a risk to my pregnancy, since i have recently miscarried. any known dangers from the effects of bikram yoga--rise in room temperature, body temperature, excessive sweating? any information would be greatly appreciated; i have found very little on the web.

Please do not do bikram yoga during ANY part of your pregnancy! I LOVE Bikram yoga and I am a certified yoga teacher. I have heard Bikram instructors advise to not do Bikram during the first trimester only, but I strongly advise to stay away during the entire pregnancy. It would be o.k. if you were born and raised in a country like southern India where your body would be completley accustomed to intense heat upwards of 100-130 degrees. but your body is not and its physiology is not built around extreme temps (nor is the physiology of your growing baby). In the research I have done I believe this intense heat would effect your baby in the same way as a soak in a hot tub. I do however think, and this is also backed by the latest research, that it is very healthy for you to take part in aerobic and cardio-vascular activities: dance classes, other forms of power yoga such as asthanga, biking, and even running if it is comfortable. during my pregnancy I continued to do all of these things including intermediate level yoga classes (modifiying postures when needed to accomodate my growing body.) I was told that all of this physical excercise helped to tone my uterus (and my butt!) I feel that excercising during my pregnancy helped ease my labour and delivery because my body was strong. Jessica

When I went to the obstetrician before conceiving, he told me to avoid any rise in body temperature-- to avoid hot tubs, to avoid exercise that made me sweat vigorously, and to take tylenol if I got a fever. Best of luck!

You should be concerned about overheating while pregnant. When you get too warm blood flows to your skin in an attempt to cool off (which is why we get flushed) -- this diverts blood from your heart and your baby, which is not good.

You may not find information on the web directly related to Bikram yoga and pregnancy, but if you do a google search with ''exercising, pregnant'' you can find a lot. A good resource regarding pregnancy onwards is Dr. Sear's website. Here's an excerpt from his discussion on exercising while pregnant: ''Keep cool. In the first trimester, prolonged body temperatures above 102 degrees F. can be hard on baby's development. Avoid exercising in hot and humid weather. Keep the room cool or well ventilated. Wear loose clothing to allow body heat to be released. Warm up and cool down. During pregnancy your body's extra blood supply knows its priorities: your uterus and its resident. It takes time for your cardiovascular system to ease into the extra demands of exercising muscles. Ease into exercise. Take five minutes to build up to your peak, and then take time to cool down from your peak.''

The link to the Dr. Sear's ''Exercising for Two'' page is:

Another good website, which also lists symptoms that would be cause to stop exercising immediately is at:

You don't have to stop doing yoga as there are a lot of great pre-natal yoga classes out there. I found out about a lot of them at the UC Berkeley Parents website. I was working when pregnant so couldn't take a class during the day - there's a good evening one at 7th Heaven.

Another concern about doing your regular Bikram class versus a pre-natal class is that you might do poses that are not good to do while pregnant. For example, you want to avoid laying on your back for extended periods of time as it constricts blood flow to your heart. Around the 4th month of pregnancy you're balance will be way off. You want to avoid poses that could allow air to enter in the vagina.

One of the hardest things about being pregnant is having to adjust your life and modify the things that you do, but you always have to think about what's best for the baby. Anyway, it's good practice for all the sacrificing that comes once they're born! exercised while pregnant

I was a regular Bikram-yoga goer before I got pregnant. After I found out I was pregnant (a bit of a surprise!), I freaked out when I realized I had been to a few grueling classes in the past month. Everything turned out fine, but I decided that continuing such an intense workout in the heat while pregnant was not for me. I knew I'd always wonder if I was doing any damage to my child. So, if you are at all concerned about the effects of doing Bikram yoga while pregnant, my advice is don't do it. There are lots of other kinds of yoga that are more gentle to your body and don't involve such an extreme environment. Go easy on your body for a while! Carrie

As a Bikram's instructor, my advice to you is: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. sounds basic, but I think it's the best advice I can offer. My teacher went through the Bikram training program in Los Angeles 5, 6 & 7 mos. pregnant. I however, had to give up my Bikram practice my entire pregnancy. It did not feel good or safe to me, so I just had to let it go. (That marked the beginning of letting go of the life I had known as a single person) It is my belief you are different in your childbearing year (the time upon deciding to become pregnant and through the time the baby begins sleeping through the night) so why not address this change? There are asana's you can do to help prepare the body for pregancy, once pregnant find a prenatal class you like and go to that regularly....Bikram will be there once the baby is here. Feel free to email me, I teach prenatal now and i'm happy to share any information that may help you at this time in your life. jnana

I think that if you've had one miscarriage, it would be unwise to do anything extreme to your body while trying to conceive again -- or at any time during the pregnancy. Trust Mother Nature: we did not evolve in the steam vents of volcanoes. ''Moderation in All Things''

I think an issue would be making sure to stay extra hydrated. When my children were infants they both nursed a lot and it seemed like I was always hungry and thirsty. Andrea

I would defininitely NOT do Bikram yoga when only 1 month post-partum! It's great to start yoga then, but I think the heat and rigors of a regular Bikram class would be best left until after 3 months post-partum at the earliest. I've also been taught (I teach Iyengar yoga and have practiced myself for the past 12 years) that jumpings and poses that tighten or build your upper chest muscles (like chataranga dandasana) can impede breastfeeding. Why not check out a mom and baby yoga class for a couple of months, instead (esp. if you haven't practiced in a year)? I loved the mom and baby classes taught by Melanie Green (info at before my baby started to crawl. Enjoy this time and the chance it offers to be fully present with yourself and your little one! There will be lots of time in your life for a rigorous practice. fellow yogini momma

I wanted to chime in on this one because I am a big fan of Bikram yoga and have been doing it off and on for 5 years. That said, I would never ever do Bikram yoga while pregnant. There have been no studies about how the extreme high temperature affects pregnant women, but intuitively it just can't be good. I have had two children and stopped during both pregnancies. Bikram yoga is a great way to lose weight and reshape your body, but lets face it, it is a very intense work out. The main problem with it is the rise in body temp due to the high temp of the room. You know how pregnant women are not supposed to go in hot tubs? The reason for that is that it is dangerous for a pregnant woman's body temperature to rise above a certain level. While short dips in hot tubs don't necessarily raise your body temp to a dangerous level, Bikram yoga surely does.

The other issue is dehydration. I struggled with staying hydrated during both my pregnancies and the amount of water you lose during b-yoga would make that even more difficult. In fact, I also think Bikram is not great for newly nursing moms. It is essential to stay hydrated in order to keep your milk production up and I know people who had trouble with low milk supply who were doing Bikram right away after giving birth.

The one thing that bothers me about many Bikram yoga instructors is that they have unsubstantiated ideas about how Bikram is a cure all for all ailments. I have even heard them tell people it is safe during pregnancy. I personally would not trust a never pregnant 18 year old yoga instructor to give advice about such an important matter.

That said, I love the intense work out B yoga provides and went back about 3 months post partem after each baby was born.

Anyway, I was so sick during my first trimesters that the though of being in a sweaty hot room was intolerable. Remember, pregnancy is a time to pamper yourself. Moderate exercise is great but anything that feels that extreme should probably be avoided. So take a break and then start up again once you've had the baby and have your milk supply well established. bikram mommy

Bikram yoga is totally inappropriate for pregnancy. It is, in fact, not even suitable for everybody as proponents of it may say, simply because it is a set sequence that does not take into considerations the needs and bodies of different people. Indeed the classes I went to offered no modifications but instead the instructor shouted at us to push push it and try and force our way into poses. This coupled with the heat made it completely inappropriate for me.

I would recommend a pre natal course. Not only does the instructor understand the specific needs of pregnant women, but if she is good she should teach you poses etc that might actually help with different pregnancy issues and/or labour. I highly recommend Barbara Papini at The Yoga Room. Finally if you feel you would like to get a book on the subject and do your own practice then I recommend Janet Balakas's book 'Preparing for Birth with Yoga'. I went to Barbara's class once a week and did my own practise at home and felt it really contributed to my overall well being during my pregnancy. anon

I did Bikram yoga throughout my pregnancy, and my son was born healthy. I did modify many of the poses with the help of my instructor, who had also done Bikram yoga during her pregnancy. There is a video tape of the modified Bikram poses for pregnancy.

I also stayed in the coolest part of the room, and if I started to feel overheated, left the room or just lay down. I think a good dose of common sense is certainly required, but that it is quite safe to do the modified routine.

It also really helped with my nausea. I would come in to class almost ready to throw up, and leave feeling much better.

However, after delivery, I waited 3 months before starting the series again. And at first, it really hurt my milk-filled breasts to lie face down on the mat during that part of the sequence.

All that being said, though, I think sometimes the Bikram sequence is taught by instructors who go overboard on telling you to push yourself too hard. You should never strain in yoga. Overdoing it on stretches can cause injury. Intense bending of the spine (especially forward), after your abdominal muscles have been weakened by pregnancy, can lead to spinal disc injuries if done incorrectly.

Listen to your body, modify the poses accordingly, and yoga can be very beneficial. I had a very short labor and a completely natural childbirth. At least part of that I credit to Bikram yoga. loves the Bikram sequence

April 2005

As with my first baby, I would love to go to a prenatal yoga class on a regular basis. Since I'm working full-time this time around, I'm looking for a yoga studio that offers prenatal classes after 6 pm (or any time on the weekends) in Berkeley or Oakland (I'm in North Oakland). On a drop-in basis would be great, because I might not always make it in time... Thanks for any recommendations! mom needs exercise

I take prenatal yoga from Cynthia Denise on Saturday mornings (11 am - 12:30 pm) at Piedmont Yoga Studio. She also holds one at Namaste (near Rockridge BART) on Thursdays - you may already know of it, it starts right at 6 pm, so doesn't sound as if it would work for you (I can't take anything that early on weekday evenings, either). Piedmont Yoga studio is LOVELY though, and if you haven't taken a class from Cynthia, I highly recommend it. She's very careful, knowlegable (she has a child, too), compassionate and fun. The class is extra long so that we have time to check in and let her know about any problem areas we want to focus on (and exchange advice for other ways to deal with them, too). I love it! Hope to see you there. Love My Prenatal Yoga Class

I know of 2 pre-natal yoga classes that *begin* at 6pm, but none which start after 6. Cynthea Denise teaches from 6-7:25pm on Thursdays at ''Namaste Yoga in Rockridge'' (5416 College Ave. Namaste is a beautiful studio with a great community feel and wonderful teachers. I have not taken Cynthea's class (I'm not pregnant), but I've been attending the studio regularly for a long while and the teachers are well- trained and truly committed to the practice. A woman named Deborah Saliby teaches at ''Seventh Heaven Yoga'' in Berkeley from 6-7:25 on Wednesdays( The parking is really easy at 7th Heaven -- there is a huge lot; also, it's near the freeway exit so maybe you could drop in right after work if you are coming from San Francisco. Antoinette

Although your inquiry is specifically about prenatal yoga, I can't help but recommend a wonderful prenatal exercise class I took while I was pregnant. The instructor, Dawn Loretz, is a physical therapist and is very knowledgeable about all the changes women's bodies go through during pregnancy. She tailors the small class to whoever is there, and provides a great deal of individual attention. It meets on Tuesday evenings at 7:15 in North Oakland. Here's a link for more info: Naomi

Namaste Yoga Studio in the Rockridge, has a class at 6pm (I teach the class it is ok to arrive late, we ususally don't start until 6:05) What about Saturdays, 11am class at Piedmont Yoga Studios lunayogini

Your best bet is probably Namaste Yoga in Rockridgeon college ave. They have a prenatal class at 6pm, and are a good studio. If that is too early, there is a wed. class at 6:45, but it would cause you a cross-town commute as it is in Albany. If you are intersted in that one, Deborah Saliby teaches it. You can find out the studio by googling her name and looking at her website, but I think it is Cynthia

I took prenatal yoga at Seventh Heaven Yoga on 7th Street in west Berkeley (near Ashby) from Deborah Saliby. Last fall the class was at 6:00. Recommended!! Here's the link: Niki

The Yoga Station on Park Street in Alameda (23rd street exit) offers a saturday pre-natal yoga class- I think it's around 12:30 the same teacher offers a pre-natal class in Berkeley but I don't know the time or place. I really enjoyed the classes, which I made sporadicaly during my first pregnancy. Drop is is definitely ok. the same location offers a post- natal class during the week and has a babysitter for non-mobile babies - i really enjoyed that too! Barbara Ann

Alta Bates has a prenatal yoga class from 6-8pm on Tuesdays. There's lot of talk at the beginning so although I felt less connected with the group never missed any of the yoga when I rolled in from the office between 6 and 6:20 with my first. Same deal now that I wait for my husband to show up to take over toddler care so I can leave for yoga every few weeks... It is drop in, $12.50 per class. The regular instructor is fantastic, but the subs are never as good. Probably great yoga instructors, but don't seem to have the prenatal thing down... Here's the info: Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga Whole birth yoga is a gentle workout that is beneficial to all women at all stages of pregnancy and at any fitness level. Contact: (510) 204-1334 Place: 2500 Ashby Avenue, (corner of Regent), Berkeley Jessica

The only class I could find was at the Yoga Room in Berkeley - located behind the Julia Morgan Theater on College Ave. Barbara Pappini teaches a prenatal yoga class on Thursdays from 5:45 - 7:15 p.m. Barbara is wonderful, very caring and laid back. No one cared if you came in late, which most of us did. Shauna

it's true- most prenatal yoga classes are during the day. here are a few local evening prenatal yoga classes:

  Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga 2500 Ashby (at Regent)- through Alta Bates Tuesdays 6-8  Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga 3399 Lafayette Blvd in Lafayette- at The Nurture Center Wednesday 6-8  Flow Like a River Yoga Studio 2718 Telegraph Ave Wednesday 6-7:30  Namaste Yoga Studio 5416 College Avenue Thursday 6-7:25 

let me know if you would like other referrals- I work with pregnant & postpartum women and have lots of info on community resources. Namaste! Virginia

Prenatal yoga Wednesdays at 6:15 at the Berkeley Y. See for details. Betsy

I teach 2 evening prenatal yoga classes in SF. Monday nights at 6:30-8pm at Yoga Tree Valencia, 1234 Valencia @ 23rd St in the Mission Wednesday nights 6-7:25pm at Bernal Yoga, 461 Cortland @ Andover, Both classes are appropriate for mammas of all levels of yoga experience and stages of pregnancy. I also teach Tues/Thurs at 1:45pm at Yoga Tree Valencia and Sundays at 9:30 am at the JCCSF, 3200 California @ Presidio, In addition, I teach privately, out of my home studio in Bernal Heights, SF as well as at your home. Britt

Jan 2005

My wife and I have been trying to find a Yoga partners workshop - i.e. a special class for pregnant women and their partners, that teaches you how to stretch each other and so forth. The only one we've been able to find is at Yoga Tree SF, and they only hold it about once every two months. The next one is too close to our child's due date to make it really useful.

Does anyone know of a similar class, or can anyone recommend a studio/instructor that specifically supports partner participation during an existing prenatal class? (I don't want to feel like I'm intruding on a prenatal class unless I really am welcome!) Alec

Cynthea Denise at Piedmont Yoga does a great partners workshop. Check their webste--I think there's one coming up. They fill fast so definitely reserve. a

Jan 2005

I am looking for a pre-natal yoga class for second time moms in Lamorinda that is more focused on yoga rather than talking. Does anyone know of a studio other than the Nurture Center?

I just noticed that they are offering a Prenatal (Mon, 10:15 - 11:15)and Postpartum Yoga Class (Weds, 11:30-12:30) at the Orinda Community Center. You can call them and they can send you a catalogue 925-254-2445 or I think you can access the info online too at I hear you about the ''too much talking'' part of prenatal classes. It makes me crazy too. I guess it just comes w/ the territory. Yoga Mom

To Whom it may concern: As an instructor for Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga and Support Class at The Nurture Center in Lafayette, I feel compelled to address the issue of ''too much talking'' in the prenatal class mentioned by a reader last week and the response of the person this week.

In a Whole Birth Class, it is divided into three parts, a weekly topic relevant to pregnancy (15-30 minutes of class time), mindfulness meditation & deep relaxation (15-20 minutes class time) and prenatal yoga (60-75 minutes class time).

I understand frustration of general chit chatting and not doing postures or moving the class along, however, the structure of this class is to go deeper into the transformational aspect of pregnancy and share with a group of like-minded women.

I also understand this format is not for all, and I would be happy to refer students to other studio's for their prenatal experience. I did, however, want to make it clear that in the Whole Birth Class, it is part of the curriculum and many have benefited from this format. Thank you.

Jnana Gowan, Certified Yoga Instructor and Whole Birth Educator

May 2003

Can anyone recommend a vigorous but safe prenatal yoga class held mid-day on any week day in the East Bay? It seems everywhere you look these days there's a new yoga studio, so I'm surprised to be asking this question...but there isn't anywhere that I know of where you can search all the schedules for what you want. anon

Many of the studios and individuals who offer Postpartum Yoga, also offer Prenatal Classes. Websites for the studios are noted. Here is a link to some Postpartum Yoga Options: Sherry

Alameda yoga studio on park street in Alameda has an excellent pre-natal class on Saturdays at 1pm. Strenous in a good way with a very knowledgeable and warm teacher. Easy parking. happy yoga!

Lin Maxwell at Piedmont Yoga Studio does a great class - I am 36 weeks and have been going to her most of my pregnancy. She includes strength-related movements which I love - it is not a super-sleepy prenatal class like many of them can be. She has a Tuesday at 9:30-11am and a Friday at 10:30-12pm. Another option for you might be the 4th Street Yoga Wednesday 9:30-11am class. It is not as vigorous/complete as Lin's class but it is still very enjoyable. Both these studios have websites for more info. Enjoy! anon

Hi there, The Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland on Piedmont Ave has prenatal classes every Tues and Friday. I;ve just started the Friday class and so far I like it. I don't know if it will fit your description of ''vigorous'' (I don't think most prenatal classes would) but it certainly works on the areas needed to help with some of the aches and pains of pregnancy as well as preparing the body for labor and delivery. I went to a prenatal class on the peninsula for my first baby and this one uses more traditional yoga poses (albiet modified) which is nice. Though I do miss some of the ''just for pregnant women'' movements that I did before... Good luck! Anon

I think this may be the third time I've written to recommend Deborah Saliby, who teaches prenatal classes on weekdays (among other places) at 7th Heaven Yoga. I simply can't say enough good things about her. She has a wonderful manner, teaches a class that's neither too difficult nor too easy, and really gives you some great coaching on the breathing aspect of labor; despite EVERYTHING going wrong in my labor, I found a huge source of calm and repose in concentrating on my breath, as Deborah had taught me. She also teaches hypnobirthing workshops -- and I'm not a really new-age person, in fact sort of allergic to most forms of premeditated spirituality, but I enjoyed the one-day workshop we did with her. Even my Mr. Spock logical husband liked it. Go figure. I think it's because of Deborah's no-nonsense, mellow approach. No incense, not an overload of woowoo. Alexa

Berkeley Yoga Center at 1250 Addison Street (by Strawberry Creek Park) has prenatal classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I think two women named Melanie and Deborah teach the classes. I went to a class with Melanie and thought I got a good workout that was gentle to my then 9 month pregnant body. Melanie was very kind and attentive, giving everyone specific instructions based on their stage of pregnancy and physical needs. You can do drop in classes or buy a series of classes. The number is 843- 8784. They also teach postnatal classes for mom and baby. I haven't attended those classes yet but plan on checking it out. Best of Luck! anon

Yogalayam at 1717 Alcatraz has a prenatal yoga class on Wednesdays at 10. They have a website, it'll come up first on a google search. cari smith

I loved the prenatal classes at 4th st yoga and at the Berkeley YMCA. Though they were taught in very different ways, I really felt great after both of them. I have heard of classes at 7th heaven and the Berkeley Yoga center. A new yoga center on Shattuck in North Berkeley is opening up with prenatal classes to be offered. I think they will be opening in June, the name was something like Yoga Kula. Sabina

The Piedmont Yoga Studio has a huge weekday schedule. I am sure that they have a prenatal class during the week. Jin Sung used to teach on Tuesdays and Cynthea now teaches on Sat mornings. dawn

Deborah Saliby teaches great prenatal yoga classes at 7th Heaven in berkeley Mon & Fri 9:30-11 am; Weds 6-7:30 PM. I always get a workout and it's a great environment. Cynthia Denise is also great (Weds. am at Monkey Yoga Shala), but in a different way. I don't get as much exercise at her classes, but the ''community building'' there is really nice-- more time talking and getting to know each other. anon

Barbara Voinar teaches an excellent prenatal yoga class at 4th Street Yoga on Wednesdays at 11:30. Many of the women taking the class when I took it had previous experience doing yoga. I would recommend Barbara's class highly if you are looking for a physically ''rigorous'' class that helps relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy. She also teaches a postnatal class, and I became friends with several moms I met in those classes. Maria

Aug 2002

I've heard many raves about the benefits of prenatal yoga, and I've read the recs on the website, but here's my specific concern: I can't even touch my toes, never been able too. I'm quite fit, but flexibility has never been something I've had. Combine that with a general aversion to group fitness activities (traumatic childhood PE experiences, probably), and it's hard to get me enthusiastic for prenatal yoga, whatever its benefits. At the same time, I'm not looking for a cakewalk of a class, and am willing to do it even if it's hard, but I think I'll really need a supportive environment, with other novices so I don't feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. Any advice much appreciated.

As a related issue, my husband has expressed an interest in taking up yoga with me. Could he attend the prenatal classes too' Or could we both attend a general class'

We live in Rockridge, and need classes in the evenings or weekends. Thanks so much for your help! Yogaphobe

You might want to try Living Arts Prenatal Yoga tape with Shiva Rea. It's pretty easy but still effective, and has modifications for the second and third trimester so those with less flexibility (like me) can follow those. I am also intimidated by yoga classes with very flexible people, and found the tape quite doable. Colleen

I don't know about classes in the area but highly recommend the video Yoga Mama -- very good, suitable for people with little or no yoga background, means you can do it even if you can't go to a class, etc. Ioana

Someone who can't touch their toes is THE perfect person to try prenatal yoga. Not only will you gain some flexibility over time but you will also gain some strength, learn breathing techniques, stretch muscles you didn't know existed and most importantly, learn to relax. All very important things to work on while pregnant and getting ready for labor and delivery. I had low back/tail bone pain early in my pregnancy which cleared up entirely when I began yoga. I loved the classes at Piedmont Yoga Studio. All the moms were at different levels and many had never taken any yoga previously. It was really fun to return every week and watch everyone's bellies grow a bit more. After you ''graduated'' from the class, it was customary to bring your baby in to show everyone. Try it, I promise you will love it! Nicole

Try taking a class from Deborah Saliby. She is a wonderful teacher who accomodates all levels of flexibility and fitness without passing judgement. I attended both her prenatal and postnatal classes, and there was always a wide range of participants, from the folding-chair variety to the can't-touch- my-toes variety. She adapts poses to suit your body. The prenatal classes don't feel that hard, but I found that they were actually quite toning. And I'm convinced that the breathing exercises and the pelvic strengthening and opening helped make my labor a lot easier. Deborah teaches a couple of places, but the class I attended was at 7th Heaven, which is near the Ashby exit off I-80. It's at 6 pm. Sometimes husbands or partners came along, and they were welcome too. My husband and I also took a one-day workshop on ''hypnobirthing'' (basically, yoga breathing and relaxation techniques) with Deborah, which was great. My husband, by the way, can't even touch his knees without bending them. AKS

The Yoga Room in Berkeley is excellent. Barbara Papini has a class on Thurs. evenings. No guys though. It helped me remarkably throughout the pregnancy and birth. It's low key, but can be challenging. I highly recommened it. Beth, Oakland

I did prenatal yoga during my two pregnancies and I loved it. I went to several teachers and liked them all but for different reasons. My suggestion is to try Barbara Papini's class at The Yoga Room (in the Julia Morgan on College at Derby) Thursdays 5:45 - 7:15. Barbara is a grandmother who is very nurturing and gentle. She doesn't expect students to be flexible or strong but if you practice you will notice changes. Yoga can be done solo once you know what to do and Barbara is very supportive of you doing it your way. Her phone number is 601-1883. Sienna

Cynthea Denise's prenatal yoga class at Monkey Yoga Shala on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland is an excellent option for you to check out. She teaches Weds/Sat from 10:45-12:15. She is highly intuitive and respectful of people's limitations. You seem to be already aware of the benefits of prenatal yoga, so I won't go into them here. But, her yoga class was the only ''birth prep.'' class I took and I felt that it helped me immensely during labor. I'm not sure that you are looking for this, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to connect with other pregnant women. Many a mom's group has formed from Cynthea's class. Also, there is a partners class the first Saturday of the month. Brightstar

There is a very welcoming, beginner friendly prenatal class at the Yoga Room (behind the Julia Morgan. It meets Thursdays 5:45- 7:15pm. It is however only for moms-to-be. anon

I would highly recommend The Yoga Room's prenatal yoga class. I am not into yoga either or excersize, but my sister made me go when I was about 4 months pregnant and I loved it so much I went to every class after for the next 5 months. Barbara Papini is the instructor and she is the nicest woman. She is extremely patient and flexible in her instructions as she usually has a wide range of pregnancies to deal with. It was always a very comfortable environment and she explains every pose as if everyone was a beginner so you never feel left out. I wish I could still go to her class.

The Yoga Room is located at 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. You can find it behind the Julia Morgan Theater. It is in the same building complex but in the back where they have ballet and other classes. There is a path down the left hand side of the building. Barbara's class is on Thursday evenings 5:45 - 7:15pm Her phone number is 601-1883 if you want to talk to her first. Erika

You'll love Saraswathi's gentle prenatal yoga class at 10 am on Saturday mornings at Yogalayam (in Berkeley, on Alcatraz). Partners attend from time to time, and it's a very warm and supportive environment for moms-to-be. Also check out her birth class and post-partum yoga. I've been going to Sara's class since my first trimester, my daughter is now 18 mo. and loves going to mom and toddler yoga with me. There's something for everyone at Yogalayam, and it's definitely got a do-at-your-own- pace, comfortable vibe. Julie

i'd really recommend the prenatal yoga video by gaiam, with shiva rea. it has women in all 3 trimesters doing the various poses and i found it really relaxing. and to be honest, i never had the patience for yoga before. but i noticed that i started feeling better the days after i would do the yoga, compared to the days i didn't. disadvantages of a video are that you don't get to network with other expecting moms, but on the other hand you can do it whenever you want. the tape had 4 bits, warm-up type stuff, standing poses, sitting poses and relaxation, i found that i liked the first two bits the best and did those. i hope this helps! joanne

Hi! I can recommend a great teacher for Yoga. Her name is Priya and she teaches at 'No Sweat' 528-1958 on Solano Avenue. I like her specifically because she seems to understand and remember every person's individual needs/issues. At the same time she does not single you out thereby making you feel self-concious. Her class gives you a wonderful workout without getting you sweaty and breathless. You can contact her directly at ''priyadoesyogaATyahooDOTcom Best of luck. Claire

Try Cynthea Denise's prenatal yoga class at Monkey Yoga Shala on Lakeshore Ave. near Lake Merritt (she teaches a mom and baby class in Piedmont too). I can't imagine having gone through my pregnancy without the class: it was fabulous. Many in the class are beginners. It's very low key, geared towards changing pregnant bodies, and is a great support group as well. Free parking across the street at Alberstons. Deirdre

I wholeheartedly recommend Barbara Voinar's pre-natal (and post- partum) yoga classes at Fourth Street Yoga in Berkeley. She is a very kind, nurturing teacher and gears these classes for women who have no previous yoga experience. It's a wonderful haven to take care of YOU. And for the post-partum class she and an assistant rock the fussy babies so the mothers can actually do some yoga (but nursing, changing diapers, cooing at your baby is an integral part too). It functioned as a mom's group for me. Tyche

I recommend Cynthea Denise who teaches at Piedmont Yoga studio and Monkey Shala, both in Oakland. I am also not a yoga fiend and found her classes to be very supportive emotionally and doable yoga poses. I also cannot touch my feet! Also, she is pregnant herself right now and has taught for years. Wendy


Can anybody recommend a good pre-natal yoga class?

Recommendations received:

Other recommendations:

I just found out about several prenatal yoga classes. One on Fourth Street Yoga in Berkeley on Wednesdays 9:30-11:00 ($12/drop-in) which I enjoyed. Yogalam has some too Wed and Sat 10-12 and (Tues 10-12 with mothers and babies) except no class first Wednesdays of the month at 1723 Alcatraz, west of Adeline in Berkeley. Berkeley Yoga Center on Friday 4-5:15 1250 Addison at Bonar in Strawberry Creek Center taught by Cybele Tomlinson. I don't have all the phone numbers in front of me, but I found all but the Berkeley Yoga Center in the phone book. Denise