Calling All Pregnant Yogis!


I have been practicing yoga for about ten years now. In 2015, I set the goal of obtaining three yoga teaching certifications — RYT-200 (registered yoga teacher), RCYT (registered children’s yoga teacher), and RPYT (registered prenatal yoga teacher) — and I’m proud to say that I got 2.5/3 finished… just one more half of the RPYT to go. I am trained to teach vinyasa and restorative styles, but I love trying just about everything in my personal practice. I love slow flows, I love heated flows, I love yin and restorative, and I even spent a few months practicing exclusively kundalini, which, if you have never tried it, is such a treat and unlike any other yoga class you have ever attended. 

Why Don’t We Have More Prenatal Exercise Studios and Classes in Shelby County?

I lived in New Orleans during the-year-of-the-yoga-certifications, and I had the privilege of teaching at a now-closed Mom & Baby exercise studio, Kindred. I taught yoga and pilates mat classes as babies crawled and toddled around us. I taught prenatal classes to tired and sore expecting mothers. I participated in mom-and-me cycling classes sans my own baby. It was a lovely little haven.

I obtained my Level 1 (of 2) prenatal yoga certification from a truly delightful studio in Nashville called Blooma. They have every type of class — weights, barre, yoga, and more — designed just for pregnant women or parents with babies. Again, it is truly a lovely little haven.

Now, I live in Collierville and I am pregnant. Where are the Mom & Baby exercise studios in the Memphis area? At the very least, where are the prenatal exercise classes? Yes, yes, I know there is a class at a Midtown studio once per week. Once per week is not enough, and that is quite a trek from the ‘burbs! I live in the most family-friendly suburb in Shelby County… How has no one else ever wanted a prenatal exercise class out here? Am I the only one who feels like a big, rotund, winded, tired lump in my regular people exercise classes now that I’m 27 weeks pregnant? I’m to the point where I can no longer do so many of the poses in my yin yoga class at LifeTime that I fear I might need to stop attending. If that goes, my sanity — and chances at a successful active birth — might also wave good-bye.

Why is Prenatal Yoga Important?

Prenatal yoga is so beneficial for expecting moms. A class can provide a community of women who are traveling on this journey with you, reducing your anxiety and isolation during what can be a stressful time. In the class, you will only be instructed to do poses that your body can handle — no need to constantly modify poses to eliminate lying on your belly or flat on your back. You will also do poses that are designed to strengthen and open the muscles and joints that you will need to birth your baby, whether you plan to have an active or a managed/medicated birth. Classes often finish with restorative poses designed to help your tired and constantly changing body relax. My goal as a prenatal yoga teacher is to help participants feel more confident, strong, prepared, and relaxed.

More Prenatal Classes: A Call to Action!

I travel a good bit for my regular job. The travel is irregular, so it is difficult for me to commit to teaching a regular prenatal yoga class at any of our suburban gyms or studios. And, from what I have learned, the gyms and studios are hesitant to put a prenatal class on the schedule because they do not already have a critical mass of pregnant clientele. Despite these barriers, I managed to get the wonderful Wendy of Pike Yoga in Germantown to take a chance on my idea and schedule a FREE prenatal yoga class (preceded by Baby & Me classes for moms with little ones) at Whole Foods in East Memphis (Saturday, 3/31 at 11:30 a.m.).

If you’re a pregnant woman who loves yoga or would like to try it out, would you consider joining me? I want to make prenatal yoga more accessible for all of us in Shelby County, and I can’t do it without your help! 


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Sarah Townsend Leach is a fundraising, communications, and leadership professional living in Collierville and working with clients around the country. Sarah grew up in Nashville and has lived in quite a few places, but thanks to visiting grandparents in East Memphis throughout her childhood and attending Rhodes College in Midtown, this has always been a second (and now a primary!) home. Sarah and her husband John met through both of their work in the Episcopal Church in 2015, and she is a mom to Poppy (June 2018) and Ann Townsend (October 2019). Follow her journey through new motherhood: focusing on learning how to be a parent and finding her new work-life balance out in the burbs. Sarah loves exploring, being outside, yoga, and crafting (all of which she has no time for now that she is a toddler mom).