Yoga For Baby Mamas

Rachel Varela is a mother (of two sons), yoga instructor, a doula (assisting at birthings), and a full time Flamenco Dancer.

As a yoga instructor, Rachel’s focus is in prenatal and postpartum practice.

“Mama Yoga is more than just asana poses,” she explains, “It is about a deep listening to one’s own body; a dance between effort and surrender and learning to soften.”

Rachel graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Holistic Health and the Healing Arts with a concentration in Integrative Massage Therapy and yoga teacher training. She has been a practitioner of yoga for over 20 years. Under the training of expert instructors, she has studied various yoga styles, including kundalini, vinyasa, hatha and ashtanga yoga.

As a trained dancer, Rachel has strong foundations in movement and the mind-body connection. Rachel’s Mama Yoga classes at Shree are designed to ease and assist the birthing process. Rachel’s classes are also valuable postpartum, to help new mothers recover muscle tone as well as alleviate stress and anxiety.

I asked Rachel to tell us a bit about her practice.

1) Could you tell us a little about yourself, your background and how you discovered yoga?

I have been practicing yoga since I was a teenager. I began in kundalini and have studied many forms over the years including hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga and restorative.

I received a degree in holistic health and the healing arts from UNM in 2011 with a focus in integrative massage therapy and yoga teacher training. I completed my doula training and apprenticeship with Taos Home birth and Midwifery and my long term goal is to go on to Midwifery school when my boys are older.

2) I know you are also a dancer, can you tell us how you think that informs your yoga practice?

I am a full time birth doula and flamenco dancer. I dance with the professional company, Mina Fajardo y La Peña Flamenco de Taos. My involvement in dance and yoga has set a strong foundation for me as far as body alignment and understanding the mind body connection as well as how understanding and utilizing how breath affects the parasympathetic nervous system.
3) You teach prenatal (and postpartum), yoga at Shree, how does Yoga affect the Birthing process?

Yoga is so essential to practice during pregnancy because it not only keeps the body in alignment, it strengthens and softens the pelvic floor. This is not only useful for when you give birth, but will also be beneficial for you after pregnancy when it comes to the bedroom. Yoga also brings one into a strong breath practice which is in actuality the one tool that carries a woman through labor. Prenatal yoga helps to ensure that baby is in the correct position for birth as well as helps lymphatic flow and calms the nervous system. It promotes a deep calm and encourages a deep listening the intuition of one’s own body. the practice of yoga during pregnancy can allow for a softening during birth and often times can shorten labor time.

For more about Rachel and her schedule at Shree Yoga Taos, please visit the sites linked below.




All photographs c/o Rachel Varela