Saturday, June 28, 2008

Create Your Sister Circle

Having your sister circle, or support group- a network of women that are your elders and peers in matters of motherhood to help assist you, ground you, witness, and support you during the early stages of motherhood. These women will be responsible for making sure you have something healthy to eat, have a moment to take nice a shower, have dishes washed and put away, answering the phones that keep ringing non stop, and tending to your needs, helping with breast feeding,  listening and advocating for you when you're in weird state of hormonal shifting postpartum.  

How do you select your crew?

Pick women whom you admire and who you consider to be skilled.
If one of your friends just happens to make the best veggie lasagne you've ever tasted, you may want to keep her around.

Choose friends who will stand by you during this process.
If your girlfriend bailed out on you when your belly got too big too got out dancing, she's probably not going to prove to be a good fit for your sister circle. 

Choose friends who are patient and understanding.
If your friend is the type to wait for an hour, without complaining, while you try on clothes in the dressing room, and help you select the best look, she's got some damn patience. 

Choose friends who will make you feel good.
The idea is that you are energized and feel rejuvenated during this process. Your friends should contribute to your feelings of joy, telling you jokes, rubbing your hands and feet, giving you hugs, listening to your gripes, and telling you how you're doing a great job.

Meet with these women while you are pregnant and let them know that you intend for them to be an integral part of your life over the following weeks after your child is born.  Give every member a task or responsibility so that all of your needs get met by someone in the sister circle.                                                                                                                                                            

Friday, June 27, 2008

The 2008 New York Guide to a Healthy Birth is here!

The New York Guide to a Healthy Birth is a comprehensive guide created to help you learn about your rights, options, and resources when planning the birth of your baby. It was first published in 2006 and is in its third year of print and includes a sister publication, The Philadelphia Guide to a Healthy Birth. Both guides are published by Choices in Childbirth, a New York City-based consumer advocacy organization whose goal is to educate, support, and empower women and their families in making informed choices about maternity and childbirth care. 

Founded by birth professionals, Choices in Childbirth educated the public about birthing options, and connects them with practitioners who uphold the belief that birth is a normal and healthy process. Please check out their site

I'm so pleased to announce that the new guides are now available. I attended the reception for providers yesterday and picked up a stack of them to distribute. Guides are free to the public and packed with articles, statistical info, and an array of providers serving expectant and new mothers. I have 2008 guides, if you need guides shipped, please visit Choices in Childbirth online. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Organic Avenue-LOVE CLeanse

Coconut Mylk, 16 ozCoconut Water, 16 ozGrapefruit Juice, 8 ozGreen Vibrance, 16 oz
Organic Avenue tucked away on the Lower East side offers week long organic, raw, vegan, cleansing experiences with amazing juices and raw food. They call their cleanses LOVE- which is an acronym for Live Organic Vegan Experience. The LOVE Easy cleanse includes juice and food for 5 days. The LOVE Fast, their most popular cleanse features elixirs, juices, and smoothies. The LOVE Deep is a Liquid Cleanse that provides unmatched energy and clarity.

Having worked in the kitchen at Organic Avenue, I can say that they really take pride in the work they do. The juices are pressed through a Norwalk juicer and can keep a few days without oxidation of the vital nutrients. Much different than if you get a squeezed juice at your local juice bar, which begins oxidizing immediately. 

Cleaning programs begin at $350.00 for the week. 

Organic Avenue is located at:
101 Stanton Street between Orchard and Ludlow streets.

Visit them online at
where you can find an array of organic and green products, foods, snacks, clothing, and jewelry to support your organic green lifestyle.

Grounding Meditation- Sukhasana

This meditation is helpful when you need to center yourself, ground yourself, feeling the earth beneath you. I find it useful in the morning when I first rise up from my bed, and when I am bringing the day to a close, just acknowledging the space that supports and surrounds me. 
  • Come to a comfortable seated position, Sukhasana or easy seat, also known as Indian style. Folding your legs in, allowing your feet to rest firmly onto the earth. Allow your knees to fall out the outer edges of your mat. 
  • Your spine is long, extend your spine upward, bringing your pelvis forward, allowing your shoulder blades to fall down onto your back and away from your ears. 
  • Your arms are resting along side your body, or hands are meeting at prayer at your sternum.
  • Float your eyes closed and begin to inhale and exhale slowly and intentionally. 
Imagine your baby in the bow of your pelvis cradled within a perfect lotus blossom, nestled away in complete bliss, serenity, and safety.
  • As you inhale, become aware of the muscles that support you as you sit. Feel the ground beneath you, pulling you towards the earth as you extend towards the sky through the crown of your head. 
Relaxes the muscles
Reduces blood pressure and heart
Calms the being, promoting a feeling of peace
Strengthens the hips and and muscles surrounding the spine

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pose of the Month: Natarajasana (Dancer's Pose)

I love natarajasana because it feels so regal. Being rooted through the standing leg and feeling extension through the thigh, groin, abs, and arms is beautiful. I am reminded of the ballerina wind-up music boxes I coveted as a child. Enjoy this graceful pose and if you're pregnant savor the wonderful opening of your shoulders and chest.

Find your center. Stand firm in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
Inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee. Press the head of your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and engage your knee cap to keep the standing leg straight, strong, and rooted.

Reach back with your left hand and grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle. To avoid compression in your lower back, actively pull the pubis forward toward your navel, and at the same time, press your tailbone toward the floor.

Begin to lift your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.

Stretches the shoulders and chest
Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
Strengthens the legs and ankles
Improves balance

To help with balance place the extended hand against a wall

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Super Natural Cooking- Heidi Swanson

Photographer, designer, and content producer Heidi Swanson is the creator of the popular recipe journal 101 Cookbooks. Heidi's book is juicy with full color images, beautiful flourishes and design and simple to understand. The concept is using 5 ways to incorporate healthy whole foods into your diet. From building a whole foods pantry, to cooking by color, she gives readers inspired recipes and tips for a healthy kitchen. When I teach cooking classes and do lectures, this book is always on my reading list. It's the modern and accessible whole foods cookbook bible. I like it because it is a plant-based cookbook without professing to be vegetarian. It talks about filling your diet with whole foods and that is so important in a society where many of us consume prepackaged foods. Do yourself a favor and just order it or go pick it up, it will prove to be a tremendous investment. And you will absolutely adore the images in this book as well.
Here is her Fig Spread with Black Pepper and Toasted Sesame Seeds

Heidi's Garlic Scape Soup- which would be perfect for a summer's evening. Grab some scapes at the farmers market and pick up your copy of Super Natural Cooking, at the Barnes and Noble or your local book retailer. I'm heading to Union Square farmer's market now to get some ingredients myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Raw Skin Care- Raw Gaia

Okay, so I admit, I do sometimes go nuts over beauty and skin care products, but this company is one of a short list of skin care lines that I really recommend. Raw Gaia
is an organic skin care line based in Brighton, UK, that produces "raw skincare". What is raw skin care exactly?

Raw skin care refers to the products containing unadulterated and unheated, natural substances.Raw Gaia's products maintain the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, moisturizing, healing and revitalizing the skin. They use only cold pressed oils, organic and vegan ingredients, infused with essential oils, and lovely floral waters. The products are organic, vegan, cruelty free, and ingredients they use are fair trade. You can't find a more ethical brand than Raw Gaia.

Many of their amazing products are to be avoided during pregnancy, due to essential oils. But before and after pregnancy this line is terrific. Also, their raw baby skin care line is wonderful. Just try their organic and raw baby cream,  For Her Babies Living Cream, which contains calendula, comfrey, and, St. John's wort- effective against diaper rash, and ezcema. Emollient oils help protect and moisturize the skin. This is an unscented product that mommy can use too.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Get your Vinyasa on at Home!

Greetings Mamas-to-be,

Many of you have asked me what I suggest you do between classes to keep your muscles strong and supple and your mind relaxed. I suggest you develop your home practice. That includes setting aside a space to practice your yoga, gathering special music, candles, imagery, perhaps creating a special altar. Getting your gear- yoga props, mat, blocks, bolster, strap, and blankets. You might begin with asana practice and then once your body and mind are tuned, begin your meditation. Some might do the reverse. I almost always begin my practice with seated pranayama- breathing, then move slowly with seated and low-to-the-floor postures, moving into my adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog).

I advise lots of warming of the major joints of the body. You can achieve this through cat and cow- spinal flexion and extension, wrist warm ups, leg lifts, etc. You can integrate the prenatal sun salutation, which excludes chaturangas and upwardfacing dog, and deep forward folds.

Prenatal Sun Salutation
Stand at the top of your mat. Feet hip width distance apart or step them a little wider depending on the size of your growing belly. Draw your tailbone down towards the floor, tip your pelvis forward towards the sky ever so slightly. Circle your shoulders back and down keeping your spine long.Bring your palms to touch at heart center, float your eyes closed. Take a few breaths here. Inhale deep, exhale long.

Inhale – Sweep the arms up above head (draw shoulder blades down your back, bring palms to touch)

Exhale - Bend the knees coming down to Camper's Pose keeping the feet wide and parallel. (send your hips back behind you as if you’re squatting, bringing the forearms to rest on the tops of your thighs)

Inhale - Being the palms flat inside the feet and step the right leg back to a lunge.

Exhale - Step the left foot back to Downward facing dog

Inhale - Come forward to a Plank ( push-up) position, (keep your shoulders directly over your wrists, keep the neck nice and long, no crunching in the shoulders).

Exhale- Send the hips back to downward facing dog

Inhale - Bring the right foot forward to the outside of the right foot coming into a Lunge.

Exhale - Step the left foot to the outside of the left hand coming into Camper's Pose.

Inhale - Straighten the legs bringing the hands up through the heart center towards the ceiling coming into Urdhva Hastasana (arms over head).

Repeat sequence on the left side. And practice for a minimum of 3 cycles, getting deeper into each posture.

You can do this sequence first thing in the morning to get your blood moving and warm up your body, relax your mind. Be sure to drink adequate water before and after your practice.

Namaste Mamas!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga DVD with Jennifer Wolfe

I am pleased to share a wonderful prenatal yoga dvd with you all. This is the second dvd of this style from Jennifer Wolfe. In this new dvd she has 3 different mini sequences, 15, 30, and 45 minutes in length. Designed to give you a real workout, Wolfe's prenatal vinyasa is nothing like the sleepy prenatal yoga dvds out there. She really warms up the body through fluid sequences, and strengthens and tones the legs and pelvic region for labor.

This is a great dvd for practitioners who want a more intense yoga class. It is not a great absolute beginners' video, but if you have a familiarity with vinyasa, and power yoga, this will be an excellent video for you to have in your library.

Order online at, or from Jennifer Wolfe's site-

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Prenatal Yoga Shoot for WE Network- The Secret Lives of Women

I would like to thank the participants who attended Mama Glow prenatal yoga last night at Realbirth. The class was filmed by the WE Network for a special television segment on the hit show, "The Secret Lives of Women". The camera follows the life of a women who is a maternity model and she joins our lovely group of expectant moms for prenatal yoga. The show will air in the fall, stay tuned for more info. Special thanks to WE Network, Dawn, Annie & Realbirth, and Hyde, (for the yoga clothing). 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Aromatherapy- H.Gillerman Organics

Hope Gillerman, the founder of H.Gillerman Organics is introducing a unique range of advanced essential oil remedies.

Just in case you thought all essential oils were to be avoided during pregnancy, H.Gillerman offers three blends that can assist you in all three trimesters.

Her formulations are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine which looks at the Spleen, Heart and Liver meridians for pregancy. Here are H. Gillerman Organics products recommended for pregnancy:

Natural Rest Sleep Remedy to relax throughout the pregnancy, add a few drops in the bath or diffuse. Can be used during labor as well by applying a few drops on the lower back.

Tension Remedy
for morning sickness, inhale from bottle.

Jaw Clenching Remedy as a bath or massage oil in third trimester for fatigue, edema, muscle cramping.

The products will be available to the public this summer. Contact H.Gillerman Organics for more info: