Deb Flashenberg

Director, Prenatal Yoga Center

Deb Flashenberg, director of Prenatal Yoga Center, New York City

I believe that prenatal yoga is far beyond simply modifying poses for the pregnant woman. I approach my teaching with three intentions: to offer a physically challenging and safe vinyasa flow class, to interweave childbirth education throughout class, including a myriad of pain managements techniques, and to encourage women to feel more connected to their pregnant body and baby. Pregnancy itself is such a deep state of transition and change, and it’s important that women honor their changing lives by finding newness and change within their practice.

My immediate hope is that students leave class feeling as though they have attended to their pregnancy aches and pains, and that they feel both energized and grounded. My long term hope is that the students learn to make educated, empowered choices about their pregnancy, birth and motherhood. As a prenatal yoga teacher, it is my responsibility to be a resource about pregnancy, labor and delivery. I feel I have served my students well in class if tools that will help them through their labor and delivery are successfully communicated.

I have been influenced by Cyndi Lee, my students and current birthing trends. When I first opened Prenatal Yoga Center, I was a regular student at OM yoga. I was really impressed and in awe of the sense of community there, and I had a strong appreciation for the different workshops they offered. I knew I wanted PYC to have a similar community feel, and to be a place that women could go to for more than just yoga classes. So, I decided to offer childbirth education classes, new mother support groups, breastfeeding classes, and so on.

My students are my biggest influence in terms of how I teach prenatal yoga. For years I have watched them and learned from them. I have had the pleasure of seeing so many different experiences of pregnancy, and I am always challenged by having to figure out the physical - or emotional - needs of different pregnant women. I also learned what information the students were receiving from their care providers, and tried to bridge the gap to help build their confidence in their ability to birth.

As a labor support doula and Lamaze teacher, I am in the trenches of birth and see firsthand what is going on in our country in terms of birthing trends. Sometimes I am inspired by the births I see; other times, I am fired up to educate about what I have witnessed. I have found great inspiration in these experiences for my blogs, and I feel obligated to share this information with my students - the educational aspect of prenatal yoga is such a large part of my teaching and practice, both on and off the mat.

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