When you think about it, pregnancy is a joyous and bizarre experience. Let’s be honest, your body is now a vessel (which is amazing) and your brain is now mush (not so amazing). At times you feel like you are completely out of control. Being able to go to Mamaste classes throughout my pregnancy has been such a life saver for me. I had no idea the sense of community, support, and knowledge that can come from Prenatal Yoga. Kelly truly loves her work and loves all Mamas that come in and out of her life and it shows. She is always so helpful and supportive and patient, because if you have ever been to a Mamaste class, you know that some days us pregnant girls can complain ;). I look so forward to days where I can fit Mamaste into my schedule and feel so renewed after each class is over. The classes give me such a sense of accomplishment and confidence and I feel like I truly am doing something, other than just turning the pages of a book, in order to prepare for the life changing event of birth and motherhood. The classes have also taught me to be Me throughout my pregnancy and to take each feeling as it comes and know that I am not crazy (well maybe a little). I have met wonderful people and great friends throughout my time at Bend and I know that those friendships will continue to grow after my son is born. Kelly, thank you so much for opening Bend and giving us soon-to-be Mamas a place to be nurtured, supported, and renewed and for also giving us a community where we can grow and develop as new Mamas after our babes are born. You are amazing!! XOXOXOXOXO
Angela, by far our funniest mama-to-be
Mamaste has been a welcomed addition to my 2nd pregnancy. The instructors bring laughter, relaxation and strength to each class – reminding me this is an hour of time for me, to better support myself and consequently my baby and my family. This pregnancy I was determined to be stronger and the techniques helped every step of the way!
Lindley, Mama to Cort with babe #2 on the way
I love bend and don’t know what my pregnancy, labor and delivery would have been like without it. I went to Mamaste classes regularly from 14 weeks pregnant. No matter how tired, stressed, and sore I was going in, I felt renewed coming out. Kelly addressed our individual concerns, and helped us to understand our bodies and focus on what we would need for labor and delivery.
My labor and delivery was long and arduous. What I learned in Mamaste helped immensely. The first 14 hours, I was calm, breathing, moving around, doing all of the things that felt right. It turned out that my baby was malpositioned (not sunny side up, but facing my left hip), so my contractions went from 2.5 minutes apart at 11 hours, to 30 minutes apart at 14 hours. After trying all natural techniques to get things going again, I took my OB’s advice and started Pitocin.
My time at bend helped me with that decision, too. I really wanted an all-natural birth, but it wasn’t in the cards for us. bend helped me to know I could trust my body and trust my baby, and my mama-gut knew that something wasn’t right. I don’t regret the decision for a moment. My healthy, sweet baby arrived after 27 hours of labor and 3.5 of pushing. My L&D nurse said she had never seen a mama stay that positive and cheerful through 3.5 hours of pushing. Kelly’s words rang in my ears, “relax your jaw, your hips will follow.” The totally unexpected bonus is the great community we’ve gained. I’ve made amazing friends, and my daughter was born with pals around her age. I had the support I needed in those challenging first weeks, from friends going through similar experiences. I can’t recommend bend enough!
Pam, Mama to Eleanor Grace
I can’t speak highly enough about our experience at bend! My 6 month-old daughter, Eloise, and I have been attending the Sweet Peas class for months now, and it has become the highlight of our week. I have met so many mom friends through the class, and Eloise absolutely LOVES it. She squeals in delight through most of the class, and is extra motivated to try out new motor and social skills (more so than anywhere else). She rolled over for the first time ever during one class! It has allowed us to break out of our daily routine and I get to see her grow and explore in a new light every week. It has helped me strengthen my postpartum body after having been on disability at the end of my pregnancy, and has brought me so much joy. The instructor, Kelly, is so sweet and easy-going. You can nurse, bounce a crying baby on the exercise ball, and take it easy whenever you wish without anyone batting an eye. It’s such a beautiful, welcoming, nurturing, and fun group! I’m so thankful that bend and Kelly is here for us C’ville moms.
Jessica, Eloise's Mama
“I started taking classes at bend during week 15 of my pregnancy. When my son finally arrived a week after my due date, he was 8lbs 4oz and was 21.5 inches long. Without the training and support of the instructors and fellow future mommies at bend, I would not have been able to make it through 18 hours of labor without an epidural. Though I did not insist on having a medication-free delivery, the breathing and stretching exercises I learned at bend prepared me to handle each contraction during labor and delivery with a sense of peace and mindfulness. Using those tools, my baby arrived on his own time and I found that I was strong enough to handle the pains of delivery. I can’t thank the bend community enough for all of your encouragement and training during my pregnancy. Because of your support, I delivered my first child feeling empowered and strong.”
“I am a yoga Warrior and have been going to bend for about seven months now. The Warriors class has really helped me with muscle soreness and the yoga techniques that Kelly teaches us have really helped me with de-stressing my mind after (and in) school. I love it that all the sessions are a little different from each other, every time I go there we get to learn something new. Our teacher, Kelly, does a great job in teaching us new postures and helping us to relax. Whatever we do at bend, it’s always lots of fun! There are so many things to say about bend, but one thing is sure – bend YOGA TOTALLY ROCKS. It’s awesome…seriously.”
Annelise (age 11)
“My 21 month old daughter and I started going to bend when they first opened their doors in August 2010. I have been extremely impressed with Kelly and Merrill’s teaching and the environment they create at their studio. My daughter loves the classes and has learned so much in the past 6 months. When we first started at bend I was worried that she was so young that she would not understand the postures. However, after just a couple of classes, she started doing the postures both in class and frequently at home out of the blue. As we were walking down the downtown mall one afternoon, she stopped in the middle and started doing down dog, which is her favorite posture. She gets excited whenever I tell her we are going to go to yoga. She loves meeting other kids her age and playing and having fun with Miss Kelly. I am now pregnant with my second child and have been taking the prenatal Mamaste classes which I love! I can’t say enough good things about bend. My husband is in the military and when we have to move away from Charlottesville, bend is the thing that I will miss the most! ”
“I have a nearly 4-year-old daughter, and over the years, we’ve tried basically every movement class in Charlottesville. Nothing compares to bend Yoga! The teachers are fantastically warm and professional people, and the classes strike exactly the right balance between establishing a familiar routine that the kids crave and adding new skills so that they never get bored. I’ve watched my daughter grow and learn so much, both physically and emotionally, during the past few months at this studio. Now she even reminds *me* to do yoga breathing to calm down on stressful days! Plus, bend’s flexible payment options and drop-in style mean that you won’t spend a bundle of money on a semester of classes and only end up going to half of them. I really can’t say enough wonderful things about bend. My daughter asks ‘can we go to yoga today?’ almost every day – she loves it that much. Our compromise is once a week!”
“I have loved coming to bend throughout my pregnancy. I feel that the poses and breathing techniques we focus on in the prenatal class have prepared me to approach labor and delivery with a very calm but strong attitude. The other thing that has been great is meeting other expectant moms- it has been wonderful to hear each others’ experiences and swap advice! We have really connected with each other, and I hope we will be friends for a long time- we are already looking forward to bringing our little ones to the Sweet Peas class!”
“My six month old son loves to go to Storytime Yoga at bend. We practice what we learn at home. Dylan loves the stories and the opportunity to squirm and shout! He also loves watching the older children prance around the room. It is a joyful time for mothers and children, and you can’t beat the price. Attending Storytime Yoga has helped me to get him actively involved in the books we read, which gets him much more interested in reading! Thank you, bend!”
“My two-year old daughter and I have been going to bend together for over a year. She looks forward to every class and the sessions are the most peaceful part of our busy week. At home she will spontaneously run through all of the postures—the cat is her favorite. Kelly does a great job of keeping the children (and parents) engaged. bend is definitely a stress-free way to exercise with your child and meet other young Yogis at the same time.”
“Love me some bend! I started coming to Hump Day Hatha over a year ago having never been to a yoga class before. Because of the amazing instruction I’ve received ever since, I now can’t get enough of the stuff. Our teacher, Ina, has a unique ability to make yoga accessible to the uninitiated and challenging to the more-regular practitioner. She’s inspirational, encouraging, and so very wonderful and personable. I’ve found that Hump Day Hatha is appropriately named: it’s what I look forward to at the beginning of the work week, and what gives me the balance and invigoration to tackle the rest of it.”
“I go to the teen class at bend with Ms. Kelly and I absolutely love it. Going to yoga is the best part of my week. Some of the best things about yoga are setting goals without being competitive, encouraging one another without comparison, and working our bodies hard without it turning into a chore. Ms. Kelly creates classes that are a perfect mix of new exercises and practicing old skills. The atmosphere of the studio makes you feel like you’re in a whole different world, where stress, worries, anxiety, drama, none of it exists. It’s a place where it never matters how many times you mess up or fall out of a pose. All that matters is getting back up, and trying again. That’s what I love about yoga. The attitude and the spirit of it.”
Abby (age 16)
“Taking prenatal yoga classes at bend was one of the best parts of being pregnant! I began attending classes to keep myself in shape and meet other women in the same stage of life but soon realized that my yoga class would offer so much more! Not only did attending classes help keep me feeling fantastic throughout my pregnancy, it had a huge impact on my birth experience as well. Bend is an incredibly supportive environment-the instructors are amazing and there is truly a community formed by the teachers and the moms attending classes. I went into pregnancy assuming I would have a very medical birth but discovered my own strength while taking classes at bend. I feel I was more confident of what I was capable of achieving and better informed of my choices due to my instructors and classmates. I credit the drug-free birth of my son to the time spent at bend! I even used a few of the poses from Mamaste classes while in active labor. All expectant mamas should be so lucky as to have a “bend” in their life!
My son and I began attending the Sweet Peas class as soon as he was 6 weeks old and it has been a wonderful experience for both of us. He loves seeing the other babies and enjoys practicing various poses with me during class. The Sweet Peas class has helped me get my body back into pre-pregnancy shape and is also a wonderful way to get advice and find camaraderie with other mothers of infants. Kelly makes the class enjoyable for the mom’s and babies and it is one of our favorite hours of the week. It has been so much fun watching my son grow along with other babies who attend the class!”