Class Action: Pure Yoga’s Figure 4

Push yourself at this modern prenatal barre class and then get pampered in a spa-like studio.

Class Action: Pure Yoga’s Figure 4

Locations: Pure East - 203 E. 86th St.; Pure West - 204 W. 77th St.

Schedule: Pre and Postnatal Figure 4 offered three times a week at each location, but all regular Figure 4 classes can be modified for pregnancy. See website for schedules.

We know -- you’re growing a baby in that belly of yours, so it’s totally okay that it’s getting big and round. But we also know it can be easy for your abs, arms, glutes and thighs to grow as well with all the excitement too. Luckily Figure 4, Pure Yoga’s signature barre-based class, will keep your pregnancy expansion to a minimum by targeting those, yes four, body parts. Founded by former professional ballet dancer Kate Albarelli (pictured above), who is currently pregnant with her first child, Figure 4 (and its pre- and post-natal version) is an intense workout designed to tone and sculpt. And as if a gorgeous pregnant body wasn’t enough reward for coming to class, unwind afterwards in Pure Yoga’s ultra-luxe studios -- both are upscale escapes from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Here Albarelli shares her pointers for a beneficial Figure 4 practice during pregnancy.

Tell us about Pure Yoga’s Figure 4 class.

I was a professional ballet dancer for around 15 years, then transitioned into fitness. I saw a gap in what could be the next biggest barre class. Classes that existed used antiquated exercises, and didn’t address enough of body health. Figure 4 is a traditional barre class in the sense; we target all major muscle groups, use a barre and do exercises based in the Lotte Berk method, but we’ve also revolutionized it. We’ve added modern exercises for abdominals and glutes, which allow body to get more into fat-burning zone, and amped up the pace and energy. We launched prenatal about a year ago, which is open to both members and non-members (other Pure Yoga classes can only be accessed by members).

How is the prenatal Figure 4 class different?

We keep the class structure relatively the same, but focus more on alignment. Regular Figure 4 is high intensity on choreography and pace, while the prenatal class is more about how the body should be structured. There are modifications for abdominals and we limit overhead arm work. We’ve also added in wedges so that the head stays higher than the heart when doing lying-down work, and we adjust stretching for the pregnant body and birth preparation.

What are some of the Figure 4 exercises that benefit a pregnant woman?

Pelvic tucks are great exercises for the pelvic floor. Lying on your back, lift your pelvis up by "squeezing" the glutes, varying the temp, speed and range. Each time you lift, you want to "pull in and zip up." This is another way of saying, “Engage your pelvic floor,” and can also be referred to as "kegels." This exercise is not only great for the glutes and hip sculpting, but also great to engage and strengthen the pelvic floor.

Your regular Figure 4 class can accommodate for pregnancy, which is great since we hear so many women who want to keep up their regular exercise routines while pregnant. How would you advise they go about doing so?

Always inform your instructor that you are pregnant before every class so he/she can help guide you correctly. I am an advocate of signing up for one or two private lessons in the given workout method so that you are equipped with all the necessary modifications and can work out in a smart way when you enter group classes.

Now that you are pregnant, how has that changed your philosophy during class or given you added perspective as an instructor?

I am much more focused on breathing exercises and guiding students with how the breath can help their movement. I have also become much more focused on my own intensity, knowing where to put the fire and where to pull back a bit. I am now more in tune with what feels right as a pregnant student. Before I only knew what I had learned or been trained in, but now I know firsthand what is natural and what isn't!

How does Pure Yoga’s fantastic studio space enhance the pregnant fitness experience?

It is always smart to pamper yourself a bit while pregnant. Soon enough, you won't have any time to do take advantage of the moments that you can be good to yourself! Pure is a zen, beautiful, spacious environment where you can zone out and relax.

Can you give us one Figure 4-style “do-at-home” exercise that pregnant women can try during pregnancy when they can’t get out to a class?

As a "prego," I notice that the thighs tend to get thicker to accommodate the growing belly. This thigh blaster is a great one to do at a kitchen counter, window sill, or couch arm:

-Holding onto a sturdy surface, stand with the heels together and toes 45 degrees apart.

-Bend the knees and lift the heels 2 inches off the floor. Keep the heels connected.

-Bend your knees so you are in a "frog style" deep bend. Keep your back straight.

-Perform 20 small, isolated "down and inch/up and inch" movements at mid level. Straighten the legs for a moment of need be.

-Back into position, perform 20 pulses at mid-level. Straighten the legs for a moment if need be and get back into position.

-Perform 10 full range movements (never letting heels touch the floor): Sit to the heels (letting heels naturally come apart), come up to mid level (heels come back together).

-Finish with a balance!

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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