Class Action: Sangha Yoga Shala

This Brooklyn studio brings an urban spin to yoga wellness while also building a very important sense of community.

Class Action: Sangha Yoga Shala


107 N 3rd St #2H, Brooklyn

Schedule: Mon, 10 am, 6:30 pm; Tues, 10 am; Wed, 2 pm & 6:30 pm; Thurs, 10 am; Fri, 4:30 pm; Sat, 5 pm; Sun, 9:15

Cost: Drop In: $18; Class packages also available

One of my biggest gripes when I was pregnant was not being able to find a prenatal class that fit into my real-life schedule, which involved an office and work hours that ended way past the typical 5 o’clock hour. Most classes started at noon which, even with a lunch break, would barely be enough time to get a downward dog in after trekking to the otherside of town. So when I found a cushy 6:30 p.m. time slot at Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg, I crossed my figures in hopes that it would be even halfway decent.

The studio surpassed my expectations with its warm vibes and challenging poses. With a Masters of science in clinical nutrition, and student of yoga for 13 years, founder Alana Kessler says she tries her best to bring a sophisticated, urban spin to yoga, nutrition and spirituality. “I founded Sangha because I am passionate about cultivating a purposeful community, which is why natal yoga and wellness is so prioritized,” says Kessler. So while classes that fit various NY work schedules is definitely a perk, the real gem of Sangha is the different types of prenatal programs and that sense of community you gain by going.

Here Kessler tells us more.

Describe Sangha's style.

Sangha doesn't have a specific style per say. We believe in offering classes where people can connect to their innermost intentions, and cultivate awareness and consciousness to bring forth clear and positive action in their individual lives. Our instructors each hold a strong level of integrity within the style they teach. It is important to me that students have a variety of styles to choose from and discover what fits best for them, be it traditional Ashtanga yoga, vinyasa, hatha, or restorative. The common thread and core value at Sangha is the authenticity, consistency and commitment each teacher brings while representing their style.

What is the difference between your prenatal and regular classes?

Our prenatal classes offer a more transparent method of facilitating community and connectedness. In our prenatal yoga classes, the women go around and introduce themselves to create a sense of camaraderie and support. I have seen some of the most beautiful friendships evolve out of these classes -- women who come back to postnatal yoga together and then back to prenatal together when expecting their next child. Our Prenatal Fit and Prenatal Pilates classes offer a more physical class without the support group element but still a safe and positive environment. All the classes complement each other extremely well and are safe for all trimesters during pregnancy.

What other prenatal services/classes does Sangha offer?

We offer Prenatal Fit which is a slightly shorter more active prenatal class, Prenatal Pilates, Postnatal Pilates, and Postnatal Yoga. We also offer quarterly Partner Yoga for Labor and Birth (our next one is October 13th), Nutrition for Pregnancy and Beyond, Childbirth Education, Baby Fingers (American Sign Language) & Itty Bitty Boppers (Music class for infants up to 1 yr).

Can you tell us more about Partner Yoga?

It’s an opportunity for the partners of the pregnant women to learn new ways of supporting the mamas-to-be during labor, including massage, essential oils, yoga postures and other comfort techniques. With an emphasis on a practical approach to help labor progress more smoothly, we workshop breathwork, intuitive touch for partners, as well as positions for labor to help manage pain and cultivate a relaxed state during birth.

How soon can a woman return to yoga after giving birth?

Some say as soon as you feel up to it, but I would recommend waiting until the 6-week postpartum check-up. If the baby was delivered by C-section, it is recommended to wait until the incision heals and maybe a few weeks after that to avoid complications, including blood clotting, and to promote healing. In addition, the joints and ligaments will still be loose three to five months post labor, so it is advisable to be careful and take it easy!

How often do you recommend students going to class?

A minimum two or three times per week as permitted.

How do you want your students feeling when they walk out of your class (both spiritually and physically)?

I hope they feel strong, renewed, rejuvenated and inspired. My goal is that each person who leaves Sangha has taken advantage of the time spent in our classes to truly get to know their bodies in a way that allows them to feel empowered and confident in the world.

Right now Sangha Yoga Shala is having a really sweet $99 unlimited monthly yoga special (with a 2 month commitment) that is all inclusive and covers all classes. Sign up here through November 15th!

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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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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