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!