During a Friday morning class, 12 women rested on their yoga mats in the Sky Room of Blooma’s Plymouth studio. Sun filtered through sheer curtains on a wall of windows, warming the class as they shared their names, due dates, and — just for fun — their favorite childhood movies. Soon they were running through sun salutations under the high blue ceiling that gives the room its name.
The studio, which operates out of yogamn’s airy and inviting space, opened last spring. Founded by birth doula and yoga teacher Sarah Longacre, Blooma’s offerings include childbirth education, prenatal yoga, children’s yoga and even a baby-wearing barre class.
When Blooma opened nine years ago in Edina, it was something special—it offered expectant moms a space to call their own. Before this, Longacre says she was teaching prenatal yoga all over the Twin Cities, everywhere from church basements to hospital cafeterias, and the overwhelming interest made it clear that people wanted more.
Five years later, Blooma expanded to locations in Minneapolis and then in St. Paul. The new Plymouth branch is a boon for moms who had been traveling to other locations, or forgoing classes altogether because of the distance.
Lyuba Ellingson, who has a 3-year-old son and a baby due this month, began attending prenatal yoga as soon as the location opened. She hadn’t gone to classes during her previous pregnancy because they were just too far away.
Instead, she read a lot of books and every website she could find, and followed all of her doctors’ advice. But Ellingson said the traditional approach to birth often treats pregnancy like an illness, making it unnecessarily stressful.
“Being a part of Blooma gives you reassurance and preparation, and really gets your mind in the right place. I’m not scared of it anymore. I feel prepared and empowered,” Ellingson says.
Stephanie Olson attends prenatal yoga classes two or three times a week. “Blooma’s classes have helped me prepare for birth and alleviate any fear and anxiety. Our perception of childbirth gets so wrapped up in pain, and Blooma is great at normalizing pregnancy,” she says.
Blooma also focuses on community. “[Parenthood] can be really isolating. We live in a time where we’re isolated in our homes; we’re not living nearly as much as a community. Coming to a place where you know you’re not alone is really crucial to me,” Longacre says of the pre and post-natal classes.
“I have made friends through the New Mama Group,” says Megan Helmen “It was one of my first outings after my baby was born. I knew I could leave the house and go to a place that was safe, supportive, and close to home.”
Longacre emphasized that everyone can find a home at Blooma.“You don’t have to wave your patchouli around the room and have your crystals and be chanting. This is also for the mom who’s scheduled for her C-section and epidural. I want her to make sure that she’s being supported throughout her pregnancy. And you have a place to come back home to.”
Blooma offers unlimited access to classes for $84/month. New Mama Groups are free. Childcare is available in Minneapolis and St. Paul locations. Longacre says they hope to have childcare available in Plymouth soon.
Blooma also has a “care providers of distinction” list, voted on by providers and clients, to help people navigate the sometimes-confusing path of prenatal care.