Move that pregnant bod: Blooma Prenatal Yoga

A review for a yoga class written by me is similar in value to a review for hot sauce written by my 4-year-old (who hates anything spicy).  Yoga is, generally speaking, not my gig.  I’ve tried it at 4-5 different places, all with the same result.  If I want exercise I prefer running or a fitness class.  If I want relaxation I prefer sitting in front of a TV.  So I’ve never quite understood where yoga would fit into my life.

Fast forward to now.  I am 6 months pregnant with our third child.  My last two pregnancies have been wracked with aches and pains.  This time around seems to be a bit better, in part, I’m sure, because I’ve managed to run fairly consistently up until now, and have also managed to keep my weight down.

But now, I am starting to hurt.  Aches and pains.  And I figured it was time to give yoga another go, since running isn’t an option.  And since Blooma offers child care, it was also an opportunity for some relaxation in my day.

Blooma has two locations: one on Lyndale in Minneapolis and a newer location on Selby in Saint Paul.  They are something of a one-stop shop for mothers: this includes aspiring mothers, soon-to-be-mothers, new mothers and every other category.  In general, though, they seem to focus on the soon-to-be and new mother categories.  That time in your life when everything is changing and you may not really know how to deal with it.  They offer childbirth education classes, pre- and post- natal yoga, massage, and other tools to help support new moms.

I think this is a great concept.  Although I feel like I have a good support system now, that was not the case before my oldest daughter was born.  I don’t fully agree with all of the attachment parenting mantra that seems to go hand-in-hand with a place like this (although I do agree with much of it), but it’s a great resource for all moms, especially so if you are philosophically in that camp.

But let me get to the point.  Today I attended pre-natal yoga.  As a confessed yoga skeptic, it was exactly what I needed.  Not too strenuous.  Enough of a work-out that I felt energized afterwards but not physically drained (which is the effect that running has had on my lately). It did help with my aches and pains somewhat, and was probably more effective than a massage would have been.

For all these reasons, I recommend it.

With that being said, I will probably not become a regular.  The prices are steep; this tends to be true of yoga in general, so Blooma is not alone in this.  If you like it, there are membership options which make it more affordable.  But I know I wouldn’t go regularly enough to make it affordable.

Also, the childcare was a bit traumatic for my daughter.  It wasn’t unsafe, I just didn’t feel that the childcare provider was very great with kids.  There were three toddlers present, admittedly busy but not insurmountable.  The room for childcare was a small room, without a ton of toys, which is fine.  However, a lack of toys does require the provider to work a bit harder.  She looked completely frazzled and stressed when the class was done.  My daughter was bawling, furiously signing “milk”, indicating to me that she wanted something to drink.  Doesn’t every provider for small children know the basic signs?  ”Milk”, “food”, “please”, “thank you”, and “more”.  Am I wrong to think this is standard?  Anyway, she didn’t offer her the sippy cup in the diaper bag, apparently, but did manage to allow the diaper bags to be torn apart, with some kid apparently misplacing my keys in the process.  After I spent 15 minutes looking for them, she mentioned to me “The kids were in the bags.  I tried to put everything back, but I hope the keys didn’t end up in a different bag”.  She did finally find them on the floor of the room.   I know it’s hard to watch kids that don’t know you, and whose routine you don’t know, but I guess I would assume a few basics would be adhered to.  Greta was a mess when we left, but nothing a little water couldn’t fix.  If we went regularly maybe it would go better, but all in all the childcare portion was not a great experience.

I will, however, likely go back for Tot Yoga.  Seems like a great winter activity, in which the kids get to do some yoga and you get to do some yoga with them.  And it’s only about half the price.  Check out their webpage for the various classes offered for moms and kids of all ages, as well as some of the parenting classes.  And I would love to hear feedback from other folks who have a bit more love for yoga than I do.

Price:  $22 for a single class; less if you purchase a multi-class pass or unlimited membership. Childcare was an additional $5.

Hours:  Check the schedule at your closest Blooma for when the class is offered.

Website:  http://www.blooma.com/

Photos:  Sorry about the lack of photos here.  I lost my phone, and I just felt too sketchy busting out my big ol’ camera.  Just picture a small, clean and warm studio and you will be imagining it pretty well.


Get Dirty: Discovery Hollow at Tamarack Nature Center

Summer’s been busy.  If you’re like me, you’re spending a lot less time in front of the computer and a lot more time at the playground.  But I will still try to squeeze in a couple more posts before this summer ends.  One of the best parts of putting together that map a few weeks ago was compiling a mental list of new places I wanted to take the kids, and the most exciting place I found was Tamarack Nature Center.

My husband and I have always enjoyed camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors, but we have definitely curtailed our outdoor activities since the kids were born.  I know some folks continue to get outside like they always have, we just haven’t been those people.  So, recently I have lamented the fact that my kids don’t get as much exposure to the woods as I wish they did.

When I heard about Tamarack Nature Center, I was psyched.  It is a totally easy, kid-centric way to get them a little more exposure to the outdoors.  The park itself is huge, 320 acres, with 4 miles of trails.  The most enjoyable part for little kids is Discovery Hollow & Garden.  Discovery Hollow is divided into four sections: a fort building section, a rock climbing section, a stream and dam building section and a garden section.  The kids have free reign of all of it.  The fort building section is equipped with huge piles of sticks, for the express purpose of building forts.  The stream and dam section has running water, and lots of sand, so that you can modify the stream path, as well as splash around and get dirty (and clean again).  It’s a great place to cool off other than the more conventional splash pads.  The rock climbing section is man-made cement cliffs that are much more little kid friendly than the natural world usually is.  And the garden plot is a huge garden that the summer camp kids have planted, and which you are free to water, weed and peruse.  There’s even a place where you can give free reign for digging, something my daughter never gets to experience in our actual garden.

Cost: Free!

Hours: M-F 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sa 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Su 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.



I heart kids art = I heart entertained kids

Despite having walked by this place, I didn’t realize what it was until a friend told me about it.  The studio is tucked away off the street, and a non-assuming sign almost made me feel I was invading the intimate space.  I should clarify that this is not a bad thing, it made me feel like I had discovered something special.

Similar to Kiddywampus, this is a kids art studio where children can go wild with paint and you get to leave the mess behind.  Dissimilar to Kiddywampus, a flat fee gives a day of access.  The studio is more art focused and quite a bit smaller than Kiddywampus, which is just fine for my daughter.  There were two projects set up for her to make; the theme the week we visited was Independence Day.  In addition, there is paint, easels, play-doh, beads, feathers and all sorts of other things to create with.  The only challenge for us was trying to keep my 11 month old from choking on trinkets or knocking over easels.

The day we visited was quiet, but a long holiday weekend will do that.  We were the only visitors in the two hours we were there, but the owner has her kids in the studio with her and my daughter became fast friends with the owners daughter in that time (aren’t preschool friendships great like that?)  My 3-year-old would be happy to paint and color all day long, so having access to all sorts of new supplies and a planned couple of projects was all she needed in life.

I found the price a bit steep ($12/day) given that my capacity to watch a toddler and a preschooler for much more than an hour is limited.  Though, when I started to think about what I would charge, I couldn’t really justify charging less than that.  Really, the monthly membership is the way to go ($36/month) but we live on the other side of the city and it’s just not practical for us.  I think this will remain a rare treat for us rather than a regular stop, but if we lived closer it would probably be a new favorite.

In addition, there are story times and yoga offered; check out the website for times.

Really, there needs to be a kids art studio in Saint Paul. Any takers?

Website:  http://www.iheartkidsart.com/

Hours:  T-F 9:00-3:00; Sa 9:00-1:00

Find on Google Maps.