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Conversations with the Inspiring Magdalena Patterson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Magdalena Patterson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My journey into the world of prenatal and postnatal yoga has evolved and unfolded just like my life did. I have always been a fitness junkie, and during my years of working in “corporate America”, I have always dreamed about being one of those inspiring fitness instructors that I would follow religiously and take their classes. I honestly couldn’t wait to get out of the office every day, and even scheduled my work around so that I could catch my favorite workout classes. What really “did it” for me was stepping on the yoga mat for the first time at a local gym in Washington DC some 20 years ago. The class was lead by the coolest, calmest, free-spirited girl, I guess nowadays you would call her a “hipster”, haha… and little me, a corporate girl was hooked! This yoga teacher was everything that I envisioned myself being, she embodied “contentment” and happiness, she was from sunny San Diego, and not to mention, she did yoga for a living.

Back in the days, that was unheard of. I so wanted to be like her, live my life to the fullest, and do what I loved and was passionate about for a living. I jumped on an opportunity to move to the West Coast and pursued a career in fitness. Yoga certification seemed so unattainable at that time, I couldn’t afford the hefty fee and the time you had to invest into your yoga studies. I had to work around the clock to cover all my moving and living expenses. I started as a personal trainer and a group exercise instructor and quickly realized that I was very good at that. Of course, I struggled at the beginning, but soon I had a full book of clients and was running boot camps and teaching group classes at the best gyms in San Diego.

I dedicated the next ten years of my life to building a successful personal training business while remaining an avid yoga practitioner to keep myself centered, calm, and tension free. Right at that time, I met my husband, who really became the missing piece of the puzzle – I told him that my dream is to be a yoga teacher, and he told me, well, then you just have to go for it! He really pushed me and helped me to dedicate the time and resources to get my certification. It was the best thing I have ever done. As a yoga teacher, you learn so much more than just poses and how to teach a class. It is a spiritual journey. I started teaching vinyasa classes at a local yoga studio, and again, realized that teaching yoga is where I needed to be, it just felt so natural. When I became pregnant with our first child, I also realized there was a void in the local yoga offerings – prenatal yoga was far and in between on any local studio schedule. I learned so much about prenatal yoga, its benefits for pregnancy, birth, and beyond. Regular yoga was great, but I craved a practice that focused on the connection between the mother and the growing baby, breathing techniques, calmness, birth preparation, and simply just a community for pregnant yogis. I envisioned a place where women could practice yoga during pregnancy, meet other pregnant moms, and then practice yoga with their little babies.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. Life puts many obstacles your way, but if you keep focused on your passion and dreams, it only makes you stronger.

My advice is, if you have a dream, just follow it and go for it:
1. Do not get discouraged if it doesn’t work out right away. I got a “NO” when I first approached my “home” yoga studio owner if I could start a prenatal yoga class. I remember she even said that I only want to teach it now, because I’m pregnant, and then I will lose my interest. I also had many classes where nobody showed up. But you have to believe in yourself and know that it is just a natural part of the process. Keep putting work and energy into your dream and it will blossom beautifully one day. It took a couple of years of consistent work, and I can now say I teach prenatal yoga at La Jolla’s top yoga studios, have a full book of private prenatal students, and lead packed mommy and me yoga workshops. I also created an exercise app for new moms to help them recover after pregnancy. That leads me to my next point:
2. Keep all doors open.
I still teach super fun fitness classes that I love, and that has nothing to do with prenatal and postnatal yoga. My workout app sells on iTunes store and it’s a wonderful additional source of revenue. If you are good at something, just keep doing it.
3. Focus on people who believe in you and who fill you with positive, inspiring energy. Not everyone will share your passion or believe in you.
4. Don’t take anything personally. EVER.

I had many friends, even fellow yogis, who never even came to my class during their pregnancy. It just wasn’t for them, and that’s totally fine! One of my favorite books is “Four agreements”- probably the most influential book I have ever read, on a personal and business level. It teaches you the four agreements you need to make with yourself in order to live a fulfilled, successful and loving life. And in my opinion, the most important “agreement” is “Don’t take anything personally”

What should we know about Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
By embracing my passion for prenatal yoga, I really found something I can pour my heart and soul into. I wanted to help and support women during pregnancy, so that they can feel the freedom to embrace, celebrate and feel fully connected to every moment of their pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey, not just trying to “get through it”. I also wanted to build a community and “mama tribes” by offering a safe space for pregnant women to come practice yoga and share their pregnancy journey. Birth can be an incredibly beautiful experience if approached and embraced without fear and with the respect of the ancient wisdom of the female body. Prenatal yoga plays an essential part in that. Furthermore, women meet in our classes and become life-long friends, hang out with their babies, come to mommy and me yoga, and most importantly, embrace and enjoy motherhood. We all know it takes a village!

Why am I so passionate about yoga during pregnancy? Prenatal yoga is so much more than a series of modified poses. It helps you connect with your growing baby and your changing body. With breath work and meditation, you start preparing for the progressing pregnancy, labor, and birth. Prenatal yoga helps you learn to be present and connected with your growing baby. I really believe it must be the most important time in a woman’s life to practice yoga. From the moment of conception, our baby experiences life through us, our emotions and state of mind. Our little baby feels our sensory impulses and recognizes what brings us joy and what feels toxic. Deep inside the womb, our baby feels our responses to daily situations. They can feel when we are stressed, and they can enjoy the moments of happiness and contentment with us. That is because of whatever emotion we experience, our brain releases the corresponding hormones into our bloodstream. Those hormones cross the placenta and travel through the umbilical cord to our baby.

At this time, I offer prenatal classes in two top yoga studios in La Jolla, Buddhi Yoga, and Trilogy Sanctuary, as well as online classes and support. Some women choose to work with me privately, and I really do enjoy that as well. Yoga can be intimidating for many women who have never done it before, and then add the whole pregnancy into it, not to mention our busy schedules and the limited offerings of prenatal yoga on the schedule. It can be very stressful and sometimes impossible to make it to a prenatal yoga class.

One wise woman told me once: You will never look back and say “I spent too much time with my baby.” I couldn’t agree more! Hence, one of my favorite times is when we do a prenatal yoga reunion, or a mommy and my workshop. New mommies in the community get the chance to enjoy yoga while having fun with their new baby, and reuniting with their prenatal friends. Mommy and me yoga is such a great way to explore playful poses that are good for mommy and fun for baby, as well as gentle stretches, connected with core and pelvic floor strengthening techniques.

One of my friends recently told me that we only have 18 summers with our kids. Oh my gosh, so true! We really have to enjoy every minute we have with our kids, being present, connected, calm, and just trying our best. In other words, as my favorite yoga teacher, Bryan Kest puts it: “your kids will never listen to you, but they will always become YOU.” The bottom line is that yoga helps us to become a better, calmer and less reactive version of ourselves, and our kids are always watching.

Lastly, when our first child was born, I spent hours while she was napping on the tedious work of creating a workout app for new moms. Between diaper changing and nursing, you feel like you don’t even have time to take a shower, let alone workout! I personally was dying to get back to working out, but at the beginning, with around the cock breastfeeding, all I could do was a few minutes here and there… a quick workout while she was napping. Then, I realized that it was working! I didn’t need the gym or the standard “hour” for my workout, all I needed was a mini workout using my own body a few times a day. And that’s how “Mommy Workouts” was born!!! You can find “Mommy Workouts” App on iTunes.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Surround yourself with like-minded, inspiring individuals or people you look up to, and then just listen. I learn so much just by listening to people. Don’t be scared or embarrassed to ask for help or advice. Never say “NO” to an opportunity or a meeting with an interesting person. You never know how and in what way it could enrich your life, career or help you in meeting other inspiring people.

Pricing:

  • Mommy Workouts $2.99 iTunes Store
  • Online Prenatal Yoga, first month free, $18/ month, yourbuddhi.com
  • Prenatal Yoga group classes $25 drop-in
  • Prenatal private sessions $110, packages available

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jaymie Harrison, Laura Costa, K.C. Alfred

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