Check out our in-depth interview with Chakra 5 instructor Wendy Obstler, who has been working with us since 2015 and specializes in fertility, pregnancy and post-natal yoga.
How long have you been teaching yoga and how long have you been working with Chakra 5?
I have had the honor of teaching yoga just over 12 years. I have been working with Chakra 5 for a year now and love every minute of it!
What are some of the challenges and rewards of working with yoga clients in a mobile capacity?
The challenge is usually not having the “ideal” set up I would prefer in a room when I teach (i.e. lots of wall space, a plethora of yoga props to choose from, etc.). However, this challenge then challenges ME to get creative and grow as an instructor — which is definitely a reward! Yoga itself can be greatly modified to suit the needs of the individuals, which is one of the things I most love about it. Another reward for me is having the opportunity to interface with and get to know a hugely diverse group of people, while being able to introduce yoga to those that may not have otherwise tried it. That lights me up.
You specialize in fertility yoga, and yoga for those who are currently pregnant as well as those in the postpartum chapter. Can you tell us more about some of the specific needs and challenges you address with your approach? How does yoga benefit women in these situations?
Yoga for fertility is a comprehensive methodology which includes yoga postures, breath work, meditation and acupressure — all geared towards optimizing fertility naturally. This unique approach also addresses the emotional components that often accompany the fertility journey, providing stress reduction tools. The fertility journey itself can often feel like a rollercoaster ride that in some cases drags on for years. This can be a both physically and emotionally fragile time, not to mention the stress it can place on the couple’s relationship and finances. I strive to help guide those on the fertility journey towards empowerment, proactivity, learning to soften and surrender into the immense intelligence of the body and trusting the process. The practice itself focuses on improving blood flow and circulation to the low back (sacral plexus), hips, groin, and pelvis, which can ultimately aid in healthier gynecological function and helps nourish the neuroendocrine system. It’s a safe and complementary practice to any Assisted Reproductive Technologies. In the decade I’ve been teaching this work, I’m proud to say I have witnessed many women and couples’ dreams of having children come true.
I also teach Pre & Post Natal yoga. There are numerous studies on pre-natal yoga, showcasing benefits such as decreasing the risk of low back pain, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, intrauterine growth restriction and pre-term labor, as well as ‘yoga babies’ having a higher APGAR score. The APGAR score is a quick test performed on a baby at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The 1-minute score determines how well the baby tolerated the birthing process. The 5-minute score tells the doctor how well the baby is doing outside the mother’s womb.
And even beyond all these fantastic reasons, pre-natal yoga just feels good! I had been teaching it for many years before I, myself, became pregnant. Then I got to experience first-hand the benefits of it on my ever-changing and growing body. It can often make the mother’s body feel lighter, increasing circulation, stability and strength (deterring such common ailments such as sciatica) and aids one for better sleep, as well. Yoga also helps both mama and baby prepare for labor and delivery, all while keeping stress at bay.
I look at the approach to labor and delivery as if you were planning to run a marathon. Most people train for marathons because that is truly necessary for your body to be able to perform its best. So, why should labor and delivery any different?! Much of the “training” for labor and delivery is about both the body AND mind. Building stamina and learning exercises that sharpen the mind, teaching you to breathe through that which is majorly uncomfortable. I wholeheartedly believe that my personal practice of prenatal yoga twice a week supported me in being prepared and having the tools to move through my labor and delivery with my son completely drug-free. In fact, I walked into the hospital 10 cm dilated, which is pretty darn crazy!
The Post-natal yoga I teach assists in regaining strength, elicits healing, a sense of grounding and helps to deter bad postural habits from forming as Mama takes on this new role, which usually includes breastfeeding and care for her infant on very little sleep. The practice can also be beneficial in helping with some postpartum complications such as diastasis recti (misalignment of the abdominal muscles) and “baby blues”, not to mention movement towards a pre-baby body.
What do you see in the future for Chakra 5 and “Mobile Wellness”?
I think “Mobile Wellness” is becoming more necessary in this day and age and it will be a leading force in the future of wellness practices. Most folks are really busy with very full lives and mobile services such as what Chakra 5 offers integrate Mindfulness Practices (like yoga, breath work and meditation). It just seems to make sense in today’s world. I see that it allows individuals to easily integrate good health practices, so they can be more productive in their careers, more loving and grounded in their lives and feel awesome while they’re at it!
Chakra 5 has created something unique and are careful to handpick warm, knowledgable and experienced instructors. This is a key component in what makes something like this successful. Chakra 5 is also a pioneer of this Wellness/ Mindfulness Movement and I am proud to be a part of it.