I recently wrote about how much I rely on my mom friends. In those moments when I’m about to lose it, I am SO lucky to have several moms who will (usually) answer my desperate texts. Even though I know I can lean on my closest friends when I need encouragement, advice, or support, there are still times I don’t want to bother them. Like when I’ve been trying for two hours (!) to get my daughter to sleep and I know they’re in the trenches, too, with their own little ones. In those moments, I maintain my sanity (and I use that word loosely) by looking for inspiration and strength wherever I can find it. That’s when I turn to the yoga mamas of the Internet who post their own struggles, advice, amazing photographs, and funny stories on their blogs and social media channels.
I learn tons from the yoga mamas I follow. The following list is a simple overview of where I get my inspiration when I need it the most. I’m sharing because know you’ll be inspired by them, too.
Please note that this is not a ranked list, and it’s in no particular order. I’m not claiming that these are the BEST yoga mamas on the Internet (just the ones I find myself checking in with over and over). I don’t really believe it’s possible to rank people in that way. We are all so different, and I don’t think that comparing ourselves to other moms (or comparing other moms to each other) is at all productive. What IS productive, on the other hand, is sharing stories, struggles, inspiration, and wisdom—something all of the women on this list do beautifully!
14 Inspiring Yoga Mamas to Follow
1. Elena Brower
Elena Brower is one of the most respected yoga teachers there are out there. She has SO many things that make her stand out from the pack—including her background in design, training in life coaching, and extensive meditation training. She’s owned an incredibly popular yoga studio in New York City, has been a successful entrepreneur, and is an award-winning author. All of these things are worth bragging about, but what does the first word of her bio? Mama. Yes, she wears many hats, but mama is the one she puts first. My personal experience with her confirms this: I interviewed her a couple years ago for an article I was writing for Yoga Journal, and when my editors asked me to contact her again with more questions she was in the middle of packing up to leave on a family trip with her son. I can tell you that she has perfected the art of lovingly saying NO. To me, it doesn’t get much more inspiring than that.
2. Laura Kasperzak
Admitting this makes me feel way behind on the times, but I first learned about Laura when the New York Times featured her and a few other Instagram yogis. I was late to the Instagram party, and completely amazed that someone could have as much success as Laura by simply taking photos of herself daily. Of course, when I started following along a little more closely, I quickly saw the appeal. Her photos are stunning (and so is her yoga practice). But what is most inspiring isn’t the advanced inversions (she certainly rocks them!), but the sweet photos of her with her kids. Whenever I feel lazy and think of skipping my practice because, well, mothering is hard work, I take a look at her photos to remind myself that it is possible to practice with kids (sometimes even with them climbing all over you). If she can do it, I can do it.. and so can you!
3. Stephanie Snyder
When I was pregnant with my daughter, Stephanie Snyder was also pregnant—just a few months ahead of me. So, I depended on her online yoga videos to both keep me moving, but also for guidance and encouragement for the entirety of my pregnancy and the postpartum days. She’s a strong asana practitioner and her classes are physically challenging, so I loved that her prenatal videos often involved plenty of movement (something I craved). But Stephanie also helped me realize that it was OK for me to slow down and rest more… after all, if Stephanie Snyder was taking it easy during her pregnancy, I knew it was OK for me to, as well. Now that her kids are a little older, I love checking in with her social media accounts for little glimpses into what her practice is like with two young boys.
4. Janet Stone
Janet Stone is the ultimate yoga mama—there’s something incredibly soothing and maternal about her voice and her presence (both in her classes I used to take with her when I lived in the San Francisco area and her online presence). She’s also collaborating with Yoga Journal on an online training called Yoga for Moms. I love that she often reminds mamas that they have to fight for their personal practice, or, as she says in the video below, “get a little fierce” to protect that time you make for yourself. People think of a home yoga practice as this serene, mellow experience, but when you’re a mom, you sometimes have to defend your right to a few minutes alone. You have to be consistent. You have to mean business. You have to make it a priority no matter what. And you have to remember that both you AND your family will benefit so much from that discipline. Janet is living proof of that.
5. Gigi Yogini (aka Brigitte Kouba)
I’ve admired Gigi Yogini from a distance for years—she’s been a strong voice for positive body image within the yoga community and she’s all about helping women be more confident. I also love her positive affirmations she posts on Mantra Monday. So, when I recently saw through her Facebook page that she’s expecting—and twins!—I was so excited because I knew she’d bring her message of body positivity to a lot of pregnant and new mamas, too. I was totally right (and I love being right!). Her message to love your body (especially a pregnant body) shines through in her posts:
“I’ve always identified as being curvy, but now that I have two babies growing in my belly, my curves are on fleek! ? My thighs are thicker, my bum is bigger, my chest is swollen, and I’ve got a beach ball sized midsection! ? But rather than being embarrassed or ashamed of my weight gain, I’m loving every inch of myself because I know that in just a few months, my body will change – AGAIN! ?So this weekend I went to the beach and strutted my stuff in a bikini. ? I got some big smiles and winks, as if people were silently saying: “GO GIRL!” ? There’s no better time than the present to cultivate confidence and practice self love!”
6. Andrea Ferretti
If you love good writing, clear and easy-to-understand asana descriptions, and a sense of humor, you’ll love everything this woman has her hands on. Andrea is a seasoned editor who spent many years editing in different departments at Yoga Journal magazine, so she knows a thing or two about yoga. As the mother of a 3-year-old, she also knows a thing or two about balancing career, family, and making time for herself, too, something she blogs about often as the editor of Jason Crandell’s blog. (Did I mention she is also married to Jason Crandell? They’re pretty much the cutest yoga pair ever.. Of course, I adore them both so I might be a little bit biased.) Andrea also still contributes to Yoga Journal and Rodale’s Organic Life—find her there or follow her on Instagram.
7. Liz Vartanian
What is it REALLY like to be a yoga mama? Well, if you ask Liz Vartanian, a yoga teacher and blogger who lives in Austin, TX with her two boys under 4, it involves a lot of coffee. Coffee and trains and deep breathing and messy hair and, well, actually being a yoga mama is like being any other kind of mama except you sneak in a few more stretches and maybe you are a little less likely to fall on your face when you trip over the toys because you practice standing balance poses so often. Life balance? Well, that’s a little harder. I absolutely adore Liz because she tells it like it is and she’s not afraid to bare her soul on her blog and social channels.
8. Nancy Alder
Before I even thought about having a kid, Nancy, who blogs at Flying Yogini, was writing about what it was like to be a yoga mama. She calls her kids elves, which I think is so much cooler than other kid nicknames (seriously, if you call your human child a muffin or a monkey, we can’t be friends). She’s a great source for a new mama who is learning the ropes. In addition to teaching yoga and writing for her blog, Nancy writes about all things yoga and parentings for Annapurna Living, and is an editor for Mantra: Yoga + Health magazine. But of all the things she manages to juggle, the thing I find most inspiring is her ability to keep sense of humor. She reminds me to go with the flow and do my own thing, no matter how many dirty looks I get from other people at the grocery store or the park.
Read her blog and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
9. Jennifer Williams-Fields
Jennifer Williams-Fields is a mama of six who wrote about her struggles with depression in her recent book Creating a Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned from Yoga and My Mom. In the book she shares a ton of tips and helpful advice she drew from her yoga practice (and, of course, her mom) that helped her dig herself out of a depression and live the life she always wanted to live. Her book is a great read—it’s one of those books that makes me want to get up off my butt and get to work because, after all, if she can be so brave, show up, and do the work to improve her life with SIX kids… I can sure as heck do it with one.
10. Stephanie Birch
Stephanie Birch is a talented yoga teacher who teaches in Sacramento and online on Youtube and the new yoga video subscription website, one0eight.com. She’s probably most visible, however, through the amazing photographs she shares on Instagram. Her photos are absolutely stunning (her Instagram account might be my favorite of all—and, as I’m sure you now, there are a LOT of yogis on Instagram!). Truthfully, it’s hard for me to put my finger on why. I think it’s the perfect mix of amazing light, beautiful poses, and the adorable way she incorporates her little one into the shots every now and then. She’s also a gifted writer. She often tackles not just yoga poses, but how it informs her decisions as a parent. To me, there is nothing more beautiful.
11. Peg Mulqueen – The Ashtanga Dispatch
There are mamas who I follow because I identify with them and they help me feel better about being human. Then, there are the mamas I follow because they’ve been there and they offer so much wisdom and perspective on life. Peg Mulqueen is definitely someone I look up to for her wisdom. Compared to some of the other mamas on this list, she doesn’t even talk about parenting and motherhood all that much. But when she does… it’s smart, thought-provoking, and amazing (you’d expect no less if you’ve ever listened to her podcast The Ashtanga Dispatch or watched Peg on Periscope).
Here’s a gem that really caught my attention, which she posted up to Instagram last month:
“It’s kind of like our yoga practice. And I mean this. You want to wake up each morning, with a steady devotion. Some days, you’ll feel like you’ve “nailed it!” and sometimes, you failed it. But most of the time, it will just be you – getting up each morning, devoted to the practice of being a mum – and not knowing if you did either. Just knowing you did your best … We have to trust the process. It’s easy to do when it seems to be working. Easy to stay steady when we see the results we want. But it’s the rest of the time that really makes the difference. Stay faithful to the process and open to what’s to come. I guess that’s my best advice.”
I edited, but it really is worth reading the rest of her words here.
12. Mandy Wozniak
Mandy is a dear friend of mine—and she’s one of the first mom friends I ever made. I have learned so much from that relationship. She’s a mother of four, an amazing yoga teacher, and her blog, Yoga Addicted, meshes all of that together in a way that is as entertaining as it is wise. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to pick her brain in person during our kids’ play dates at the park. Since you most likely don’t have that luxury, you’ll have to glean all of her laid-back mama insights through her blog, which you might not have heard about because she spends more time doing her thing than she does promoting her work. But that’s one of the things that makes her more endearing and definitely more relatable for me—she gets it. She understands the struggle for balance, and she still takes it all in stride.
You’re going to want to go follow along with Mandy’s blog right now at YogaAddiction.blogspot.com. You can thank me later.
13. Desiree Rumbaugh
Desiree Rumbaugh is a phenomenal yoga teacher. Most people know her for her ability to explain concepts from her years of deep study in the Anusara and Iyengar Yoga traditions in a way that most yoga students can understand, relate to, and easily put into practice. She makes it light and fun, too, something that the most serious yoga teachers sometimes seem to find particularly challenging. While I definitely appreciate her teachings, it’s her personal stories that I find the most moving. Desiree often writes about being a mother, her relationship with her daughter (who recently got married and is expecting a child—Desiree’s first grandchild!), and reflects on the lessons she’s learned along the way. Sometimes those lessons have something to do with a yoga concept and sometimes she’s just being real and sharing her heart, which makes me love her even more.
Click on over to her website and read Two Courageous and Empowering Things You Can Do as a Parent.
14. Jennifer Pastiloff
I first heard of Jennifer Pastiloff when she was in the news for creating a Karaoke yoga class—how fun is that? I called her to chat about it for an article, and I was struck by how incredibly warm and sweet she was. I dug a little deeper and discovered that she’s an avid writer and founder of the popular website, Manifest-station and leads writing and yoga retreats. And I LOVE that she does workshops for girls ages 13 and up called “Girl Power: You Are Enough,” we ALL need to hear that message, but teenagers could benefit so much. I’ve been admiring her work from afar for a while. Now that she’s pregnant, I love checking in to her social media feeds to see what she’s up to and her thoughts on the pregnancy. She sums it up beautifully here: “Sometimes we know 100% what we want. Sometimes we don’t get what we want. Life is messy. Letting it be is one of the most profound lessons of my life. With this, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Because the truth is—we think we have control of so much when we actually have control over so so little. Trust more today. Let it be. Tell ‘should’ to fuck off. Mostly don’t be an asshole. Especially to yourself!” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Follow Jennifer on Instagram.