carrie parker gastelu

A dedicated mother and pioneer in the prenatal yoga field, Carrie Parker Gastelu is a supreme inspiration. In addition to being a renowned yoga instructor, Carrie is the director of the new YogaWorks 40-hour Prenatal Teacher Training program set to launch this spring. Supplementing her work teaching prenatal yoga and teacher training courses, Carrie is also a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator. She teaches yoga-centered childbirth education to students, offering a holistic approach that prepares women for birth and motherhood. 

Carrie believes her work is especially important given the current state of our society. “In our modern culture, we have grown out of sync with nature,” she explains. “This has greatly affected the experience of pregnancy, birth and motherhood, which are inherently primal and instinctual. Women have increasingly relied on sources outside of themselves for knowledge that innately lies within. I believe all females already know how to give birth and nurture a baby. It’s in our cellular make-up and our birthright as women.”

Carrie credits her yoga practice for the ability to tap into her instinctual awareness, the capacity to trust the process of birth and her relaxation into motherhood. After three “life-changing” home births, she thoughtfully reflects, “Had I not practiced yoga before I became pregnant, I don’t know that I would have had the courage to follow my intuition. After the births of my children, I was able to recognize the slow, repetitive nature of early motherhood as being inherently meditative.”

Carrie believes one of prenatal yoga’s greatest gifts is the development of mindfulness. It helps a new mother relax and become more connected to her baby. While Carrie celebrates all aspects of motherhood, she does use the yoga classes she instructs as an avenue to educate expectant mothers on the challenges of this role. “The slow pace and monotony of caring for an infant can be a difficult adjustment to make,” says Carrie. “We live in a culture that demands we race around. Yoga teaches us how to slow down, tune in and be mindful of the moment-to-moment attachments occurring between mother and baby.”

Carrie created the YogaWorks Prenatal Program based on her own instinctual philosophies on life and motherhood. She incorporates the doctrines of contemporary medicine along with ancient teachings surrounding birthing. Together, these elements form a rich, nurturing, safe, and healthy asana practice. Carrie inspires women to rely on their inner strength, courage, and intuition in order to best experience a peaceful and empowering pregnancy, birth, and transition into motherhood.  

Jillian Pransky weaves mindfulness techniques and breath-based yoga flow with an emphasis on moving yoga and meditation into everyday life.

A Closer Look…

  1. What is your favorite pose?
    Paschimottanasa, or seated forward bend. I love the feeling of bowing to my heart with surrender when my life feels too busy.
  2. What is your least favorite pose?
    Fish. It feels awkward to tip my head back in that way. 
  3. What are you currently struggling with the most in your yoga practice?
    Practicing asana. I have a six-week-old and two other children. My yoga practice at this moment is very much off the mat!
  4. Name one involuntary change that has occurred in your life as a result of yoga.
    Having faith in”¯my instincts, even when I”¯am unsure of where they are leading me. 
  5. How are you contributing to the one change you want to see in this world? 
    I am raising my children consciously.”¯”¯”¯
  6. What mantra speaks to you most?
    Om Namah Shivaya. It is a reminder”¯to continually surrender to the higher self. 
  7. What is your favorite indulgence?
    I have been on and off coffee for years. Coffee is winning the battle right now!”¯
  8. What word in the entire English language embodies your essence?
  9. If you could teach anyone in the world, who would it be?
    I would love to work with mothers in crisis. Yoga has so many tools for them to interrupt negative thought patterns, which can be so destructive.”¯ 
  10. Above all else, what is the one thing you want your students to step away with after your class?
    Empowerment to”¯follow their instincts!

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