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Wyckoff Yogi Teaches Expecting Moms Techniques For Birthing Table

"Healthy mom, healthy baby," is Rivera's philosophy. Photo Credit: Stacey Ilyse Photography
Cecilia Rivera, of Hawthorne, helps a mom-to-be during her prenatal yoga class in Wyckoff. Photo Credit: Stacey Ilyse Photography
A yogi in Cecilia Rivera's class poses with her baby. Photo Credit: Stacey Ilyse Photography
Mahwah resident Karen Calabrese, far right, with Diana Reinkraut, far left, and Jessica Bruett with their babies before a yoga class with Rivera. Photo Credit: Cecilia Rivera
A new mom and her baby during Cecilia Rivera's Mommy and Me class. Photo Credit: Stacey Ilyse Photography
Expecting moms stretch out during Hawthorne resident Cecilia Rivera's prenatal yoga class. Photo Credit: Stacey Ilyse Photography

WYCKOFF, N.J. — The techniques that Karen Calabrese practiced in Cecilia Rivera’s Wyckoff prenatal yoga classes kept her cool as a cucumber right up until her C-section.

With her legs crossed beneath her and her hands on her knees, Calabrese, of Mahwah, kept her muscles and mind at ease on the birthing table moments before doctors injected anesthesia into her spine.

"The nurse asked the doctor if I was allowed to sit like that," Calabrese said. "He said he'd never seen a woman sit more still."

Formerly a full-time accountant, Rivera, of Hawthorne, became a certified yoga instructor in 2011 to be able to make her own hours once she became a new mom.

She taught all styles of yoga before falling in love with prenatal and her mommy and me classes, which she teaches exclusively four times a week at Wyckoff’s First Impressions 3D/4D’s ultrasound studio.

“My classes are so much more than yoga,” said Rivera, compared her classes to the bonds formed between strangers traveling together to a new place. “That’s very similar to yoga because these women are all in the same, strange stage in life but are coming to the class create wonderful friendships.”

Rivera opens each class with a meet-and-greet followed by an open discussion initiated by the new and expecting moms. Based on the topics that come up during the introduction, Rivera leads her guests in related, modified postures designed for pregnant women.

She designates a portion of the class to techniques like gentle hip circles that will aid her clients in easy— if not relaxing — deliveries.

Rivera can expect to see a lot more of Calabrese and her 4-month-old baby girl in the coming months.

“I took a prenatal yoga class with no expectations,” the first-time mom said.

“It was a complete mind, body and spirit connection for me to the point where I’d like to take the mommy and baby yoga classes, and then continue taking yoga thereafter.”

Cecilia Rivera's Yoga Classes:

-Prenatal: Wednesdays 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays 8:45 a.m.

-Mommy & Baby: Wednesdays 10 a.m.

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