As a maternity photographer in three cities, I have met many women in the business world in San Francisco, Seattle and New York who also cater to this wonderful population of women. So many of these women business owners should be famous because of all they do, and have been doing for years and years and years. Theirs is a calling; they are the rock stars of the birth community who have dedicated their entire life to serving mothers. Kari Marble is one of them. Wherever you go in SF you will run into a mother she has taught yoga to, or done massage or more. Her story needs to be told.
1) Tell me a little bit about you, where you are from, family etc. Anything that is special to you.
Born in Germany and raised in Los Angeles, I fell in love with the Bay Area and claimed it as home when I came here for college. After eight years living in Washington DC, Australia and Ecuador doing international work in my 20s, I returned to San Francisco in 1997 with my husband Craig and we have happily resided here since. Living in the Presidio has been our perfect blend of having access to an amazing city while living immersed in nature, surrounded by the ocean, bay, hiking and biking trails, trees, coyotes, owls and blue herons. Time in nature on my own and with my loved ones is essential to me, as is yoga, meditation, learning, music and chanting. We have a 14 year old daughter Kaya and 11 year old son Jaiden. They have been our muses, inspiring us to make both major and subtle life changes in order to bring them into the world, to create a fulfilling and balanced life to share together, and to devote ourselves to this profound work with women, couples and families.
2) Tell me about your business, how you got started and why you were drawn to this profession of working with pregnant women and mothers?
About my business…I have had a private practice for 15 years specializing in women’s health and the childbearing year. I offer prenatal and postnatal massage (incorporating deep tissue, swedish, neuromuscular reprogramming and craniosacral therapy), prenatal and postnatal yoga, birth education in the form of yoga and massage for labor workshops and Calm Birth / Calm Mother meditation and deep relaxation workshops, and infant massage classes to support bonding and optimal health. I teach at wonderful local gems such as The Mindful Body, Yoga Tree, Natural Resources, and Carmel Blue as well as the hospital California Pacific Medical Center. I also offer prenatal/postnatal teacher trainings, private classes, and non-baby related gentle/therapeutic yoga classes and massage for women. My husband Craig, an acupuncturist also specializing in women’s health, teaches group birth classes with me. (Details are on my website www.WelcomeOm.com).
How I got started…I have loved nurturing touch since childhood and began my yoga path at age 21. Before I made healing arts my profession, I worked 70-80 hour weeks with high stress and extensive travel for 10 years, which took its toll on my overall vitality and hormonal balance even though I loved the work. I realized I would not conceive a child under such circumstances, and began to deepen my yoga practice, exercise regularly again, spend more time in nature, explore ways to change my relationship to stressors, and work to balance my endocrine system with these shifts along with new nutrition awareness and the help of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I also entered an evening and weekend therapeutic massage training to learn more about how conscious bodywork can facilitate the body’s learning, healing and transformation. I resonated deeply with all I learned and was inspired to open a massage practice and to scale back on my previous work. After about a year I was blessed to conceive our daughter.
While pregnant I naturally worked more and more with pregnant women in my massage practice as I directly experienced the immense physical relief and sense of ease, lightness of spirit, and well-being that massage could bring. Practicing yoga during my pregnancy was magic – I experienced yoga’s gifts of a strong, steady and open mind, body and heart on a whole new level, and knew I wanted to share these tools with other pregnant women. I began teaching prenatal yoga when my baby was just 6 weeks old, followed soon after by postnatal yoga, and knew I had come home. I love working with pregnant women. I love their radiance, juiciness, beautiful shape, strength, and vulnerability. I love seeing how yoga, massage and birth preparation rooted in yoga’s ancient wisdom contribute to their awakening to themselves and opening to the unknown and to transformation. In the past 15 years I have had the awesome opportunity to share yoga and massage with many hundreds of women and babies. My growth into other forms of yoga and meditation, bodywork, birth education, infant massage, and teacher training evolved organically out of my ongoing practice and study both with extraordinary teachers and independently, my life experience with my own children and my own body, including injuries and aging, learning to manage the pressures of working and raising children, and the desire to create a safe, loving community for moms and families.
3) Please tell share with me some of your important life philosophies and values, one or two…
Cultivate patience, inner friendliness, and compassion. Find what brings you back to your center, to a sense of joy and deep connection with Self, and make sure you do it regularly. That may be yoga, meditation, runs, walks, hikes, cooking, surfing, dancing, singing, journaling, anything that brings you back to your inner steadiness, clear perception and remembering that you do not have to identify yourself with your thoughts, emotions, circumstances, or conditioning.The benefits will ripple out beyond you to reach your family and all you interact with and will give you the resilience you need to get through the times in parenthood and in life that feel like they challenge you to the bone. This is a lifelong practice.
4) Please feel free to add anything else here which could include something that has influenced you in your life, any wisdom that you wish to impart that maybe wasn’t included in the other questions.
My mother raised me with unconditional love and encouraged me to be intrepid about life and to place the highest value on love, truth, and relationship. And she moved to San Francisco when we birthed our first child, which greatly facilitated my change of careers at that time. My husband has also fully supported me in every way and always encouraged me to trust my capacities and to fully integrate my heart and passion into my work. He is the brightest light, full of sweetness and silliness and an absolute joy to parent with, work with, and share life with.
For more information on Kari:
Kari Marble, MA, ERYT, RPYT, CMT, CIIM
Yoga, Massage and Meditation for the Childbearing Year and Beyond