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The Sama Mama

Bay Area Yoga, Reiki, and Postpartum Care with Stephanie Sandleben

The Sama Mama

Bay Area Yoga, Reiki, and Postpartum Care with Stephanie Sandleben

The Sama Mama

Bay Area Yoga, Reiki, and Postpartum Care with Stephanie Sandleben

Who Am I?

sa - ma (Sanskrit), n. harmony, equality, balanced state of mind, calmness
ma - ma (English), n. mother, teacher, healer, tantrum tamer

My love for Yoga began as a teenager growing up in Prescott, Arizona. Nurtured by my hippie parents—a Kripalu-inspired Yogini and Sufi Sheikh—it grew into a lifelong passion that took root in New York City and now the Bay Area. With 15 years of experience nationally and abroad, my teaching style blends movement and alignment informed by my studies of dance, creative vinyasa, and Iyengar yoga.

I’m inspired by a multitude of gifted teachers—Alison West, Tias & Surya Little, A.G. and Indra Mohan, Schuyler Grant, Alison Sinatra, Elena Brower, and Nikki Costello—along with my travels to India, Amma, Reiki, and (most importantly!) my students.


My daughter’s birth began the next chapter in my path of service and ignited a deep desire to help women and families during the early postpartum period. Completing Postpartum Doula certification through San Francisco’s Natural Resources, I offer support and healing sessions for women that combine Pelvic Floor Yoga, Reiki, and Rebozo (traditional body wrapping).

Certification & Training

Yoga Union 200-Hour Teacher Certification
Alison West / Manhattan NY

Prajna Yoga, Sessions I–III 200-Hour Teacher Training
Tias and Surya Little / Boston MA and Santa Fe NM

Providence Institute 100-Hour Teacher Training
Tucson AZ

Pelvic Floor Yoga Certification
Leslie Howard / Oakland CA

Reiki Level 1, 2 and Masters Certification
Padma Gonzalez and Maria Soalise
Usui Shiki Ryoho / Manhattan NY

“Yoga is a work-in, not a work-out.”

A.G. Mohan


Yoga is both the practice and state achieved—the map and the destination. The word Yoga comes from of the Sanskrit root yuj which means to bind, join, and yoke. It also translates to union or communion. According to Patanjali, it is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. The living tradition of Yoga originating from the Indus-Sarasvati civilization is thousands of years old and continues to flourish around the world in modern day because our human condition is the same. We share a common desire for sustainable peace, health, and contentment.

Studio Schedule

10:45 am - 12 pm
Hatha Level 1-2

707 El Cerrito Plaza
El Cerrito CA 94530

Private Sessions

Yoga is ideally a personal practice tailored to your unique experiences and specific abilities. I offer private and semi-private sessions that are beneficial to practitioners of all levels seeking an individualized approach to yoga. These can be especially helpful to those new to yoga who prefer one-on-one attention instead of a group class, and/or are working with injuries.

Pelvic Floor Yoga

Therapeutic Yoga to help alleviate pelvic floor pain for pregnant, postpartum, and menopausal women including postpartum trauma, urinary incontinence, and organ prolapse. Sessions combine postures and breathwork (pranayama) to engage and alleviate tension of the pelvic floor muscles.

“Just for today, don’t get angry. Just for today, don’t worry. Just for today, be grateful. Just for today, work hard. Just for today, be kind.”

Dr. Mikao Usui


Reiki is a form of energetic healing that utilizes the natural life force that moves in and around us. Originated in Japan by Dr. Mikao Usui in the 1920s, this universal life force is a healing, harmonizing energy with its own innate intelligence that is communicated through gentle touch. Reiki is a safe, simple, and natural method that brings balance to our physical, mental, and emotional states. When practiced regularly can revitalize and restore balance to the body, mind, and spirit.

Reiki Helps:

Relax and reduce stress / Strengthen the immune system / Accelerate the healing process / Purify and eliminate toxins / Balance emotions / Mental clarity / Promote personal and spiritual growth / Works well in conjunction with other medical therapies to relieve side effects and promote recovery

“What are the greatest qualities of a mother? Love, forgiveness, and patience.”


Postpartum Healing

After giving birth I received amazing care which inspired me to work with women to help them reconnect physically, emotionally, and energetically after birth. Throughout the world various cultures view the first 30-40 days following birth a crucial time of healing for the new mother. Certain protocols are followed, like a “lying-in” period along with nourishing foods, and bodywork to restore and rebuild health while the mother bonds with her baby.

In honor of these traditional practices, I offer Yoga and healing for new mothers to help assimilate the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. Sessions combine modalities along with creating a realistic and suitable daily practice for the demands of motherhood.


Therapeutic yoga brings awareness and restoration after pregnancy and birth, and includes exercises for the pelvic floor, core muscles, thoracic spine and neck, to strengthen and release tension.


The new mother is systemically wrapped one body part at a time with a sturdy cotton scarf starting at her head and ending at the feet. This practice helps the mother reinhabit her new shape, and redefine her physical and emotional boundaries.


Hands-on healing with Reiki calms the sympathetic nervous system which can be in overdrive after the adrenalin of childbirth and meeting your new baby (see Reiki section for more info).

Postpartum Doula

My transition into motherhood was both joyful and tumultuous; through it all I received support from amazing women who instilled confidence in my abilities to care and feed my newborn. I’m excited and honored to offer assistance and guidance for new families as they welcome, bond, and nest with their new little ones.

What is a postpartum doula?

A Postpartum doula provides in-home support and guidance during the “4th Trimester” for the whole family. I’m there to listen, answer questions, and provide assurance in a gentle, non-judgemental way. I encourage and assist both parents to develop their own unique parenting style. My role is to nurture and “mother the mother” so mom feels supported during this monumental change.


Maternal care for emotional and physical recovery from labor / Evidence based breastfeeding support including latch and positioning / Newborn care education and soothing techniques / Baby wearing instruction with wraps, slings and structured carriers / Sibling care and transition for a family welcoming next child / Nutritional information on nourishing foods for postpartum / Meal preparation and light housekeeping / Home organization and setting up nursing and diaper stations / Help the mother rest / Accompanying mother and infant to doctor appointments / Unlimited phone and email support

"Every moment is our teacher. Each child, each circumstance, each breath is our teacher. It is all here, waiting to be embraced right now, in this moment."

Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn

Retreats, Workshops, and Community Service

None currently scheduled, but here's a sampling of past events:

"Awe is what moves us forward."

Joseph Campbell

Contact & Booking


Yoga, Reiki, and Postpartum Healing

Private sessions range from 60 to 90 minutes depending on the client’s needs. Consistency is key for healing so all modalities are recommended to be done in a series. Treatment packages are tailored to fit your life and gift certificates are available for loved ones (like new moms!). Reiki Level 1 & 2 workshops available for small group/private trainings.

Postpartum Doula

The initial in-person interview is complimentary. Postpartum care begins after the birth of your baby for a minimum of 2 hours per day for as many days or weeks as you choose. Frequency and duration is based on the personal needs of your family. Ideally, families hire a Postpartum Doula before the baby is born so support is in place when the baby arrives. Doula services can be combined with private yoga sessions and Reiki (Yoga and Reiki are priced separately). A sliding scale is available for those with financial limitations and past client referrals available upon request.

Photography © 2016 A LITTLE PHOTO STUDIO. Remaining content © 2016 Stephanie Sandleben.