It was 2004, and Sarah Longacre was in the passenger seat of the U-Haul that her mom was driving across the Midwest in the middle of the night. Sarah wore a headlamp so that she could read aloud Peggy Vincent’s Baby Catcher—a memoir by a midwife, relating birth stories.
She was leaving behind her friends and cushy job at Nike, and speeding headlong into a new life as a doula on staff at Hennepin County Medical Center. “Those were some long, lonely nights, getting paged at 3 a.m.,” Longacre recounts, blue eyes sparkling, dimples on display.
Her life seems anything but lonesome these days. Spend five minutes with her in the lobby at Blooma, and you will see that years after receiving her yoga training and doula certification, she’s received as the Oprah of the Twin Cities Mama yogi scene: hugs, kisses, tears, and stories spill from women streaming in and out between classes. Long-acre is attentive, asking all the right questions, remembering details, and radiating calmness despite the fact that her prenatal and mother-focused yoga and wellness center, Blooma, is undergoing the final push before birthing two new locations: one in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood.
“When these moms step on their mats, I hope they finally get to say hello to themselves,” she says, following up with an impressive string of unprintable expletives as she addresses the pressure moms feel to do it all. It’s this dichotomy that makes Longacre much more authentic than Oprah will ever be to most women.
It was while working as a doula with a predominately non-English speaking mommy constituency that Longacre realized she was essentially teaching yoga during birth. So, channeling her freight-train personality, she launched into certification and training, teaching yoga classes at a church before meetings of the Childbirth Collective, an organization that provides free childbirth education to Twin Cities residents. It wasn’t long before a friend begged her to “do something for the rest of us.”
Just like that, Blooma was born. “People are not going to be disappointed by Blooma,” she says. “They won’t get tired of the laughing, dancing, and squatting; the wiping of tears”—of which there are plenty during Longacre’s hour-and-fifteen-minute prenatal classes. Each class begins with a little sharing: about strengths, fears, that fight we’ve had with our partner, the push-pull of careers and motherhood.
“When we talk about the future, we want to tell our children that they were brought up in so much love,” she says. “That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but with the right community, they will be more prepared to handle the messiness. It’s a prayer we take from the mat and into our families.”
Blooma: 3 Things to Know
1. New yogis get a month of unlimited full-menu yoga programming for just $58.
2. Blooma offers massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture, plus childbirth workshops.
3. Two locations: 5315 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.; 493 Selby Ave., St. Paul; blooma.com