Courtesy of Blair Fillingham

Blair Fillingham's MTRNL Brings Live, Virtual Yoga Classes To New & Expecting Moms So You Never Have To Feel Alone

Ad failed to load

For many women, finding time for self care often takes a backseat to juggling the responsibilities that come along with their careers and motherhood. That juggle can lead to feeling lonely, tired, and extremely stressed out. Blair Fillingham started, an online, interactive yoga studio that specializes in prenatal and postnatal classes for mothers, in an attempt to address those feelings. The Australian-born mother of two, who is one of Romper's 2017 Made It Award honorees, has literally made it her business to give new and expectant moms time to recharge and connect with others.

Fillingham's journey to starting MTRNL began, like so many startup journeys do, while she was still working a corporate job. She had always enjoyed yoga as a way to exercise and unwind, but after years climbing the proverbial ladder, she decided to switch gears and begin teaching prenatal yoga classes in Downtown Seattle. "Logically, I knew I would be earning a lot more money in the corporate world. But I just had this gut feeling that it wasn’t enough of a reason to be away from my children. I needed a really good reason to put them into day care," Fillingham recalls. But when her family found their dream house in a small town 35 minutes outside of the city, Fillingham decided her career needed another reboot. She loved teaching yoga, but found that the commute to Seattle was cutting into the time she had to spend with her husband and daughters, Kendall, 5, and Matilda, 3. After a lot of reflection and conversations with her husband and trusted mentors, Fillingham decided to open her own yoga studio on their 5-acre property.

I can't talk to my students about the importance of self-care unless I do my own practice
Ad failed to load

However, she didn't want to limit access to her classes to people who could physically walk into her studio. So Fillingham started researching ways to create an online yoga class for her students. Determined to be more than just a resource for pre-recorded class videos, with, Fillingham has been able to create a virtual community in which the classes are conducted live and allow for direct communication and support for her students. In addition to demonstrating postures, she makes sure to make time for her students introduce to themselves to one another and share how they're feeling with the group. "Pregnant women and new moms just really want to be heard and to have someone know how they’re feeling," Fillingham says.

And the concept is catching on. Fillingham notes that her students come from all over the globe — from her native Australia to small towns across the United States. She loves that her online classes gives moms, who may not have time or the convenient access to a yoga studio, an outlet to practice.

While launching a new business can be hard enough on its own, Fillingham makes a conscious effort to make sure she doesn't let her work interfere with her time with family. "I have to be clear on limiting how much time I work, and about how much time I really need to get things done. I will let [my kids] watch Moana if I have a deadline or something. But generally when I’m with them, I’m all in, 100 percent," Fillingham says.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Blair Fillingham

With all of the time she spends caring for her family and teaching her classes, Fillingham still manages to squeeze in a little time for herself, by taking a weekly ninety-minute yoga class with one of her favorite teachers after she drops her children off at school. She encourages other moms to schedule in time for self-care the same way they would a business meeting or a haircut. "I can't talk to my students about the importance of self-care unless I do my own practice," she says.

Fillingham's advice to other moms looking to launch their own businesses is to listen to their hearts. "Talk to your mentors. Find people in your community and build a network of people you can talk to about your ideas," she says.

Ad failed to load
I’m creating a reason for us all to hang out together.

Going forward, Fillingham hopes to expand her community and encourage more moms to join in on the classes. She'd also like to be an advocate for issues that impact mothers, including proposing a new maternity leave policy for the United States. She feels lucky to have found a way to share her love of yoga with other moms and moms-to-be in a way that works for her family.

"I’m the teacher, but I really just see myself as creating this space and holding this space for everyone to come together. I’m creating a reason for us all to hang out together," Fillingham says.

Ad failed to load

To get to know Fillingham better, check out her Romper Screenshot below:

Ad failed to load
Fillingham grows lavender in the medicinal garden on her property. Here, her latest harvest hangs in the dining room. Image courtesy of Blair Fillingham

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack