I'm not usually a group activity kind of person,

... but I've been wanting to try one of those baby and me yoga classes. Yesterday, I happened to meet a yoga teacher as I searched for a copy of The Motherhood. The yoga studio was known to carry it, so I stopped in. After helping me find the publication, the warm Erica Furman looked at me and said, "You should come to yoga tomorrow!" So this morning, Josephine and I headed out to Shakti Ma Yoga and Living Arts. ( www.shaktinj.com) I was the first to arrive for the class and a bit early, but I was immediately made to feel comfortable. When I lived in the city and practiced yoga, the rules -- those written and unwritten -- could be overwhelming and intimidating. None of those vibes were in the air at Shakti.

For moms like me, transitioning from a career to maternity leave can be a strange and sometimes lonely proposition. It was neat to see seven moms like me -- looking a little weird in either their too-big maternity clothes or their too-small regular clothes -- enter with their babies and prepare for an hour or so to connect. The babies ranged in age from seven weeks to about five months. We were encouraged to play with our babies as we practiced, to stop and nurse and/or change diapers when necessary, and to include the children in poses when we could. And it was wonderful.

Let's face it. I'm fat and unstylish at the moment, but as I practiced, I felt true beauty well to the surface. As I laughed and giggled with my daughter -- who couldn't figure out why on earth mommy was doing all those crazy things -- I felt great. Even though my muscles and joints were stiff and slow to find each posture, I was happy to be where I was. Surrounded by women experiencing some of the same rites of passage that I am, I was supported. Erica led us through eight sun salutations that left each of us with a glow. I could feel my loose abdomen tightening as I connected with the earth and the sun and moon above.

By the end of the class, many of us were nursing. Babies who had gotten grumpy and fussy were calmed. We OMed together to close. Erica invited everyone to hang out and nurse as long as we wanted. A few of us did and chatted a bit. Josephine nursed until she fell asleep on a soft purple pillow. I think we were all pretty content. There was something about this group that was just what I needed -- something that helped me connect with the world and also with myself.