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The Undeniable Power of Mothers

The journey to becoming a parent is not always easy. Megan Cassamas is here to help.
PUBLISHED ON
October 13, 2023

Words by Angela Salazar
Photos by Kelsey Wisdom

Megan Cassamas is a force of nature—but not the kind you’re probably thinking of.

Strong, yes, without question, but intentional, grounded and open. More like a gently rolling ocean wave than a towering cyclone. Her kind of force is purpose-driven. It’s exactly what makes her so well-suited to her synergistic roles as a yoga instructor, birth doula and health advocate. And it’s what enables her to continually grow the Moja Wellness community she founded while nurturing relationships with her clients, her family, and nature itself. Her newest endeavor is a culmination of everything she’s built up until this point, creating a sacred space for women through her group retreat, Mother Within, which focuses on matrascense—the idea that becoming a mother is an identity shift comparable to adolescence. We recently chatted about all things motherhood, the need for true community belonging and, well, the birth of an idea.

“You see the beautiful pictures on Instagram, but there’s a whole other piece to that. There’s a backstory.”

<div class="quote-attribute">Megan Cassamas</div>

To understand her journey, it’s important to note that Cassamas’s own story isn’t all roses. She openly shares with her 5,600+ Instagram followers that strong emotions weren’t welcome during her upbringing, and that she’s worked hard to build the life and the family that she wants. “You see the beautiful pictures on Instagram, but there’s a whole other piece to that. There’s a backstory,” she says. “I've been through many hardships, and each time it’s been an opportunity to rise up.” Which is precisely why she prioritizes a holistic approach to teaching, encompassing physical, spiritual and mental wellness. Her regular prenatal yoga group classes, which she offers at locations throughout the Monterey Peninsula, are taught in a circle, where students can share their experiences. Tears often flow. 


“In prenatal yoga, I call it the roses and the thorns. It’s the beautiful blossoming part of your pregnancy that’s light and happy and joy, and then the other side that is challenging or is a struggle, or it feels hidden or dark. So many people struggle with pregnancy and postpartum and pre-conception. There’s so much that people don’t talk about because they feel scared that they’re going to be judged,” Cassamas says. “The class space is always a safe container. I make it very clear in the beginning that what is shared is sacred, and it’s confidential.” 


Recognizing the need for delving deeper into the myriad feelings associated with motherhood, Cassamas debuted Mother Within last October, after years of manifesting the idea. “It’s so apparent as a doula and as someone who’s been holding space in prenatal classes, that disconnect of actually paying attention to the moment that you're in, instead of thinking about after the baby comes,” she says. 

“We have to honor the transition to motherhood. Fully embodying that is crucial. The mother is the center of it all, so let’s focus on her and remind her that there are people in her circle.” 

<div class="quote-attribute">Megan Cassamas</div>

The aim of Mother Within is to bring the mother back to the moment—to center her and provide tools for grounding her experience. While many of the retreat’s attendees are expectant parents, others identify as being in the pre-conception phase. Some are already mothers to children of various ages. Bringing together women in different stages of their journeys is important, since matrascense encompasses the full spectrum of changes. “We have to honor the transition to motherhood,” Cassamas says. “Fully embodying that is crucial. The mother is the center of it all, so let’s focus on her and remind her that there are people in her circle.” 


To create an enriching experience, Cassamas wanted to appeal to all the senses. Her first full-day retreat took place in the Del Monte Forest, against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. She invited Dr. Stephanie Faddis of Ouchie ACUPUNCTURE to treat participants to 24k gold ear seeds, acupuncture, and vibrational tuning forks, while postpartum chef Shauna Worthington provided nourishing ayurvedic meals and tea rituals. Yoga was of course practiced, and a connection to nature was paramount, with journaling and meditation woven into the day. A custom-blended candle from Everhart Candle Co., crystals from Inner Rhythms, and cozy beanies and wraps from Carmel’s Tejido were given to each person—all with the idea of setting up their own space at home to continue the practice. “I wanted to tie in all the elements: earth, wind, fire, air, ether. Being in nature can be a teacher in itself,” Cassamas says. “There was also a theme of ritual throughout. Lighting a candle or anointing yourself with oils, even holding a crystal and pouring your intention into that. That’s the sacred little piece you can put on your altar and remind yourself, this is what matters to me.” 


In April, an overnight retreat at The Camp in Carmel Valley expanded on Cassamas’s vision, allowing more time for participants to recharge and bond together, and bringing in additional experiences, including sound healing with Rebecca Wierman, floral arranging with Juni the Flower Truck, and flower essence blending with Sophie Gates


Beyond the retreats, Cassamas hopes Mother Within participants will carry the lessons forward with help from their newfound support system. “We built this community, and a lot of people met each other for the first time. Let’s not just leave it at that. Let’s see what happens, the integration piece. There's an opportunity to continue growing friendships, because that’s really what it’s about.”

Cassamas’s new 8-class series, Mother Circle begins September 17, 2023. Other upcoming offerings include yoga at lululemon Sweat Studio in Monterey (where she’s a brand ambassador), classes at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Earthbound Farm's Farmstand in Carmel Valley, and more. Classes are also available via live stream. For a full schedule, visit moja.yoga or @moja.yoga on Instagram. <img src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/6457f19f1c1e1601e2c9c3f6/6487a9355b63a6818c705cea_CC-Icon--20.svg"alt="CC"height="20" width="20">

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CC moments

Megan Cassamas

01

The thing I appreciate most about living here is

The beautiful nature we have access to and the deep sense of community! I love the fact that I can’t go anywhere without running into a friend.

02

When I want a little adventure I

Go paddle boarding at Carmel River State Beach.

03

I’m always inspired by people who

Are living in alignment with their innermost passions. And I love witnessing local women-owned businesses thrive.

04

My local beauty go-tos are

A facial from Peninsula Glow Medical Spa, a hair cut/color from Blonded By Bre, and lip paints made by Tassajara Outpost.

05

I always take visitors to

Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand in Carmel Valley, for a hike up Soberanes Canyon Trail, and Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove for a picnic.

06

Insider tip

Go to the Refuge and do the thermal cycle with hot and cold plunge pools at least three times to feel absolutely amazing!

07

CC moments

Megan Cassamas

01

The thing I appreciate most about living here is

The beautiful nature we have access to and the deep sense of community! I love the fact that I can’t go anywhere without running into a friend.

02

When I want a little adventure I

Go paddle boarding at Carmel River State Beach.

03

I’m always inspired by people who

Are living in alignment with their innermost passions. And I love witnessing local women-owned businesses thrive.

04

My local beauty go-tos are

A facial from Peninsula Glow Medical Spa, a hair cut/color from Blonded By Bre, and lip paints made by Tassajara Outpost.

05

I always take visitors to

Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand in Carmel Valley, for a hike up Soberanes Canyon Trail, and Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove for a picnic.

06

Insider tip

Go to the Refuge and do the thermal cycle with hot and cold plunge pools at least three times to feel absolutely amazing!

07

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