A YogaKids DVD was the first television I allowed my son some seven years ago. Since then, he and his little sister have been to a handful of kids and family yoga classes, and a day of yoga camp. This summer, my daughter had a delightful yoga birthday party at which her older brother showed off his knowledge of poses and Sanskrit phrases. They are not without some yoga knowledge.
But truth be told, though I try to practice daily on my own, yoga has remained something of an extra rather than an integral part of my parenting. It’s always there in the background in theory, but in practice, when I’m working so hard just to stay well by cooking all the time and am also staying involved in volunteer efforts whose higher goal is health and well-being for families, I don’t always ooze groundedness at home. I never have, anywhere. This really is a lifetime journey.
Enter the first National Kids Yoga Conference conference this past weekend! As if it weren’t inspiring enough just to interview the organizers, I emerged from the conference in awe of the many benefits of yoga for children and bowled over by the numerous strategies out there to make yoga accessible to young ones. It was truly transformative. I hope and believe that my parenting – my life – will never be the same.
At the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27, we learned about many wonderful recording artists, authors and others providing support for yoga with children and providing training.
Check out this list of Resources for Children’s Yoga taken from the conference exhibitors, sponsors and speakers and organizations mentioned by speakers and exhibitors.
The organizers of the first National Kids Yoga Conference are moms who putting their mindfulness skills in practice with every step of planning toward the Saturday, September 27 event at George Washington University’s School of Public Health.
I’ve long admired the work and commitment of lil omm yoga studio owner Pleasance Silicki and Michelle Kelsey Mitchell, co-founder of the Alexandria-based non-profit organization YoKid. When I spoke with them about how they’ve managed to pull off such a huge endeavor, I got even more inspired.
Some of the best summer options for kids are the ones planned by passionate people in the promising weeks of spring, long after special issues of camp round-ups have gone to press and summer fairs have introduced hopeful parents to what seem like the only options. Not so, as I learned when I put together a list of unique camps and yoga camps for the summer, a compendium I hope to grow next year.
It had been a while since I had seen owner Suzanne Leitner-Wise, the leader of a fabulous yoga retreat I went on when I was seventh months pregnant in 2010, and I hadn’t yet made it to her gorgeous new studio. Talk about light and airy! And its front room contains two beautiful couches and a lovely array of clothing, books, jewelry and art.
The camp was planned as a weeklong experience but also offered a drop-in daily option, which worked great for us since we had other afternoon commitments a few of the days this week. It’s important to me that my kids learn to see yoga as a fun and healthy way to feel centered and grounded. And sometimes, they need to see that from another person! (I hope to learn more and get inspired to integrate yoga into our home life more this fall at the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27).
My children attended 532’s Kids Corner yoga camp on Monday and had a great time. When I arrived early for pick-up, energetic and bubbly teacher Lisa Sonntag — a special education teacher in Fairfax County, a certified yoga teacher, and an experienced camp counselor — said she could not believe how quickly the time flew. “Miss Lisa” shared that the children did an early savasana after a first half of class full of active asanas, or poses,
They then moved on to snack and crafts, including braiding yarn and making and coloring a “You Can Do Yoga” booklet and an accompanying coloring book/journal to be used through the week.
I sat with the class as Lisa closed that first day with a reading (peppered by lively discussion) of the Dr. Seuss book, My Many-Colored Days, which associates different emotions with different colors.
During the class, while I enjoyed some kid-free time at the Starbucks across the street, I sent Lisa some questions for further reflection.
In addition to accepting drop-ins through this session’s final day, July 18, 532Yoga will repeat this kids camp with Lisa Sonntag the week of August 4-8. Interested parties can contact the studio to inquire about a sibling discount or register through the workshops page on its scheduling site.
Disclosure: I received a discount on drop-in tuition for my two children in exchange for writing this post and sharing information about the camp.
When an email from lil omm yoga studio recently landed in my In box listing its upcoming family-friendly classes, my jaw dropped at all the offerings! I promptly asked if I could steal the info and post it all here!
If you’ve never been to lil omm, north of Tenleytown and south of Friendship Heights on Wisconsin Ave. in NW DC, it’s a truly beautiful place. There are great classes and workshops that can be enjoyed by anyone as well as classes that cater to families with young children and opportunities for mothers to refresh and renew.
Even though I have a hard time even making it to a studio a few miles from me, lil omm got me out last January to see author Katrina Kenison, in April to journal with Abundant Mama Shawn Fink, and last month to sit and practice with Zen Buddhist priest and author Karen Maezen Miller.
During the weeks my kids are not in camp this summer, I’m also hoping to get to studio for a class by myself while they are in childcare (limit of 5 kids and offered for select classes, as seen on the lil omm schedule) or for a “Yoga Flow/Playtime” class when my kids can participate or play. There are also Saturday Family Yoga classes (ages 3-8) and a new “Backyard Bootcamp” that studio owner Pleasance Silicki is hosting out of her NW home on Thursday mornings (kids welcome). We have aged out of the Baby & Me and Movers & Tots classes, but check out the Class Description page to see all those offerings and more, including prenatal and postnatal.
In addition to these regular offerings, here is what else is coming up at lil omm this summer and fall!
Downward Doll Yoga (ages 3-6) – Sat 10/18 @ 2:30-3:30. Drop off your kiddo and his/her favorite doll or stuffed animal for a fun-filled, spirited yoga class followed by tea and cookies!
Lil omm is also teaming up with YoKid to put on the first National Kids Yoga Conference on Saturday, September 27, 2014. Read more about the conference here on the lil omm blog and check out this opportunity to sponsor a teen to attend!
Beloved Yoga’s sixth Love Your Body Day on Sunday, June 8, was truly full of love. The outdoor yoga festival kicked off Virginia Yoga Week with several different classes of yoga outside in the main plaza of Reston Town Center complemented by vendor tents from businesses devoted to health and well-being.
The festival makes yoga accessible through its free classes and brings in dozens of vendors to support people in their healing and wellness journeys. Donations made at the free event go to Cornerstones, formerly Reston Interfaith, a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services.
When I asked Beloved Yoga owner Maryam Ovissi last year about her reasons for organizing the event, she said: “All Yoga festivals and events usually have one object to bring the commUNITY together to celebrate. However my underlying motivation for creating this event is to allow us (yoga studios/wellness studios) a way to release competition among ourselves. There is enough for everyone in this world and those of us who are committed to bring wellness, healing to the community need to see how we are serving together for the Highest Good. There is not just one way and therefore we have many different lineages and practices in the yoga and wellness community! We celebrate them ALL!”
Last year, I took my then two-year-old daughter to Love Your Body Day where we enjoyed participating in the children’s yoga tent, which offers a full day of classes and activities.
This year, I left both kids at home so I could enjoy a solo yoga practice, but I picked up several brochures about children’s yoga, including the upcoming National Kids Yoga Conference in September co-organized by YoKid and lil omm.
Doing yoga in the open air with more than a hundred other people was a beautiful way to start a Sunday morning. Maryam began a great opening practice accompanied by David Newman’s live music, including the song “Thinking of You” to which we all joined our voices in singing “Be bold, be free, be beautiful, believe, be love, be true to you.” I felt the hum of everyone’s energy when there are literal live vibrations coming from the stage, especially with the song’s message that we are all connected and thinking of one another.
I hope we can go as a family next year so that my children and husband can be part of this group connection. Chanting with live music – in this opening class and also with the kirtan in the bhaki tent — changed my inner vibration and my outlook. I want my kids to see people this blissed out more often. I want to be this blissed out more often! Love Your Body Day reminded me that I have the power to get to a peaceful and connected place whenever I want.
Want a piece of the bliss? There are $5 classes at studios around Northern Virginia through Sunday, June 15 and other related Virginia Yoga Week events. On Saturday, June 14 (rain date June 28) from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. will be the free Yoga in the Fresh Air event in Old Town Alexandria’s Montgomery Park, 2 Montgomery Street. Organized by River’s Edge Yoga and presented in part by Yogis for Positive Change, the event will include outdoor yoga and a wine tasting and will kick off Be Well Virginia June 20-September 20. That solstice-to-equinox program will feature several free events, food drives (for people and for pets), and $5 classes to raise money for four charities: Carpenter’s Shelter, Cornerstones, Smashing Walnuts and Yoga Gives Back.
Note: Due to soggy conditions this week, Yoga In the Fresh Air may be postponed to June 28. Check the Virginia Yoga Week Facebook page or call 571-218-2161 after 12 noon on June 14th for a recorded message about the status of the event.
Also on Saturday the 14th, at Sterling Library from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will be a free session of yoga, music and meditation as an introduction to the Happiness Program of The Art of Living Foundation. Space is limited for that one, so RSVP here or email kumblepradeep (at) gmail (d0t) com or call 480-332-2297. See the Virginia Yoga Week Facebook page for updates.
Looking ahead to 2015, expect another Love Your Baby Day around Mother’s Day next year at Beloved Yoga. This year’s inaugural event helped connect new and expectant parents with their inner wisdom and to groups and businesses that can support them in their parenting and holistic health journey.
And in the more recent future, if you know of a yoga camp that still has space available this summer, please share it in the comments, email jessica (at) mindfulhealthylife (dot) com, or post it on our Facebook page and I’ll include in a compilation posting next week.
If you’ve been meaning to get back into yoga classes but needed an incentive — like, say, a free class — be sure to enjoy some of the great opportunities with DC Yoga Week. Starting today, April 28, and lasting through Sunday, May 4, you’ll be able to try free and reduced price classes and special opportunities with the DC Yoga Week partners listed below.
On Saturday, May 3, participate in a huge group yoga event: Yoga on The Mall, beginning at 10:00 a.m. with Kids Yoga. The main event runs 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon and will feature internationally known yoga teacher Shiva Rea. The event takes place at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall between the long reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and Constitution Avenue (closest Metro Foggy Bottom).
DC Yoga Week April 28-May 4, 2014 Partners
- 532 Yoga
- Ayiti Yoga – Haiti Outreach
- Birkram Yoga Bethesda
- Birkram Yoga Capitol Hill
- Bikram Yoga Dupont Circle
- Bikram Yoga Tenleytown
- Blue Nectar Yoga
- Buddha B Yoga Center
- Capitol Hill Yoga
- Centeredbeing Studio
- Circle Yoga Cooperative
- CorePower Yoga
- DARE Yoga
- Dancing Mind Yoga
- Down Dog Power Yoga
- East Meets West Yoga Center
- Embrace Yoga DC
- Flow Yoga Center
- Honest Soul Yoga
- Leyla Kenny at Glen Echo Park
- Little River Yoga
- Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga
- Mind Your Body Oasis
- PIES Fitness Yoga Studio
- Refresh Yoga Center
- Sage Yoga
- Samantha Dublin
- Simon Says Yoga
- Spark Yoga
- Sun and Moon Yoga Studio
- The Studio Cooperative
- The Studio DC Yoga Center
- Tranquil Space
- Unity Woods Yoga Center
- Willow Street Yoga
- Yoga District
- Yoga Heights