Spring Yoga & Pilates Classes Enrolling Now

Tot Yoga - class for baby and toddler crawling to 2, with parentsJoin us for spring and summer kids and preteen/teen or early childhood and family yoga classes:

Early Childhood & Family Classes

Our early childhood classes are offered in 6-week series for $96,  Sibling/multiple registration/sibling discount automatically applied at checkout. No drop-ins. Students who must miss a class or a family member can take a makeup in any other appropriate class, including adult yoga or Pilates classes. Up to two parents may attend these classes with the registered child.

Tot - downdogPreschooler Yoga welcomes younger siblings: 12-21 month old siblings may register for 1/2 price; no charge for non-walking infants. Enroll your 21-month-4 year-old and then contact us about adding your younger child.

Kids, Tweens and Teens

Sunday afternoon kids and preteen classes are cancelled due to low enrollment. Help us decide the best time to offer these classes in the fall by completing our survey.

Our kids to teen classes are offered in 7 and 8-week series. Sibling/multiple registration/sibling discount automatically applied at checkout. No drop-ins. Students who must miss a class or a family member can take a makeup in any other appropriate class, including adult yoga or Pilates classes. Classes for kids and teens are for participants only. Family members are kindly asked not to watch class.

Prenatal and Postnatal

  • Baby & Me YogaBaby & Me Yoga - 1 (newborn to pre-crawling, blend of activities for baby and postpartum appropriate yoga for mom/caregiver)
    Tue @ 11:30 am, Sat @ 10:30 am

Our prenatalpostnatal and Pilates classes are offered in multi-week series, mostly 6-week sessions. Registration is open now for sessions beginning the week of April 4.

Adult classes and those welcoming pre-crawling infants, including Baby & Me Yoga, welcome drop-ins if there is space. No drop-ins when class is marked FULL, or if indicated on individual class notes. No online reservations for drop-ins; just arrive a few minutes early. Learn more about dropping into class. All classes have minimum of 6 enrolled students to run.

Adult Classes

Our adult and prenatal or postnatal classes, including Baby & Me Yoga, allow drop-ins ($20 + tax) if there is room in the series. Learn more about dropping into class.

Valentine’s Day: Mother-Daughter Yoga Date

Join Breathing Space owner Jen and her 8-year-old daughter for a mother-daughter yoga class and Valentine themed crafty activity.

family yoga

family yoga

Family Yoga is structured like an age-appropriate kids class with an emphasis on poses and activities for parents and children to do together. While many of the poses will look familiar to adult yogis, we incorporate songs and games. There’s much more emphasis on social interaction and classes incorporate many props never found in an adult class: hula hoops, balloons, scarfs, crayons, and more. bsfy-open-house 709

This workshop is for ages 6 and up. $30 per pair, $10 for additional children.

Around the Web: Yoga for Back-To-School Anxiety or Exhaustion

Did you see Jen’s articles on the ChildLight Yoga blog? Learn a few of her daughter’s favorite calm-down poses.

Yoga for Back-To-School Anxiety or Exhaustion

Restorative poses for kids? Yes please.

With school starting around the country, students may be experiencing emotions ranging from joy and excitement, to anxiety or even dread.  As parents we do our best to prepare our children for that first day back, but we can’t remove all uncertainty, especially since many schools don’t share class lists or even room assignments in advance. . . . .

See the rest on The Kids Yoga Resource

Full Registration for Kids & Family Classes

Breathing Space does not allow single class drop-ins to kids & family classes for crawling babies or older children. Why?

Session Commitment is Best for Both Students and the Program

We’ve written before about the benefits of committing to a weekly yoga class. Children, even more than adults, benefit from the consistency and progressive teaching enabled by full registration.

Kids yoga operates in an unusual context. While adult yoga classes are very often drop-in based, you cannot just occasionally show up to any other kind of teacher-directed children’s class. There’s no drop-in ballet, gymnastics, music, art, karate, etc. All of these programs require registration in a series of classes or monthly membership. This creates a stable class and allows lessons to build upon on each other.

Session Commitment Encourages Consistent Attendance

As a parent, there are tons of demands on my time and regularly attending a class requires commitment. Paying ahead of time gives me that sense of obligation to actually go every week. This is true for me with my own classes and it’s doubly true for me to motivate my child out of the house, even for activities she (or we both) adore.

Session Commitment Enhances the Student Experience

As a children’s instructor, I find:

  1. Drop-ins detract from the experience of the students who have committed to a full session of classes because my attention is drawn to the new student – on everything from taking payment and filling in the parent on policies, facilities, and expectations, to making the new child feel comfortable.
  2. Drop-in classes are not in the best interest of the child. It often takes 3 or 4 classes for a child, especially a toddler, to feel comfortable with a new place, new people, and a new routine. Children benefit from repetition and structure. Since drop-in students tend to only show up once or twice a session, they miss out on the full benefits of the experience.

But . . .

There are two major objections that I hear from parents to registering for an entire session:

  1. That they aren’t sure if class will be right for their child. We get that. It can be hard to even imagine a toddler or preschooler yoga class if you’ve never attended one.

    That’s why we offer a No Risk Refund Policy – Not sure if class will be right for you or your child? Register and come to the first class. If you notify us in writing within 24 hours of class that you will not be able to continue the session, you will pay only $20 for the class you attended. (See refund policies for more information.)
  1. That they have travel or other schedule obligations that prevent full attendance. We understand schedules can be tricky. We intentionally skip holiday weekends and other high-travel times and offer a very generous make-up policy. To make up a missed class:
    • Any family member may take any other appropriate class during the same session – this means a similar kids class or parents can take an adult class;
    • If there is space in your class, you may bring a friend as your make-up class. Please confirm space availability with your instructor.
    • You may carry one class over into a subsequent session by using a make-up discount on your next registration.

Wanted: Your Recyclables for Camp Crafts

In order to keep summer camp affordable and conserve natural resources, we use recyclables in camp crafts whenever possible. Considering that we have some 200+ camper weeks scheduled this summer, we need a lot of stuff!

silly monsters by flickr user Emma Craig / cc lisence

silly monsters by flickr user Emma Craig / cc lisence

  • Toilet paper and paper towel rolls (We need a ton of these over the course of the summer for everything from shaker instruments to castle towers)
  • Aluminum foil or cling rap rolls (They are stronger, which we need for some projects.)
  • Small snack and cereal boxes
  • Formula tins, cardboard oatmeal containers, or similar (with or without lids)
  • CDs (Doesn’t matter what’s on them, we’ll cover any labels)
  • 1/2 and 1 gallon milk jugs (opaque plastic kind)
  • Clear polystyrene take-out/salad containers (#6 plastic), larger ones preferred. (Looking for 4-6 inch squares of material.)
  • Square foam take out containers – clean top lid part is best thanks (Looking to cut out flat pieces approximately 6” square) – or meat trays
  • Cardboard egg cartons
  • Clean tube socks or knee highs (toes/heals can be worn out)

Feel free to bring them to class or to camp between now and August 31. Please make sure everything is VERY clean. Thanks.

5 Benefits of Infant Massage According to the Research

Babies thrive on loving touch. Parents and caregivers have known the importance of skin-to-skin contact for millenia, but it’s only been in recent times that science has begun studying and trying to quantify the amazing  power of massage and other touch techniques:

Massage after baby bathtime

Flickr user Miss Pupik CC License

Improved Sleep Patterns
Infants who were massaged before bedtime adjusted to a more favorable rest-activity cycle by the age of 8 weeks and produced more melatonin, a sleep regulator, during the night by the age of 12 weeks.

– Ferber SG, Laudon M, Kuint J, Weller A, Zisapel N. Massage therapy and sleep-wake rhythms in the neonate. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 2002;23(6):410-415.
Reduction of Stress

Cortisol levels, a stress indicator, was significantly lower after infant massage.

– White-Traut RC, Pate CM, Modulating infant state in premature infants. J Pediatr Nurs. 1987;2(2):96-101.
Improved Interaction in Families

Fathers who used massage techniques with their infants experienced increased self-esteem as a parents. The babies greeted their fathers with more eye contact, smiling, vocalizing and reaching responses. The fathers were more expressive and showed more enjoyment and more warmth during floor-play interactions with their infants.

– Cullen, C., Field, T., Escalona, A. & Hartshorn, K. (2000). Father-infant interactions are enhanced by massage therapy. Early Child Development and Care, 164, 41-47.

Support of Mother’s Mental Health
infant massage classLearning the practice of infant massage by mothers may be an effective treatment for facilitating mother-infant interaction in mothers with postnatal depression. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scores improved for the mothers who learned massage, as did their video-taped mother-baby interactions.

– Onozawa k, Glover V, Adams D, Modi N, Kumar RC. Infant massage improves mother-Infant interaction for mothers with postnatal depression
Increased Weight Gain for Premature Infants
Premature infants that were massaged regularly had higher daily weight gain, increased motor activity, and better Brazelton neonatal behavioral assessment scores. They had a better conversion of calories to weight gain.

 – Field TM, Schanberg SM, Scafidi F, et al. Tactile/kinesthetic stimulation effects on preterm neonates. Pediatrics. 1986;77(5):654-658.

– Phillips RB, Moses HA. Skin hunger effects on preterm neonates. Infant Toddler Intervention. 1996;6(1):39-46.

Upcoming Classes

[ai1ec view=”agenda” cat_id=”182″]

Why Take a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class?

By Kimberly Hawley, MA, MPH, CLEC

So you are pregnant, and it seems like you have a million things to do to prepare for your baby. Between your prenatal appointments, preparing for birth, and preparing your house and life for the new addition, a prenatal breastfeeding class might just seem like one more “to do” that you would really like to shove way down on the priority list. But for those who plan to breastfeed, preparing prenatally can be the best way to ensure a good start to your breastfeeding relationship.

4133664398_a9987c3803_zAlthough we live in a society that strongly promotes breastfeeding, there is still a lot of misinformation pervasive in both healthcare and the general public. Inaccurate information and structural barriers can make breastfeeding a more challenging experience than it otherwise would be. A breastfeeding class will give you the knowledge to navigate your breastfeeding journey.

So, how will this breastfeeding class accomplish this?


With all the information on the internet it is easy to feel like you only need Google to learn about breastfeeding. The internet, however, is full of incorrect and conflicting information. If you are relying on the internet for your breastfeeding information then you are responsible for sorting the bad articles from the good. When left to educate yourself it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what exactly you need to know about breastfeeding before your baby arrives. A prenatal breastfeeding class is designed to present the most relevant information in a clear and organized way, therefore taking the burden off of you.


A breastfeeding class teaches you what to expect from breastfeeding and how to troubleshoot the most common problems. With such knowledge already in your head, you will feel confident in your breastfeeding abilities. Confidence in the process will make the first post-partum weeks a little less stressful.


When you are confident and knowledgeable, you will feel empowered to breastfeed and to ignore the unhelpful comments you may encounter. Many women begin to doubt themselves when barraged by the well-meaning questions that tie all infant behavior back to breastfeeding. Empowered moms can better stand up for themselves and their baby.

Why a class and not a breastfeeding support group?

1101531528_acc78b3541_z (1)Support groups such as La Leche League and Breastfeeding USA are wonderful places to hear how other mom’s handled a situation. They are great for sharing experiences and finding a community, but their free flowing discussions can make it difficult for an expectant mom to learn what she needs to know to get her off to a good start with breastfeeding. Support groups usually focus on the questions brought by moms’ in attendance. This can lead to a discussion that doesn’t best represent the most common issues or leaves moms with a skewed perception of what to expect. They are great resources, but not set up for full out learning. A class is specifically designed to present the information in an easy to learn format.

So, I encourage you to make a prenatal breastfeeding class a high priority. Just like childbirth class’s best prepare you for birth, a prenatal breastfeeding class will best prepare you for breastfeeding. The better you prepare yourself to parent and feed your newborn, the more likely you will be able to relax and enjoy getting to know your baby.

Kimberly Hawley, MA, MPH, CLEC, is a certificated Lactation Educator Counselor and experienced breastfeeding mother. She has lived in Capitol Hill since 2008. Her work in breastfeeding support is informed by her background in public health and anthropology. Kimberly wants all parents to feel empowered and supported while breastfeeding their little ones.

Photo credits: Flickr users edenpictures, hugabub-babywearing , goetter. Used by creative commons license 4/20/2015.


Which Parent-Child Yoga Class Should I Take?

bsfy-open-house 711We have 4 different parent-child yoga classes on our schedule and several people have asked, which one should they should sign up for? To answer that, pick the best description that fits your situation:

If you have one child, pick the appropriate age range:

If you have a 3 year old or children in multiple age ranges, you have a choice of classes:

Preschooler Yoga (20 months – 3 yrs)

  • bsfy-open-house 698Very active, playful class with simple movements and beginning breath and body awareness exercises
  • Beginning to incorporate imaginative play and storytelling in relation to the yoga poses and activities
  • Games are very simple, usually consisting of only one or two steps: jumping in and out of circles, following directions …
  • Partner poses are very simple
  • Typically only uses yoga mats as a prop or for relaxation
  • Good for young 3 year olds or reserved children likely to stay close to their parent during class
  • Appropriate for younger siblings younger than 2 to participate (may enroll at half price, non walking infants free)

Family Yoga (3-8 yrs)

  • breathing space 744Still active and playful, in fact a bit more athletic as coordination improves
  • More imagination/pretend, more and more involved stories
  • Games become more complicated and start to have rules: move & freeze, musical mats …
  • Partner poses with parents begin to be recognizable as yoga poses
  • Uses mats for the majority of the class, but children will move around the room for many activities
  • Good for older 3 year olds (and 4+) as well as very verbal or out-going 3 year olds
    Also good for 3-year olds who’ve taken our classes for several months and would enjoy the challenge of keeping up with the big kids
  • Appropriate for younger siblings 2 years and older or older siblings 10 and younger to participate (may enroll at half price)

bsfy-open-house 702All classes can accommodate younger or older siblings, so what do you do if both children are not within the same class age range?

You have multiple children to enroll:

  • A 3 year old and a 1 year old – Preschooler Yoga (2-4 yrs) with the younger one enrolled at half price
  • A 5/6 year old and a 2 year old – Family Yoga (3-8 years) with the younger enrolled at half price

Breathing Space Open House Reception

by Flickr user Redcorn Studios

photo by Flickr user Redcorn Studios/cc 2.0

Please join us for light refreshments, yoga-inspired and open play, coloring, arts and crafts at this casual reception.

When: Sat Dec 20 2014   11:30 AM  –  1:30 PM

Where: Breathing Space! 1123 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, WDC 20003, 2nd Floor

Please RSVP so we can plan for refreshments and activities. No charge to come and play but A Space of Our Own $75 or higher campaign contributors are invited to decorate a “gratitude wall” tile for our entry way. Campaign contributors will also be able to pick up t-shirts and stickers.

Our open house reception is part of a full weekend of activities. See our weekend preview classes, special workshops for adults, and kids yoga drop-off workshops (got some holiday errands to run?).

Winter Solstice Studio Open House Weekend

Join us at Breathing Space: 1123 Pennsylvania Avenue SE for a special weekend open house full of activities previewing a new year in our new space. In addition to a reception open to all, we will host kids & family Winter schedule preview classes, special workshops for adults, and drop-off workshops for kids ages 5 and up.

Winter Solstice SkyFriday, Dec 19, 2014

Saturday, Dec 20, 2014

Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Find out more about our new space and our crowd-funding campaign to create it.