Category Archives for Capitol Hill

Why I Don’t Encourage Pregnant Moms to Attend Breastfeeding Support Groups

Ok, the headline is a little misleading . . . I think it’s good for pregnant moms to attend breastfeeding support groups, but not as their only breastfeeding preparation.

babywearing

flickr user hugabug-babywearing by creative commons license, 4/20/2015

As a leader of peer-to-peer breastfeeding support, I’ve seen a trend of childbirth educators assigning La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA meetings as homework for their students. Yes, those meetings are free and expecting moms (and sometimes partners) are welcome. Yes, those meeting leaders are knowledgeable. Yes, peer-to-peer support has been shown to increase breastfeeding duration and satisfaction (which is pretty cool). As wonderful as a peer-to-peer meeting can be, it is NOT a class and is not intended to be.

A prenatal breastfeeding class presents the information for expecting parents in an organized format with an emphasis on the most common challenges and best practices to set up the breastfeeding mother and baby for success. A support meeting addresses the issues in response to the moms who show up, which may not be typical. 

Meetings tend to be focused on the mother baby dyad and, for the comfort of self-conscious new moms, may not even allow male partners to attend. Classes tend to be targeted to both parents as a team!

Meetings tend to be focused on supporting moms and babies from 2 weeks to 2 years postpartum. This is well after the critical first hours and days for establishing breastfeeding.  A class can can lay out a set of landmarks for expecting parents as those first hazy days with a newborn and need to know if things are going well or if it’s time to get help. 

A good class addresses the critical questions parents have in the early days: How much milk does your newborn actually need and how do you know if he is getting it? How often should your baby nurse and for how long? What is engorgement and what do you do if it happens? How do you know your milk has “come in”? What do you do if you aren’t sure if it has? Are the considerations (tips) different if you have a c-section birth? An early baby? A really large baby? What can your partner do to help? A peer-to-peer meeting might touch on all of these things, but it might not.

I don’t intend to start a firestorm since I strongly support mother-to-mother breastfeeding networks. I recommend attending even when everything seems to be going fine with nursing. Group leaders are usually experienced breastfeeding mothers, sometimes very skilled facilitators, and are extremely well educated on breastfeeding. Unlike a class, a meeting provides an valuable opportunity to hear first-hand about struggles and overcoming them and simply hanging out with other new moms is good for mental health during what can be an isolating postpartum period.

However meeting discussions are driven by the individual needs of the participants and can be very stream-of-consciousness. That can be hard for an expecting mom or dad to follow when breastfeeding and newborns are still very abstract.

Breastfeeding Center Flyer Image

I’d love to see expecting moms moms attend both organized breastfeeding education and peer-to-peer support before baby comes, but if they have to choose, I’d rather see them do a class designed especially for them.

Breathing Space hosts a monthly class in partnership with The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington. If our Capitol Hill class doesn’t suit your schedule, the center has a variety of other classes available.

 

 

Spring 2018 Class Registration

With fun, age-appropriate poses, our yoga for babies and toddlers classes focus on breathing exercises, movement games, rhythm, and songs for little ones and caregivers to do together. Yoga supports motor skills, language acquisition, and social-emotional development. Learn more.
tot yoga collageClasses for crawling babies and older toddlers and families are offered in multi-week class series; registration is required, no drop-ins. Spring classes begin April 3 and continue through the beginning of June. Because birthdays and maternity leaves are difficult to schedule with semesters, Baby & Me Yoga does allow drop-in students. Learn more.

Weekly Early Childhood Yoga Classes

tot balanceTot Yoga 

for crawling babies to 24 mo old toddlers with parent ore caregiver

Toddler Family Yoga

for steady walkers through 3 yrs old toddlers with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome

Preschooler Yoga 

for 21 mo toddlers to 4 yr old preschoolers with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome

Younger siblings are welcome in Toddler or Preschooler Yoga. Walking siblings 1 year or older may register for half price. No charge for babes in arms. Nannies, nanny-shares, grandparents, and other caregivers welcome. Up 2 two caregivers may attend weekly. Adults participate in class, but no yoga experience is required. Learn more about early childhood yoga.

Infant Massage Classes

Massage curriculum is progress and taught over several weeks, no drop-ins. Learn more about Infant Massage classes.

Baby & Me Yoga

moms and babies in yoga classis a blend of fun, yoga-inspired movements and postures for baby and postpartum-appropriate yoga for mom/caregiver. Because it’s hard to get birth dates and maternity leaves to line up with series dates, we welcome drop-in students to attend prenatal and postnatal classes.

  • 12 noon  Tue with Kaydee @ Realignment Studio
  • 9:30 AM Sat with Erika @ Realignment Studio

Commit by the class or for the full multi-week series for a discount. Read more about Baby & Me Yoga or register for Prenatal or Baby & Me Yoga.

Announcing Summer 2018 Kids Yoga Camp

It’s summer camp planning time in DC! Parents are weighing options and looking for convenient, affordable and enriching camps to provide their kids with an awesome summer.

Breathing Space summer camp provides children with a fun, creative, and educational experience through yoga movement classes, mindfulness activities, relaxation, games, crafts, field trips and outdoor time. Each week-long camp is sure to create lasting memories, new friendships, and a foundation for health and well-being!

What’s new for Breathing Space Kids Yoga Camp in 2018?

More camp for rising PK4!

The weeks of Jun 25, July 17, Aug 13, Aug 20 all welcome rising PK4 campers but space is limited, so don’t wait to enroll.

More camp for upper elementary!

We will run our popular Girl Power camp (rising 3rd-6th) again this year, but in June, so our Aug 13 camp week enrollment will not be limited by gender. We are also running a Harry Potter-themed camp for 2nd-5th graders the week of July 23 and would be open to running a boys-focused (2nd-5th?) camp the week of Aug 6 if there is enough interest.

New themes, but we’ll repeat old favorites!

Music & dance and Harry Potter-inspired camps are new this year. We are repeating colors, superheroes, fairy-tale inspired themes and our outings-focused camps too. While some themes repeat, activities are always different.

All camps are at Christ Church.

We are happy to announce that all 8 weeks of camp are at Christ Church (620 G Street SE) this year, even our double camps will be based there.

 

Summer 2018 Camp Themes

Week  – Theme – Age Range

  • group pose18-Jun  — DC Adventurer — K-3rd
    Campers will explore the community in which we live and many of the fun, fabulous and things to do in and around our city.   Register: K-3rd
  • 25-Jun
    • Long Ago & Far Way — PK-2nd
      Knights, princesses, wicked witches, noble heroes and evil villains pervade this week as we explore yogic qualities in ourselves through classic children’s stories and fantasy. (Limited PK registration) Register: PKK-2nd
    • Girl Power — 3rd-6th
      We’ll explore things our campers care about and how they can make a difference in their world. Girls will share yoga, art, creative activities and relaxation. Register: 3rd-6th Girls 
  • 16-Jul — Music & Dance– PK-2nd
    Yogis will explore creative expression, how our bodies and every-day objects can make rhythm and song, and how sounds and music can affect our mood and well-being. Register: PKK-2nd

3-headed-dog-pose

  • 23-Jul — If Harry Potter Were A Yogi — 2nd-5th
    In this fun-filled week of fantasy, broomsticks, potions and more, campers will explore the themes in the Harry Potter book series. Register: 2nd-5th 
  • 30-Jul — Superhero Me — K-3rd
    Campers are invited to find their own superhero qualities as we explore classic stories and real-life heroes in our world. Register: K-3rd 
  • 6-Aug
    • Colors — K-3rd
      With topics ranging from prisms to chakras, campers will explore a rainbow of colors with yoga, breath, and crafts. Register: K-3rd
    • Mindful Movement Masters — 2nd-5th G Boys
      This week will be all about the guys – 7-10 yr oldboys. We’ll do balancing and strengthening poses, mindfulness and relaxation, art and creative expression, and outings. Just like our Girl Power camp, expect a questionnaire in May so we can get a to know your camper and further customize the week to match his interests. Register: 2nd-5th Boys

  • 13-Agroup poseug — Animal Adventure — Two Groups: PK/K,1st-4th
    Quick as cricket, slow as a sloth . . . what can yogis learn from the animal world?
    Register: PK/K or 1st-4th, two groups will have some combined activities.
  • 20-Aug — Senses & Science — PK-4nd
    Expect momentum, reactions, and more . . . as we explore our experience of the physical world: beginning chemistry and physics. Register: K-4th, PK4

 

How can parents get a better sense of kids yoga camp?

1. Watch Camp Highlights

2. Or check out our photo album on Flickr or on our Facebook page.
3. Check out our camp page for full details.
4. Read our FAQs.
5. Get in touch with specific questions

Season of Gratitude

gratitude and joy quote image“For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
Brother David Steindl-Rast

We are encouraged by culture and media to be joyful and grateful during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years. Sometimes that comes easily, sometimes not so much. For those of us struggling, a gratitude practice can be powerful.

We often visit this theme in kids yoga classes, but simple practices can be incorporated into home routines as well. A colleague of mine recently described her family’s simple routine. She uses her 10-minute school commute for their practice with a few simple rules: Everyone must share sometime, anything, no judgement, so long as it’s not what they shared the day before. She finds that simple routine gets everyone’s day started on a positive note and brings her family closer together with a daily check-in.

These practices can be especially helpful during the holiday season, which encourages us to spread love and joy but also can seemingly revolve around what we want and do not have, something known to make us less happy!

One of our favorite practices in kids yoga is gratitude relaxation. We listen to a guided meditation while remembering all our gifts and advantage and the people who support us and love us. Thanks to Childlight Yoga, the program that Jen uses to teach kids yoga teacher trainings, you can now listen to audio recording of the gratitude relaxation from Yoga for Children, by Lisa Flynn.  Find a comfortable position (instructions for the one on the right are posted on the CLY blog too).

At Breathing Space, we are grateful you have chosen to share your family time with us through classes and workshops. We are looking forward to seeing you this holiday season and in 2018.

Winter 2018 Class Registration

two year olds in supported fish pose

Weekly early childhood classes

Yoga for babies and toddlers features fun, age-appropriate poses, breath exercises movement games, rhythm, and songs for little ones and caregivers to do together. Yoga supports motor skills, language acquisition, and social-emotional development. Learn more.
Classes are offered in multi-week class series; registration is required, no drop-ins. Winter classes begin January 6 and continue through mid March.

Tot Yoga (crawling-24 mo)

  • 11:00 AM  Wed with Jamie @ Shenanigans Art Space
  • 9:30 AM Thu with Rebecca @ Realignment Studio **starts date: Feb 8!
  • 9:00 AM Sat with Jessica @ Christ Church
  • 11:00 AM Sun with Jen @ Hill Center

Toddler Family Yoga (steady walking-3 yrs, younger siblings welcome)

Preschooler Yoga (21 mo-4 yrs, younger siblings welcome)

4 images of kids and family yoga

  • 10:00 AM Wed with Jamie @ Shenanigans Art Space
  • 10:30 AM Thu with Rebecca @ Realignment Studio
  • 10:00 AM Sat with Jessica @ Christ Church
  • 10:00 AM Sun with Jen @ Hill Center

See also:

Kids Yoga & Mindfulness (4-10 yrs)

Homeschooler Series

Kids yoga class encourages children to move creatively in a non-competitive environment while honoring each child’s unique expression of the poses.

Monthly workshop series for older children and teens

Classes for older children and teens feature more challenging poses and sequences than those for younger children along with breathwork, concentration, introductory meditation techniques and much needed relaxation time.

Family Yoga & Mindfulness (4yrs+)

Teen/TweenYoga & Mindfulness (8-12 yrs)

Registration for monthly workshops can be the full series or a single class. Minimum 8 enrolled to run any individual class.

Fall Family Classes Enrolling Now

tot balanceClasses feature age-appropriate poses, songs, activities, and more. Read full class descriptions on our early childhood or kids yoga pages.

Nov/Dec Weekday Early Childhood Classes

Late fall classes start Nov 1-7 and run through December 13-15, unless noted. See links below for descriptions and details. 6 week series costs $108.

Register ButtonTot Yoga (crawling-24 mo)

Preschooler Yoga (21 mo-4 yrs, younger siblings welcome)

Register Button

Kids & family classes are offered in multi-class semesters, registration required. Fall series are 6 to 10 weeks long, depending on the day and venue. Price varies by length of series. See individual links for details.

Need to carry-over a makeup class from the last series? Use the code “sessionmakeup” at checkout to reduce registration price by one class.  Only applies to  full season registration. Read our makeup class FAQs.

Due to holidays and church events in December, Saturday classes at Christ Church end on Nov 18. No classes Columbus Day weekend or the Wed-Sun of Thanksgiving weekend. 

See also our classes at Brent ElementaryCapitol Hill Montessori at Logan and Peabody Elementary. Register through the school aftercare provider.

Preschooler Family Yoga – Fun and Fitness – FAQ

Tot does toes-to-nose posePeople are sometimes surprised when I tell them I teach yoga to 2 year olds. “My toddler would never sit still for a yoga class,” they say.

I hope no one ever suggests that they should!

Preschooler, Little Families, and Tot Yoga classes incorporate lots of playful yoga poses, gross-motor activities, and age-appropriate games, kid-friendly songs and rhymes, and breath awareness exercises, and a little bit of relaxation for both little ones and their parents. We move all over the room, we use props in fun and creative ways, and we engage toddlers and preschoolers in developmentally-appropriate fun.

Sure stillness happens, but we measure that in sweet moments (not minutes).

Frequently Asked Questions

We often here from parents that they are hesitant to enroll if they aren’t sure their child will enjoy a class. We get it. That’s why we have our:

No Risk Refund Policy – Not sure if a kids & family series class will be right for you or your child? Register and come to the first class. If you notify us in writing within 48 hours after the first class that you will not be able to continue the session, we refund all but $2o for that first class.

We are also very flexible about switching classes for students who have nap time shifts during the course of a series. For example, if your child is enrolled in an 11 am class and starts napping at that time, we’ll happily switch her into one of our 9 or 9:30 am classes instead.

Yep. We move a ton.

Generally, if you are enrolling in a class for your child’s age, we are prepared for your child to behave in age-appropriate ways.

kids yoga bowFor Little Families Yoga (2-4 yrs), we don’t use yoga mats and instead move all over the room. Some of our students are always on the go and that’s really quite alright. Some toddlers seriously need to move in order to pay attention. Those are the students parents assure me do the yoga poses at home, just never in class. Sometimes those students join in briefly whenever their favorite activities come up and then go back to running in circles. It’s all good.

For Kids or Family Yoga (ages 3-6, or 4+), we do use mats and are beginning to learn to be on the mats for much of the class. Class is still super active, we move off mats for all sorts of games, and we don’t expect stillness from young children.

If your child has special needs, it is helpful to check in ahead of time so the instructor can be prepared and think through lessons and activities with your child’s needs in mind. We are happy to have you enroll and decide after the first class or two if it is the right fit. Again though, check in with the instructor. Parents are typically more worried about possible disruptive behavior than our yoga teachers and will work with you on strategies to help your child succeed in class.

Absolutely. Your child is welcome to bring any grownup they want with them to class. Up to 2 caregivers may attend class on a weekly basis. Additional visitors may attend occasionally and are encouraged to participate. Please be considerate of space constraints when bringing guests.

marching game, preschooler yogaYes. Siblings attending the same class are eligible for 1/2 price registration. Children older than 1 yr must register (no charge for infants younger than that). See our pricing and discounts page.
Typically we can accommodate siblings 1 year younger than the stated age range, so 1 yr olds in Little Families Yoga (2-4 yrs) and 3 yr olds in Family Yoga (4-8 yrs).

Amalie teaching Little Families, preschooler yogaProbably Toddler Family Yoga, but get in touch if you think the slower, slightly less boisterous environment of Tot Yoga might be a better fit. Learn more about Early Childhood Yoga classes.

Yes! That’s Tot Yoga, which is for crawlers (or near crawlers) and walkers up to 24 months.

Nope, sorry. We don’t offer drop-in options for classes for crawling or older children or trial classes during the regular session.  Children really do need the consistency of a weekly class both for comfort and so they can best learn and drop-ins can be disruptive to the class routine. Read more.

tot yoga game with bolstersSince it often takes several classes for a child to settle in, dropping in once is not really the best indicator of whether your child will enjoy class. However, we get that it can be tough to commit to a class when you can’t imagine what happens or how your child will react, so:

  1. We occasionally offer trial/drop-in days, when the teacher will spend a little extra time explaining the class routine and parents get a chance to see a class in action.
  2. We have a no-risk refund policy. If you register for a class and decide for any reason it’s a bad fit for you, your child, or your schedule, and you decide early in the series, you can drop the class and get a prorated refund. See details.

We also understand that life is unpredictable and have a generous makeup policy for families that wish to commit to a series but know they will miss a class or two.

Tot yogaAbsolutely. It sometimes takes a few weeks for our more reserved students to get comfortable enough to participate. That’s one of the reasons we offer classes in 6-10 week series rather than drop-in. Toddlers especially need time to get used to a space, a group of people and an instructor.

Even once they are comfortable, some more reserved little ones may be more watchers than doers in class. That doesn’t mean they are not learning and they may be more inclined to practice at home.

tot yoga kicking cobraWe do expect parent participation. The more yoga you do in class the more your child will do.

While parents should expect to move quite a lot, we will be doing yoga appropriate for the child’s age range, so it’s probably not a workout for the grownups as compared to an adult class.

Amalie teaching Little Families, preschooler yogaPoses and activities are designed with toddlers/preschoolers in mind. While your instructor will likely be able to make suggestions, we expect adults to take care of their own bodies during class.

It’s rarely a problem. Pregnant moms often skip or modify belly-down poses and anything else that doesn’t feel right and adults with special conditions adjusting accordingly.

The biggest challenge is probably for adults who have significant difficulty getting up and down from the floor. I’ve had mobility-challenged caregivers, usually older nannies or grandparents, do very few of the poses with no problem. My suggestion is to try it and see how it goes.

Do note that several of our class venues are down a flight of stairs (strollers can be left locked outside). Our Saturday and Sunday class venues are handicap accessible.

Benefits of Yoga for Babies & Toddlers – Crawlers and Walkers

Yoga class provides a safe space for babies, toddlers and their caregivers to explore movement milestones, social-emotional development, and connect with each other and other parents and children. Taking class with your tot or toddler can offer some of the following benefits you might not have thought about:

Tot does toes-to-nose poseLanguage development – Tot yoga classes expose babies and toddlers to language through words with actions, songs, and attention to body awareness. By connecting movement with language, yoga supports the way language development is already happening in your child’s brain.

“University of Washington research in 7- and 11-month-old infants shows that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech.” – University of Washington ILABS

Comprehension of words relies on areas of the brain associated with motor control as well as ‘classic’ language centers, researchers report.” – Neuroscience News
Tot rings chime, yoga classSensory stimulation and awareness – Babies need tons of sensory input to train their brain to process information. By engaging in unique physical play during yoga, babies stimulate their vestibular and proprioceptive systems as well as senses of touch, hearing, and sight.
“Stimulation through the senses of touch, hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting directly affect the sensory neurons and help in establishing these connections. According to research, an infant’s brain is producing 2-3 million synapses per second!” – Bright Hub Education
Tot practices balanceVestibular and proprioceptive input – These two senses related to movement and touch are so important they get their own entry.   Baby’s vestibular system, which tells him where he is in space, has been developing since just a few weeks after conception. Proprioception tells him where he in in relationship to himself. Our vestibular sensors are primarily in our inner ear while our proprioceptive sensors are in our muscles, joints, and bones. Together, they are make up our kinesthetic awareness.
Maryann Harman explains in EarlyChildhood News that movement and early childhood development specialists believe that “[all] learning in the first fifteen months of life is centered on the vestibular system development” and that the vestibular system is very closely tied to language development.

“[W]hen our vestibular system is not functioning properly, we often have auditory processing problems in addition to difficulty with balance, coordination, and eye muscle control.” – PediaStaff

“The vestibular system coordinates eye and head movements. Without this coordination, it may be challenging for children to complete everyday activities such as copying from a white board in their classroom …” – Sprouts Child Development Intiative

Learn more about early childhood yoga classes for crawling babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

 

 

Announcing Rooted Pilates

Randi headshotBreathing Space has been so pleased to offer Pilates Mat classes by Randi for the last 2.5 years, but growth and change is inevitable and starting at the end of the month Randi will be running her own dedicated Pilates studio in the neighborhood! Congratulations Randi!

Rooted Pilatesrootedpilateslogo will be Capitol Hill’s first dedicated Pilates studio! Randi is incredibly excited to bring a fully-equipped Pilates space to the neighborhood and is looking forward to hosting all of her students – past and present  – in the new studio.

rooted-pilatesVisit rootedpilates.com to learn more and to join the mailing list or feel free to reach out to randi@rootedpilates.com for more information.
Randi’s Monday 8:00pm Pilates mat and Jaqueline’s Tuesday 6:30 pm class will transition to their new permanent home at  511 11th Street SE (just a block from the Hill Center) on beginning Nov 1.
Students registered for the current session at Breathing Space will receive an email from Randi about how their session will transition over and how the new system will work, but won’t need to do anything except turn up at the new location instead of the old one.
Students not currently registered can continue to drop-in at the current locations through Oct 25. After Nov 1, students can pre-register on a class-by-class basis, or purchase a package. A link to Rooted Pilates’ preliminary schedule and registration is on the website.

Returning to Our Community Roots

superhero camp collageThank you so much for sharing your kids and family yoga experience with us. We’re having a wonderful summer so far and hope you’ll be joining us for great classes and camps we have planned.

The biggest change for Breathing Space in coming months is that we’ve decided to let go of the 1123 Penn location at the end of the summer and go back to a mobile program format.

We are excited to work with community partners again to offer classes and camps in a variety of locations around the Hill, both SE and NE!

Breathing Space started as a mobile program and the model makes a lot of sense for us given the limited hours needed for children’s and family programming. We took the 1123 Penn lease in the fall of 2014, starting classes there in 2015, because we had seemingly reached our limit for growth at our class spaces at the time and were anticipating our summer camp venue to be unavailable in 2015. The neighborhood yoga and wellness landscape has changed quite a bit in the past two years, with many more options for adult yoga and new opportunities for partnership locations for our family programming. As much as it is nice to have complete control over a studio space, it simply make better business sense to let go of the full time location.

Mind JarWhat’s more, community is a defining characteristic of family yoga and we’ve missed being a regular member of our partner communities over the past two years. By returning to a mobile model, we are excited to be able to reach further on Capitol Hill and are launching our first Northeast location classes at the Parish of St. Monica and St. James in September! If you have connections to community locations or ideas for classes not on our upcoming schedule, please let us know.

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