Jen teaches Breathing Space Baby Yoga & Play classes, Tot, Toddler and Little Families Yoga, afterschool yoga, Baby Signing Time, and directs day-off and summer camps . . . in addition to lactation consulting and doing bunch of behind the scenes stuff to keep it all running.
Jen brings a sense of joy and playfulness to her classes – both the adult and kids classes – and hopes to offer her students freedom she finds in yoga. She founded Breathing Space to create hub for family yoga on Capitol Hill and share her enthusiasm for age- and developmentally-appropriate poses, games, and songs with yogis of all ages.
Why Breathing Space?
Like so many, Jen first came to the yoga mat because of an injury, seeking nothing more than to feel better and balance her body for running. She comes back to the mat because yoga invites her to embrace her body and mind with all its imperfections and then to look beyond them to the greater Self.
When she became a mother, her yoga practice became even more important: for building strength and flexibility, as relief for the discomforts of pregnancy and then the stresses of parenthood, as a reminder of the miracle of the human body and of her own resources and capabilities, and a regular connection to her breath and true Self during a time of significant identity changes. Her weekly baby yoga class during maternity leave encouraged her to embrace her daughter in the same loving, non-judgemental way that her own practice did for herself.
After thoroughly enjoying baby yoga classes with her daughter during maternity leave and being unable to find an Itsy Bitsy class that fit her schedule after going back to work, Jen stumbled on a listing for Itsy Bitsy Yoga facilitators training . . . and signed up. That turned out to be the first step on new path.
She has since trained with Budding Yogis, ChildLight Yoga, Yoga 4 Classrooms, and YoKid to offer classes to families and children of all ages. Jen’s work with children inspired her to complete adult yoga teacher training at Willow Street Yoga in 2010 and train in Prenatal Yoga with Janice Clarfield.
Jen is a Yoga Alliance® Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RTY 200) and Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCTY). She is also a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM) through Infant Massage USA and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
Beyond Breathing Space
Jen is honored to share her expertise with others who wish to share yoga with children as a teacher trainer for ChildLight Yoga, nationally recognized children’s yoga school. Jen co-authored and instructs the ChildLight Yoga for Babies & Toddlers Teacher Training (newborn-2 yrs) and instructs the ChildLight Yoga & Mindfulness for Children Teacher Training (ages 2-12). Learn more about local trainings with Jen or offerings around the country.
You might also run into Jen over at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington DC, either as a consultant or in the twice-monthly Baby Care Basics class.
Before turning her attention to yoga full time, Jen spent more than a decade working with non- profit organizations in everything from daily operations, event and volunteer management, and finance to national policy advocacy and media relations. Jen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts and a Master in Public Management degree from the University of Maryland. Her experience in social change movements and managing charitable organizations has been extremely helpful when working with schools and community organizations to implement yoga and mindfulness programs for children
Jessica LaGarde has been teaching creative movement in the metro area since 2005 and is passionate about helping children discover and explore their bodies and the world around them. She was trained by Joye Newman, MA to teach preschool creative movement for Kids’ Moving Company, a Bethesda-based creative movement studio. In 2017, she completed her Baby, Toddler, and Children’s Yoga Teacher Training through Childlight Yoga.
In addition to working with preschoolers, Jessica is a registered massage practitioner and is trained in infant massage instruction. She has practiced massage for over twelve years and taught massage as part of Potomac Massage Training Institute’s professional training program. Outside of the movement space and massage room, she enjoys cooking, knitting, sewing, gardening and exploring the outdoors with her daughter.
Natalie received her RCYS teaching certification in New Orleans under the instruction of Aruna Kathy Humphries. Natalie has been a yogi since childhood and deeply understands the profound impact yoga has on children’s lives. Her classes combine yoga poses and breathing exercises with music, dance, crafts, and a healthy dose of silliness! Before becoming a children’s yoga instructor, she was a professional dancer and dance teacher. She found yoga to be a more healing and positive practice in her own life, and decided that was what she truly wanted to share with children. She also firmly believes children are natural yogis!
Rachel Gooze has been exploring yoga since 1998, mainly learning about physical asana practices and breathing techniques. Over time she deepened her study and this learning process continues to support self-discovery and a desire to share the practices with young children and caregivers. Rachel is deeply grateful to her many teachers (and their lineages of teachers) of yoga asana and philosophy, including Rexx Samuell, Hari-Kirtana Das, Pleasance Silicki, Jennifer Mueller, and Nisha Ahuja. Rachel completed a 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher training in 2013, and is also a certified ChildLight Yoga Baby & Toddler instructor. During pregnancy, Rachel continued her regular yoga and mindfulness practice and, after her daughter was born in 2016, breathing and moving with the baby became a daily source of joy and discovery. This, in combination with her work as a public health researcher studying the well-being of early childhood educators, motivates her to bring wellness practices to caregivers (parents and teachers), babies, and children.
Birth and Postpartum Doula, Prenatal and Family Yoga Instructor
Rebecca has been teaching prenatal, postpartum, and early childhood yoga on Capitol Hill and around DC for over a decade. As a doula, Rebecca provides evidence-based, non-biased and a common sense approach to supporting clients in this time of transition in their lives.
Rebecca completed her initial yoga training in 2006 at the Yoga Center, Columbia, MD. She has continued her studies by completing specialized trainings in prenatal, postnatal and children’s yoga, including Budding Yogis, Childlight Yoga, Itsy Bitsy Yoga, Radiant Child, Yokid, and Yoga for the Special Child, and YoKid.
Rebecca Gitter brings a sense of humor to her classes and focuses on meeting her students – of any age- exactly where they are. Sharing yoga with kids and caregivers in the DC metro area in studios, schools and community centers, as well as with her own two children, always leaves her smiling and inspires her personal practice.
Rebecca brings her calm, unflappable, compassionate, yet analytical approach to serving her doula clients as well. In addition to her DONA birth and postpartum doula trainings, Rebecca brings her years of life experience as a mom, aunt, caregiver and teacher of countless little people and their parents to her doula practice. Rebecca always continues to learn, attending workshops on optimal positioning for labor and delivery, pre and post natal yoga, breastfeeding, newborn care, childbirth and development.
When Rebecca isn’t teaching or supporting clients, you might find her on a trail – hiking biking or being walked by her dog.
Tiffany Bishop is a lifelong dancer who was introduced to the Ashtanga style of yoga by a university dance professor. Decades later, she is still practicing, and a move to London gave her the opportunity to turn her interest into a career. She is certified as a children’s yoga teacher from Karma Kids Yoga in New York and YogaBugs in the UK. After several months teaching kids in nursery and primary schools, she embarked on the life-changing journey of studying with Jamie Clarke, Dulce Aguilar and The Yoga People where she received her 200 hour teacher training certification in Ashtanga Vinyasa and Rocket Yoga. Her classes are energetic and engaging for yoga students of all ages.
Cindy Kim, MSW, LICSW is a psychotherapist working in private practice in downtown Washington, DC providing individual and couples therapy. While she’s been in practice for over ten years, she started to specialize in maternal mental health shortly after having her first child. Two children later, Cindy can attest to just how tough it all can be – getting pregnant, staying pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, and then having to keep a baby healthy, much less making sure he or she grows up to become a decent human being! It’s tough to access good emotional healthcare when you’re preoccupied with your baby’s needs. And yet, you know that the health and well-being of your child depends on the health and well-being of his or her mama. Cindy has a passion for bridging that divide – supporting moms, babies, and families.
Lindsay has been teaching kids yoga since 2017. She is both a 200-hour registered yoga teacher and a registered children’s yoga teacher that embraces kindness and compassion. Lindsay also spent a year in education at Fusion Academy teaching middle and high school students with learning differences in a one-on-one setting.
Her children and teen yoga classes help young people understand the importance of being kind in their thoughts, words, and actions to both themselves and others. Lindsay helps kids recognize their inner strength to practice being calm and still to connect more confidently to the world around them. Lindsay values creating a loving, caring, and kind environment for children and youth to explore the practice and benefits that yoga has to offer. Her students are her greatest teacher!
Katie is a DONA trained Doula who brings her experience yoga, meditation, Thai massage, nutrition and birth together to support families from a holistic perspective.
Birth and Postpartum Doula, Prenatal Yoga and Meditation Instructor
Katie is a DONA trained Doula who brings her experience yoga, meditation, Thai massage, nutrition and birth together to support families from a holistic perspective. She has has been serving families as a nanny in the DC area for over 10 years in the DC area, since 2017 as a birth doula.
Katie is a yoga teacher, and avid traveler who enjoys connecting with people and diving into local culture and traditions. During a course in Thai yoga massage, she was introduced to the world of birth and the role of a doula, and knew that this was something she wanted to pursue. Katie feels that her work as a doula really weaves together her experience working with families as a nanny, and her healing, spiritual work.
Katie has a passion for cooking healthy, plant based food, and enjoys time by the beach the most, especially if that beach is in Greece or Thailand. Katie brings her meditative, compassionate presence to birth, and beyond, and is ready, and honored to assist you and your family during this special rite of passage.
After discovering the healing power of yoga and mindfulness in 2014, Shara began her practice using old yoga books bought from antique shops. Since then, she has continued to take yoga classes at her college while saving up for training and certification.
Shara has worked in summer camps for the past 6 years as both a counselor and an assistant director. 2018 was her first summer in DC and her first summer on the Kid’s Yoga Summer Camp team, where she works excitedly and happily with Jen, Jessica, and the rest of the summer team to share yoga and mindfulness with the children of Washington, DC.
Shara loves the energized and enthusiastic curiosity of children, as well as their unending empathy and kindness, and hopes to help them maintain those traits as they age by practicing yoga and mindfulness regularly. She also hopes to attend graduate school for social work in order to create services and policies which extend this and like opportunities to children throughout the US.
When she’s not practicing yoga or assisting in its instruction, Shara enjoys spending her time bird-watching, walking dogs, hanging out with her cat/travel buddy, and making soap, lip balm, or other organic toiletries.
Postpartum Doula and Certified Lactation Consultant
Ariel is an experienced lactation counselor and postpartum doula in addition to being the parent of for children ages 4-10, including a set of twins.
While she loved snuggling her newborns, she always found herself jealous of mothers who had friends and family swoop in and help care for them. She offers that support to new families as they adjust to life with a newborn. She enjoys working with families of multiples, who sometimes come home needing a little extra care in the first few weeks. Ariel believes her role as a postpartum doula is to offer information and support which to allows parents to decide what is best for their families.
Helena was drawn to yoga a decade ago as a way to relieve stress from a fast-paced Capitol Hill job. She continues to be amazed at the peace, self-regulation, healing, joy, and power that can come simply by going to the mat. Yoga has been instrumental in her journey as a mom, and she considers her children, Ellie and Nicky, as her greatest teachers. They are a daily reminder to BREATHE, act from a place of love, share your whole heart, maintain a sense of wonder, and see the little light in others. Helena is certified through Childlight Yoga, and owes her love of kids and family yoga to the mentoring, training, and teaching start she got at Lil Omm.
Meredith began her own yoga practice over 15 years ago – first to get a little exercise and later to try to find sanity and balance despite a stressful job as a consultant. She stuck with yoga thanks to a welcoming and vibrant yoga community. Early in her practice she was drawn to an alignment-based school of teaching, connecting to a clear and thoughtful way of articulating poses, an invitation to participate fully and creatively in everyday life, and the fact that laughter on the mat was not only tolerated, but encouraged. She has continued to grow and share her love of the practice ever since. When her first son was born in 2013, she started to take infant, then toddler classes, and her family has continued the journey together. Meredith carries a sense of playfulness into her classes for both children and grownups, and is excited to share with students of all ages the joys and challenges that yoga reveals both on and off the mat.
Allie has been a member of the Breathing Space Kids Yoga Summer Camp team since 2017. She loves exploring parks, playground, and museums with campers of all ages. Allie has been working under Jen and the other instructors to learn, create, and teach a variety of yoga activities aimed at helping kids explore movement and mindfulness in meaningful ways.
In addition to helping out at Kids Yoga Summer Camp, Allie is a secondary education teacher. She spent four years teaching middle school and now teaches English at a high school in Northern Virginia.
Megan Rynne has a background in farm and nature-based education and taught environmental science to children and adults on working farms and nature conservation sites throughout New England. Having recently completed a MA in Early Childhood Education from Shepherd University of West Virginia, with a focus on the Montessori Method and Neuropedagogy, Megan joins Breathing Space new to the field of children’s yoga. Megan has completed 60 hours of combined training from Budding Yogis of Circle Yoga (DC) and Childlight Yoga (NH) including the Teaching Yoga to Kids with Special Needs and postnatal practice trainings. Megan embarks upon a yearlong 200 hr YTT this January and looks forward to supporting her children’s training with a sound background in yoga philosophy and adult practice. Megan is originally from Boston, MA and lives with her fiance in Washington, DC. She enjoys walking, books about cognitive neuroscience and Appalachia, Ayurveda, camping and fire stories, and the “Be Present” requirement that working with children affords.