“Babies don’t need yoga. They’re fine the way they are,” was the comment made in my presence by another yoga teacher not that long ago. I totally agree, I also wholeheartedly advocate for and teach mom & baby classes.

The poses and moves we do in class are developmentally supportive – meaning they are largely movements that baby will discover and practice on their own. Many parents report that their babies independently come into yoga poses such as downward facing dog, plank, cobra, and more. Itsy Bitsy Yoga creator Helen Garabedian explains:baby napping in child's poseBabies are often described as natural yogis because they are so naturally “in the moment.” As parents, on the other hand, we spend much of the time we have with our infants thinking about everything but the present moment. Household chores, grocery shopping, caring for older children, commuting to and from work, and even working from home are among the necessities of modern life. Baby yoga class is a designated hour each week to focus on simply being with our child.

“From birth, babies instinctively draw their knees up toward their chest as if trying to come into knees-to-chest pose (apanasana). The infant’s digestive system is sometimes underdeveloped at birth, and apanasana aids in digestion and relieves gas discomfort.

Sphinx pose helps the four-month-old lengthen the spine, energize the organs, and tone the upper body. Sphinx pose is a necessary precursor to weight-shifting and one-hand play as a baby rests on her tummy. As the five- or six-month-old baby is beginning to lift the head and torso to higher elevations, sphinx pose evolves into cobra pose (bhujangasana). Postures practiced on the tummy strengthen the muscles and connections needed for crawling and may help prevent future lower back pain.

baby in down dog

As babies become mobile and work toward crawling, they move through more of the poses adults do on the yoga mat.

Downward-facing dog (adhomukha-shvanasana) is first practiced before a baby starts to crawl, and later is a favorite pose of one-year-olds. Developmentally, downward-facing dog helps connect a baby’s upper and lower body. After crawling is integrated into a baby’s movement repertoire, a baby may begin to walk in downward-facing dog (or bear walk.) This helps an experienced crawler get a feel for moving through space at a higher level than crawling, but at a lower level than walking.”

The wonderful thing about a baby yoga class is that we, as parents and caregivers, get to experience exploring these natural movements with them.

baby forward foldAfter I returned to full-time work at the office, my husband took over in yoga class and our experience is why I encourage moms to bring their partners to class or teach what they’ve learned to dad or other caregivers. When multiple caregivers know the same poses and songs, they become like a shared language and help parents meet one of their baby’s most fundamental needs: the need to communicate and connect with us.When my own daughter was an infant, yoga class was one of the highlights of my week for many of the same reasons the moms in my classes love it. It was a break from my day where I was encouraged to simply get to know my baby, connect with other parents,  relax and let go, and even learn a little bit about child development.

When multiple caregivers know the same poses and songs, they become like a shared language and help parents meet one of their baby’s most fundamental needs: the need to communicate and connect with us.

Current Classes

Dec
19
Thu
Lacation Support Circle @ St. Marks (Free / Donation)
Dec 19 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

babywearingThis support group is open to all parents who are nursing (breastfeeding or chestfeeding) or pumping milk to give a bottle. Topics will depend on the needs of the group may include anything related to lactation and breastfeeding babies. This is also a great opportunity for you to connect, share and form friendships with other parents.

Concerns that may be addressed include:

  • How to know if your baby is getting enough milk
  • Slow weight gain
  • Incorrect latch and causes (tongue tie, etc)
  • Sore nipples or breasts
  • Clogged ducts and mastitis
  • Increasing supply
  • Dealing with oversupply
  • When and how to supplement
  • When you should pump
  • Get tips for nursing & pumping when going back to work

breastpump partsThe circle is lead by our experienced IBCLE and postpartum doulas.  Babies can be weighed on a digital scale before and after nursing to help assess how much milk the baby is taking in.

Donate buttonWe want every parent who needs support to be able to get it, so are offering this support circle free of charge. If you wish to sponsor the program, your generous donations help us cover our costs.

Exterior of St Marks ChurchLocation Notes – St. Marks Church

  • Strollers can be left in the lobby downstairs or brought up and stored outside of the studio door. Please remove shoes before entering the dance studio.
  • Tuesday early childhood classes are held in the 2nd floor dance studio.
  • The most prominent part of the building is the Nave, or sanctuary. To access the dance studio (or undercroft for camp), enter through the A-Street courtyard. Use the door by the bike racks and take the stairs or elevator to the left of the entry way.
  • Bathrooms are on the lobby level.

About Your Instructor

Jennifer Mueller has been teaching yoga for children and families in Washington DC since 2008. Jen is a Yoga Alliance® Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RTY 200) and Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCTY) as well as a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Jen and Maya volcanoLike 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. 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.

Jen teaches Breathing Space Baby Yoga & Play classes, Tot, Toddler and Little Families Yoga, afterschool classes, and directs day-off and summer camps . . . in addition to a bunch of behind the scenes stuff to keep it all running.

Jan
10
Fri
ChildLight Yoga for Babies & Toddlers Teacher Training – January 2020 – Washington, DC
Jan 10 – Jan 12 all-day

For those who wish to share yoga with babies and toddlers.
ChildLight Yoga logo

Whether you are a parent, childcare professional, yoga instructor, early intervention specialist, therapist or postpartum doula, this training is for you!  You will gain the foundational education, tools and inspiration to offer enriching yoga-based movement, songs, games, and engaging new opportunities for parents and caregivers to bond with of their little ones, OR incorporate what you learn into your current work supporting the development of babies and toddlers.

Our curriculum supports early childhood development, social, emotional, physical and overall contentment and comfort of babies and toddlers through play, song and movement-based activities. Attendees will leave with an illustrated manual filled with dozens of unique yoga-inspired activities, lesson planner, sample lessons, continuing education suggestions, a list of additional resources AND lifetime access to a baby and toddler class video library!

Register Now

Washington, DC
Hyatt Place
Dates:
January 10-12, 2020
Times: 
Fri 5-9pm, Sat 12-7:30pm, Sun 11-7:30pm
Trainer: Breathing Space founder/director Jen Mueller

This training is run by Childlight Yoga. Please contact them directly with questions and for registration.

Apr
24
Fri
ChildLight Yoga & Mindfulness for Tweens and Teens Teacher Training – April 2020 – Washington, DC
Apr 24 – Apr 26 all-day

For those who wish to share yoga tweens and teens ages 10-18.
ChildLight Yoga logo

Stress and anxiety in adolescents have reached epidemic levels while a growing body of evidence suggests the practice of yoga and mindfulness can help provide tweens’ and teens’ the ability to cope with the stressors of their daily lives. Our inspiring, “transformative” training intensive provides tools and best practices for supporting youth between the developmental ages of 10-18 years (Grade 5 and up). Participants will learn about the science of the teenage brain and how mindful movement, breathing practices, community building games, “mat chats” and more, can support pre and adolescents in developing self-awareness, emotional resilience, healthy body image, positive thinking and compassion while providing them with skills and tools for lifelong well-being. Leave this training empowered to make a significant difference in the lives of tweens and teens!

NOTE:  Though it is not necessary to have completed an adult yoga teacher training, it’s strongly recommended that participants have experience with yoga postures and alignment through their own practice or through a 200hr teacher training.

Register Now

WASHINGTON, DC
Hosted by Breathing Space at Hyatt Place
Dates:
April 24-26, 2020
Times: 
Fri 5-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9am-4pm
Trainer: Anne Bise

This training is run by Childlight Yoga. Please contact them directly with questions and for registration.

Jul
27
Mon
ChildLight Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools – July 2020 – Washington, DC
Jul 27 – Jul 28 all-day

Bring ChildLight Yoga into the schools.

Let the creators of ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms teach you everything we know about bringing yoga and mindfulness education into preschools, elementary, middle and high schools.

Become empowered to share your gifts in a variety of school contexts including during or after school enrichment programs, PE classes, health fairs, specials, field day, and the classroom setting. You will learn best practices for contacting schools and gaining support for implementation, adapting your teaching and language for the school environment, ensuring inclusivity, modifying for space constraints, managing large groups, lesson planning, business tips and tools, practice teaching and much more.

Register Now

WASHINGTON, DC
Hosted by Breathing Space at Hyatt Place
Dates:
July 27-28, 2020
Times:
Mon 9am-5:30pm, Tues 9am-5:30pm
Trainer: Meg Durkin

This training is run by Childlight Yoga. Please contact them directly with questions and for registration.

Sep
25
Fri
ChildLight Trauma Informed Yoga & Mindfulness for Youth Workshop Teacher Training – September 2020 – Washington, DC
Sep 25 all-day

ChildLight Yoga logoAs a yoga instructor, therapist, teacher, or anyone who regularly serves children, it is almost certain that you will encounter children who have experienced trauma in their young lives. Therefore, it is important to be trauma informed.

Our one-day Trauma Informed Yoga & Mindfulness for Youth Workshop introduces information on the two main types of trauma experienced by children, the basics of the neuroscience of trauma, signs, symptoms and common misdiagnoses, how to make your classes more trauma-informed, how yoga can be part of the healing process, and self-care. It includes practical tools presented in both lecture and experiential format.

If you work with children who have special needs and/or have experienced trauma, we also strongly suggest attending this workshop in conjunction with the ChildLight Yoga & Mindfulness for Diverse Abilities Teacher Training. Oftentimes the two courses are scheduled back-to-back at the same studio location enabling completion of 25 training hours in a three day period (applicable as contact hours for the 95-hour RCYT program and CEs for Yoga Alliance).

Register Now

WASHINGTON, DC
Hosted by Breathing Space at Hyatt Place
Dates:
September 25, 2020
Times:
TBD
Trainer: Rochelle Jewel

This training is run by Childlight Yoga. Please contact them directly with questions and for registration.

ChildLight Yoga & Mindfulness for Diverse Abilities Teacher Training – September 2020 – Washington, DC
Sep 25 – Sep 27 all-day

Safe and accessible yoga for all needs.
ChildLight Yoga logo

Regardless of our challenges, each human being is uniquely able to develop greater body awareness, physical and mental strength and well-being. Learn how the practice of yoga can benefit youth with a wide range of diagnoses and physical and developmental and learning challenges such as Trauma, Anxiety and Depression, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorders, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome.

In this training, you will learn developmentally appropriate tools, breathing and relaxation techniques to facilitate individualized, group and family programs, as well as posture modifications using chairs and other props. Effective methods for encouraging cooperation, building community and developing social skills will be shared. Participants will focus on creating lesson plans and teaching in a variety of contexts.

Register Now

WASHINGTON, DC
Hosted by Breathing Space at Hyatt Place
Dates:
September 25-27, 2020
Times: 
Fri 5-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9am-4pm
Trainer: Rochelle Jewel

This training is run by Childlight Yoga. Please contact them directly with questions and for registration.


photo credits, creative commons license 2012: 
– Smiling Child’s Pose by flickr user lululemon athletica
– Baby in downward facing dog pose by flickr user kourtlynlott
– Baby yogi takes pachimotansana variation by flickr user cianc (kidding, he may need rescue)

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