Got a budding yoga partner? Parents and their mini-mes can now cat-cow and downward-dog together at this new South Bay yoga studio that’s designed just for families. Read on to get the scoop on the newest outpost of one of our favorite family zen spots in the city.
Yoga Done Fun
Taking deep breaths and holding one position aren’t on many toddlers’ to-do list. But when that means 45 minutes of kiddified yoga poses combined with silly games, songs, and props, it becomes something little yogis can get behind. Zooga was founded with one mission: to offer yoga to babies, kids and families in a way that is fun and fulfilling.
In practice, that means kids will get a little exercise, have some fun, and learn to say “Ohm” in a way that will also benefit them outside of the yoga studio. If you’ve ever told a tantrum-throwing child to, “Take a deep breath,” you know how important it can be for kids to get control of themselves. A few classes with Zooga and they might just know it, too.
“If you incorporate yoga with a play aspect and music and singing, they’re more apt to stick with it when it does evolve into a real flow class,” said Zooga South Bay owner Jennifer Whitaker, who became the first official Zooga franchisee after taking her infant daughter to Zooga classes in Culver City (the original Zooga studio). “I’ve seen kids as young as 5 use the breathing techniques when they get upset. They say, ‘Let’s use the breathing that we learned in class.’ And they go through the technique to calm themselves down.”
Self soothing? Sign us up!
Whether you’ve got a baby in a sling or a third-grader with an attitude, there’s a class you all can enjoy, together or separately. Zooga classes—and the subsequent poses—are tailored to the participants ages. For toddlers and younger kids, classes revolve around an adventure theme. Want to “go to the beach?” Everybody stand like a palm tree! Do you see any frogs? Squat like a frog. Kids will be stretching, singing, dancing and, yes, doing yoga without even realizing it. Classes for older kids (there are drop-off classes starting at age 3) have more structure and tackle more of yoga’s fundamentals while still being fun enough to keep kids coming back. For babies, the Parent-and-Me classes involve a lot of lap-sitting and baby-lifting (so get those arms ready, Mama!).
Zooga classes are loosely structured, and all of them are an hour or less. There’s structure, but it’s always OK to deviate. So if your toddler wants to run circles around his yoga mat instead of doing Child’s Pose on the floor, nobody’s going to complain.
photo: Melissa Heckscher
It’s Not Just for Yoga
Yogi or not, most little kids don’t have a big attention span. To mix things up, Zooga offers a variety of choices, from Parent-and-Me classes (starting at 6 weeks) to music, baby sign language, kids (up to age 5) ballet, and a soon-to-come “Kickin’ Ninja” class for kids ages 3-8. There’s even a monthly Parents Night Out option for moms and dads who need a date night even more than deep breaths.
There’s a Class for You, Too!
For Moms and dads tired of juggling gym memberships, Zooga offers classes for both parents and kids. Adults can come in without the kids for a yoga or stretching class and come back the next day with their little ones for some of the same, set at a kids’ pace. Of course, there are also pre- and post-natal yoga classes as well as boot camp classes for moms with babies-in-tow (who will likely sleep while mom exercises).
“We don’t want a family to have to have a membership at all these different places,” Whitaker said. “We wanted to make it a one-stop place for families.”
Namaste, family. Namaste.
Zooga Yoga South Bay
2206 Artesia Blvd.
Baby/Kid Yoga: Do you find you all get Zen, or to relax you need no baby? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
—All photos courtesy of Zooga Yoga South Bay unless otherwise noted.