By Adrienne Chu
Most Fridays, my seven-month-old daughter and I walk south on 9th Street to Lighthouse Yoga Center to attend a Baby and Me Yoga class. Lately, babies are packed into the studio like gurgling, diapered sardines. And virtually every parent in the 17-member class calls Petworth home.
“When we first introduced the Baby and Me class several years ago it was relatively slow, but in the past nine months it has been consistently selling out,” said Julie Eisenberg, owner of Lighthouse Yoga.
That’s why Julie expects to have two classes per week after the holidays, to accommodate the ever-growing number of babies in the neighborhood. The classes are offered as six-week series, which Julie says encourages a sense of community among the parents, who get to see the same faces week after week.
Meredith McCullough, who teaches both Baby and Me Yoga (for babies six weeks old to pre-crawling) and Yoga for Movers and Tots (for crawlers to four-year-olds), loves teaching the class for many reasons, including getting to know her Petworth neighbors.
“I love meeting neighborhood families, and then meeting them on the street or on the playground,” Meredith said. “Last weekend we went to Ruta de Vino to check it out, and there were families from both the baby class and the tots class at tables near us!”
Meredith decided to take the Baby and Me teacher training after enjoying the classes with her older son. She led the demo classes for her teacher training in her Petworth home with her younger son as her “co-teacher,” inviting moms she had met through a neighborhood new-moms group.
“After several weeks in my house we approached Julie at Lighthouse to see if we could try it there,” Meredith said. “We thought we could get a minimum of five [people]. We had no clue it would be so huge.”
What classifies as a “Baby and Me” yoga class varies across studios. Some classes are mostly for parents, and babies are occasionally incorporated into poses. Meredith’s class at Lighthouse is, by contrast, very baby-centric. The focus is on getting infants to move, giggle, and engage with everyone around them through movement and song, which helps them develop language, motor, and social skills.
Parents also get a few stretches, squats, and oms, but, most importantly, they get a chance to bond with their little ones.
“One of the biggest benefits is creating space for mom or dad and baby to connect and be together in a very intimate way that is out of the regular routine,” Meredith said. “Even if the baby is sleeping or nursing or needing a change—any of the regular things—we are doing it in a very different space that cultivates connection and undivided attention.”
The next Baby and Me Yoga series begins Friday, January 6, at 12:15 pm at Lighthouse Yoga Center, and you can buy passes now. There will be a second class on Mondays at 1:00pm if there is enough interest. Petworth News readers can get a 10% discount on passes valued $75 or more using promo code "PNews10."