ALL YOGIS DRIP on their mats. But the students in this class aren’t sweating; they’re drooling. That’s because while the practice of yoga is thousands of years old, no one in this crew is more than 6 months.
Starting young is one of the principles behind Lil Omm Yoga (4830 V St. NW; 202-248-6304), which opened last month in the Palisades and aims to make yoga a family affair.
Founder Pleasance Lowengard Silicki conceived of the idea while pregnant with her daughter, Saylor, now 2. Her original vision was a space dedicated to prenatal yoga, but as Saylor grew, so did Silicki’s inspiration. “Like all moms, I really wanted a way to integrate what we love — our children —with that work-life balance,” Silicki says.
The result: classes that parents and kids can do together, whether the kids are in the womb or in high school. “As you are pregnant and your children grow, we have classes that grow with you,” says Kristin Maresca, who co-directs the studio with Silicki.
For first-time mom Rhea Vaflor, that means taking Itsy Bitsy Yoga Babies to better bond and play with her 12-week-old daughter, Sloane. They’d taken yoga “together” before when Vaflor did prenatal classes with Silicki. “It just seemed like a natural continuation,” Vaflor says. “Especially because I’m going back to work, I feel like it’s time just for us.”
The youngest yogis not in utero can start at 6 weeks old with Itsy Bitsy Yoga Babies. But instead of downward dog and crow, they work on poses like Padahasta, in which moms or dads grasp their babies’ feet and push their knees to their tummies one at a time. This helps relax babies’ lower bodies and relieve gas.
Older kids can take classes such as Omm Tweens or Omm Teens, in which the poses are more like those in traditional adult classes but the goal is confidence-building. “We focus on body awareness and topics that are appropriate for changing bodies,” Silicki says. “Since this can be a stressful and challenging time in life, we might do partner poses to help build community.”
Not all Lil Omm classes are child’s play, though. Adults-only options abound, but even when the kids are out of sight, they’re not out of mind. Instructors are trained in the needs of prenatal and postpartum women, and child care is available in a room that opens to the studio.
“We don’t believe in forcing kids to practice yoga,” Silicki says. “They just naturally want to do it when they hear about it and see their parents do it.”
Besides yoga, Lil Omm aims to be a resource for families through extracurricular programs, such as a workshop May 12 on creating children’s sleep routines.
And moms get extra love next month — take a free Blissful Mama Yoga class on Mother’s Day from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and get 15 percent off class passes in May. Can you say, “Namaste”?
Lil Omm isn’t the only place for kids to meet mats. Here are some other studios for your wee ones.
» Budding Yogis (3838 Northampton St. NW; 202-686-1104) offers a range of creative classes, including “Movers & Twisters,” which incorporates music and art.
» YogaTales (301-951-9642) is a mobile studio that brings its story-based classes to homes and schools.
Written by Express contributor Stephanie Kanowitz
Photos by Sandy Kavalier