After Tina Knight had her first baby, she sought to get back into the health and fitness routine she was in prior to giving birth. But this proved to be a challenge. Many fitness facilities weren’t geared toward new parents, lacking childcare or places for strollers. So, she decided to open a studio of her own.
“I did suffer from postpartum anxiety, and I thought [lack of access to fitness] was really detrimental to my postpartum recovery,” said Knight. “Yoga and a mindfulness practice was something I really needed, on top of just getting the baby weight off and having a community to support me in what I was going through. Once I realized a study like mine wasn’t available, I decided to just open one on my own in order to accommodate those needs. I realized I wasn’t alone in how I felt and what the needs were in the community.”
Knight launched Hapa Yoga in 2012 in San Diego, California, with a second location opening in December 2015. The studios are family-friendly in a variety of ways. For example, staff are customer service oriented and accommodating, helping parents in any way necessary. In addition, students have the option to check on their children at any time during a class if they need to.
“For the older kids, we have kids yoga classes that we offer at the same time as an adult class,” continued Knight. “A lot of times at other places you take them to a kids class and you as a parent just wait in the lobby. I wanted to be more effective, so the kids get to take their classes while the parents go into the studio next door to do their practice. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved in doing their fitness routine or their mindfulness routine.”
On February 25th, Hapa Yoga is even offering a “Kids Yoga Teacher Training Program,” for yoga instructors, parents, nannies and other caregivers who are interested in teaching yoga to kids. According to the course description, the training includes “child development, yoga asana, RCB methods, how to build a fun class, sample classes, practice hours at Hapa Yoga, and a Bal Yoga for Kids kit (book, CD, DVD).”
The course costs $275, and participants receive a certificate from Hapa Yoga upon completion.
Knight encouraged any studio that’s looking to become more family-friendly to offer a family yoga class, where students can practice with their children. “I think having yoga and fitness as a family cornerstone in their lifestyle is really important and builds a strong foundation in the family,” she said.
But to offer such a class, Knight stressed it’s important to have an instructor who is trained to work with children. “That’s very important,” she said.