At Monkey Do! Yoga, participants practice downward dog and child’s pose. What’s unique is that the participants aren’t your typical adults — in fact, they are mostly kids.
Monkey Do! Yoga is a family yoga studio in Brooklyn, New York, founded by Marni Sandler. With a master’s degree in interactive media for children, Sandler left the corporate world to bring her passion for family and yoga together. The studio opened in mid-December 2015.
“It was not until I had my own daughter that I really felt like it was a viable idea,” said Sandler. “That’s when I really started pushing to make it happen. We’re still in the new phases, but we’re up and running.”
Sandler explained that prior to Monkey Do! Yoga, she struggled to find a yoga studio that was a truly family-friendly space. Although many studios are welcoming to parents, most don’t boast space for strollers or shelves to hold large diaper bags. At Monkey Do! Yoga, parents can take advantage of stroller parking in front of the studio, rubber flooring and other family-friendly features.
“The color scheme and the general design and look of the place is very fun, so kids get excited when they’re in here,” continued Sandler. “We have lots of props for them, toys and things to climb on.”
Although this is a passion project for Sandler, running a yoga studio for families does have its challenges. For example, scheduling can be tough. “You have to work around nap times, lunch times, school times, and finding that right mix can be a little bit challenging,” she said. “We’re learning every day.”
For studios interested in offering family-friendly programming of their own, Sandler said it’s vital to have the right teachers in place. “There are some people that have that magic touch with kids, and that’s what I think keeps people coming back,” she said. “Just because someone is a really wonderful, experienced yoga teacher, they might not necessarily be the best person to work with kids, so you need to see them in action and make sure they’re really connecting with the families.”
Also, keep in mind if your studio management software can account for members with kids. Monkey Do! Yoga uses MINDBODY, and Sandler said it was a learning process to train front desk staff on access for families.
“It’s been a passion project for me,” said Sandler. “You really have to love what you’re doing because it is 24 hours a day and constant. If you don’t love it, it’s probably a really hard business.”