Adults practice yoga for the physical and emotional health benefits. But little yogis aren't left off the mat in New York City. Here, fun, constructive, age-appropriate classes help kids get in touch with themselves and their surroundings, gain confidence and self-control, stay fit and relieve stress. (You thought grown-ups were the only New Yorkers who get stressed out?) Karma Kids Yoga operates out of their main studio near Union Square, as well as six other locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, offering classes for every age group (including babies as young as 2 months old, who can be enrolled in parent-and-child classes). Karma Kids features yoga birthday parties, including one where kids can paint their own yoga mat, and sells accessories, like books and DVDs.
On the Upper West Side, Next Generation Yoga holds classes at Chabad of the West 60s and at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, but for more intimacy, its teachers travel for private and group lessons.
Yogi Beans, another traveling program, conducts classes at Exhale Spa, Spabébé and in homes in NYC for ages 3 to 4, 4 to 7 and 8 to 10. Founder and instructor Lauren Rosenfeld focuses on enhancing children's already strong imaginations and sensitivities to energy, allowing them to be physically active without the pressure of competition. Kids ages 4 to 7 can try Yogi Beans on for size with a free Valentine's Day class at Lululemon Athletica (the E. 66th St. location).
Many adult yoga studios encourage practicing moms and dads to also get their youngsters involved. Universal Force Healing Center offers two kids' classes, one for ages 4 to 7 and another for ages 7 to 11. And Yoga People in Brooklyn incorporates activities like music, dance, art and animal imitation into its kids' yoga class.