Everyone knows born-and-bred New Yorkers are their own kind of people. By the age of four or five they are professionals at doing things that shocked and thrilled me as a teenager, like eating sushi, and wearing semi-cool clothes.
Same goes for yoga. I first tried it in earnest after a breakup (namely, when I was an adult) because I needed something that emotionally calmed and centered me. Now in Gowanus, a new yoga studio fills the same need for high-strung babies. (And just kids in general.)
Monkey Do! offers classes for all levels of young New Yorkers who need to take a load off with some focused downward dogs. There are classes for babies through teenagers, including Boys Do Yoga, Girls are Superheroes, AfroYoga, and Open Play. No, you won’t find pint-sized yogies zenned out in hot yoga (which sounds pretty dangerous), but you will see them getting their relax on with the help of toys, a nice soft rubber floor, bright colors (which might actually stress out adult practitioners) and—crucially—stroller parking.
Elders are allowed, but mostly to help their babies bend in positions that they couldn’t achieve on their own, because they can’t stand. Those same adults can also ditch their kids at Monkey Do! if they prefer, while they buy groceries at Whole Foods or even go on a date while their kid decompress from a high octane New York day. The “date night plan” lets couples take advantage of drop-in hours so they may have a quiet dinner out without tending to the brood.
Monkey Do! was founded by Marni Sandler, who is a mother herself and yoga teacher. Her vision was to create a space that made exercise fun for the youngest Brooklyn residents who, more than they know, are working overtime to push away stresses of jammed packed schedules, family tensions, heavy-loads of homework, and brains tethered to electronics. Plus, Monkey Do! performs a real service with its classes for special needs kids, many of whom benefit in untold ways from activities like yoga.
Knee-jerk skepticism about anything in Brooklyn catering too much to kids aside—because sometimes it’s hard to wonder what happened to just letting the kids go berserk outside for a minute?—I do not doubt that this somewhat more advanced outlet is well-suited to their needs. Once in Carroll Gardens, I overheard a seven-year-old almost have a breakdown because he didn’t want to go to chess class. The thought of moving bishops around strategically after a long day at school kind of made me anxious, too, so I could really see where this kid was coming from. Kid, if you’re out there, I direct you to Monkey Do!