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Head of the Class Mom: Marni Sandler

Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Marni Sandler—owner of Monkey Do! Yoga—and mom to an amazing daughter!

Tell us about yourself. Why did you start Monkey Do! Yoga?
I had been dreaming of opening a yoga studio dedicated to children and families for years. My background is in children’s media, especially interactive media design. I’ve been a yoga practitioner for a good portion of my life and often thought of bringing those worlds together. My yoga training focused on children—but it wasn’t until my own daughter was born that I was driven to make it a reality. She was an inspiration to finally make the studio happen. I opened the doors to Monkey Do! Yoga exactly 12 months after she was born.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
One thing that helps me is to erase those categories as much as I can, and to be in the moment whether I’m at home, in the studio, or in my corporate advertising/media job. Each motivates and influences the other. I’ve also had to come to terms with the fact that everything is not going to get done perfectly, and that’s fine. My home isn’t as neat as it used to be—it’s a constant flow of shifting priorities.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
When my daughter was about eight weeks old, we went to a parent/baby yoga class. I was surrounded by new moms and their babies—sleeping, crying, and feeding, most of us exhausted and barely able to move. That class was unlike any other I had been to in all my years of practice. It was the most impactful; among all that noise I had never been so present. Just then, my tiny daughter let out some gas with a noise disproportionate to her size, really underscoring the idea of listening to our bodies. I had to laugh to myself.

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
The main challenge is feeling like there’s no “off button” or break. I’m not sure that’s ever going to change, at least until I retire! It’s rewarding to find those rare moments of peace, which are especially sweet when I can share them with my daughter.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
I wish I knew how much we’re all capable of. Once you go through childbirth, you realize you can do anything. I found it very empowering.

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
I would definitely suggest moms get out and socialize as soon possible after your kids are born. It can be challenging to get out of the house. But, I’m so grateful for those days meeting up with other new Parents for lunch, Mommy & Me yoga, and walks in the park (even in the snow!). Those bonds are still really strong – it’s great to be able to talk to other women going through exactly the same thing.

QUICK Q’s:

What is your favorite children’s book?
Guess how Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. This may sound silly, but when my daughter was brand new, I attempted to read it to her and was so overcome with emotion. To this day I still can’t get through that book.

What has been your favorite kids’ class?
Monkey Do! Yoga offers a variety of classes for kids and families, so it’s hard to pick a favorite! But, I especially love are our Spanish-infused yoga for kids—movement is such a great way to integrate language.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
My daughter is almost 17 months and loves coming to the studio for the Sing and Move class. Then, if I get my way, we sneak in some ice cream around the corner at Ample Hills.

What is your favorite rainy day escape?
I love Brooklyn—I’m very lucky to live in an apartment building with lots of kids the same age as my daughter. We get together, order in lunch, and let the kids play. We don’t even have to leave the building!

Check out the full schedule for Monkey Do! Yoga, here!