We recently interviewed Marni Sandler (pictured here with her daughter). Marni is the owner and founder of Monkey Do! Yoga in Gowanus, Brooklyn, a studio for Kids & Families that offers everything from yoga to Capoeira to cooking classes! They even have a backyard! Read her interview below to learn more about Marni and visit www.monkeydoyoga.com for more information about her studio.
Lotus & Bug: Tell us a little about yourself.
Marni Sandler:First and foremost, I'm a parent of an almost 3-year old. I'm also the owner/founder of Monkey Do! Yoga in Brooklyn, a studio for Kids & Families. As a mom and kids yoga teacher, I've always believed that learning and growth happen best through play - I founded Monkey Do! on those principles. Last, but not least, I'm in Operations/Production at R/GA, a large creative design agency, so I'm lucky enough to be in some very different worlds that compliment each other.
L & B: What helps you balance your career and personal life?
MS.: Balance is a constant practice (and a challenging one!), I wouldn't say that it's something I've simply found. One thing that helps me is to make less of a distinction between career and personal life, its all just life, really. I try to maintain mindfulness in either situation, that's constant practice as well. I'm able to apply the Mindfulness, Yoga and Meditation trainings I've had specifically for children and schools - to all aspects of my life, business, personal and most importantly, as a mom. I'd encourage others to look into that as well.
L & B: Where do you find inspiration?
M.S.:Visual inspiration is everywhere, but recently, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts. It's a really great way to absorb different stories, news, research, etc..., great for a commute or when you're washing dishes!
L & B: What is your first childhood memory?
M.S.:At 2 years old, I distinctly remember looking up at my mom, and asking her if I was 3 yet. Funny that we were in such a rush back then to get older.
L & B: Did you have a role model growing up?
M.S.:Without realizing it, I think I had always looked to my aunt - independent, urban and active. She exposed me to all the adventures that you could have in New York City at a young age.
L & B: What’s your favorite aspect about living in your community?
M.S.:The resources and diversity we have here (in Brooklyn) are amazing. Within just a few blocks, I can expose my daughter to museums, libraries, dance, etc... But we don't even have to leave the building, there are so many families here, there are always kids to run around with in the hallways. I also feel really proud that Monkey Do! has helped to build community among families in our neighborhood and beyond.
L & B: Where is your favorite place to travel to?
M.S.:I love exploring and one of my favorite ways to visit other places is through the food. I've enjoyed taking local cooking classes in lots of places, like South India and Peru. Recently, we've been taking simple local trips and visiting nearby friends.
L & B: What is the one thing you’ve never done that you would like to do?
M.S.:I've never had a real conversation in Mandarin. I'm learning along with my daughter, she's picking it up a lot quicker than me!
L & B: Would you rather fly or read minds?
M.S.:Fly! If you feel that moment of suspension you find in a handstand, that'll definitely make you want to fly.
L & B: What was the last gift you gave someone?
M.S.: Cauliflower pizza crust. My mom had been looking for this, but they never have it in her local store.
L & B: What’s your favorite item in your closet?
M.S.:My oldest, most worn PJs. I'll never get rid of them.
One our mantras at Lotus & Bug is "Be Active. Be Brave. Be Kind.”
How do and your family stay active?
We mix it up! Yesterday, we went to a tots Capoeira class at Monkey Do (it's not just yoga!). My daughter loved all of the animal movements that were incorporated, especially hopping like a 'canguru.'
How are you brave?
This was a fun way for me to try and explain the concept of bravery to my daughter. Her response: "eating dinner you made." I think I need to work on that...
How are you kind?
My daughter's response was "by hugging people and letting my mommy sleep." I won't argue with that one!