Not all gyms are created equal, though. At a minimum, some offer small childcare rooms where parents can drop the kids enroute to the workout equipment. The truly family-friendly options are geared to help both parents and children meet their fitness goals in a safe, supportive environment.
The following options provide opportunities for families to either work out together or offer kids’ classes that coincide with adult programs. Modeling an active lifestyle by exercising alongside the kids can set up a dynamic for a lifetime of good fitness habits!
Tula Movement Arts
With over 5,000 square feet of studio space, Tula Movement Arts offers fun, unconventional movement arts for all ages and abilities through a combination of classes aimed to embody the balance between play and mindfulness. “Tula” itself means balance in Sanskrit.
Their serene, adult yoga studio offers a full schedule of classes with drop-in childcare available in a dedicated, separate space, while their high-energy circus studio offers family-friendly classes in aerial, acro, bungee, tumbling and dance.
“We've always really wanted to be a sort of ‘one stop shop’ for the whole family—a place where you can start prenatal yoga and have something for yourself and your kids from birth on,” says owner Lotsie Cash. “A lot of the kinds of classes we offer are unique to our space and you can't find them anywhere else in town. We want people to not only feel good and strong in their body, but to try all these seemingly ‘impossible’ things like aerial and acro and show themselves they're more capable than they ever imagined.”
Free Spirit Yoga + Fitness + Play
Located in the heart of the Old Mill District, Free Spirit is a family-focused yoga and fitness center owned by local parents, Rachel and Seth Augustine.
Free Spirit's 3000-square-foot ninja warrior gym includes a rock-climbing wall, giant hammock, ninja warrior obstacles, climbing nets, a separate baby and toddler play space and a two-story slide. Their yoga studio also has the only yoga wall in Bend built directly into the walls with specific anchors and straps, allowing for unique, body-positive fitness classes for the whole family.
Several of their adult classes are intentionally timed to correspond to kids’ classes, while other programs are designed for parents or caregivers to do together with their children, such as prenatal yoga classes, Mom + Baby Yoga, Mom + Baby Fitness, Baby Ninja, Mini-Ninja and Mini-Yogi.
“We are not your standard adult-focused gym with a small area where children are put for childcare. Our goal is to keep kids active and healthy and allow time for adults to do the same,” says Rachel Augustine. “Another huge need for families in the Bend community is to have more childcare / drop-off options. That’s why we have well-trained, adult kids’ coaches, who all have extensive prior experience working with kids.”
Namaspa Yoga Community
Namaspa Yoga Community in Bend offers a warm, welcoming place where kids ages three and up can learn the basics of yoga, while their caregivers enjoy their own vinyasa practice in the room next door. Child-friendly classes include movement, mindful games, breathing exercises, stories and sometimes a special craft.
According to their kids’ program manager, Deven Sisler, they offer the only specialized training program in Central Oregon to certify yoga teachers to work specifically with children, youth and families.
“Many people ask me, ‘How do I get my kid to do yoga?’,” says Sisler. “I respond, ‘You should do yoga!’ When families can practice yoga together it is so much more than working out, as they can learn different ways to regulate, breathe and communicate with kindness.”
Namaspa also offers digital access through Zoom and Facebook, so families can practice together from home any time of the day. For another fun twist on a traditional yoga class, Sisler offers Family AcroYoga online through YogaAnytime.com.
“AcroYoga is a fusion of the wisdom of yoga and the power of acrobatics that creates a space where families can play and get fit at the same time,” says Sisler. “Not only do families get to stretch, strengthen, breathe and relax together, but parents can use this series to learn how to become a human jungle gym for their kids.”