Family Adventures: Yoga classes a relaxing escape for Mom

Yoga students prepare for the start of a Hot Hatha class at OmTree Shala, 1405 Massachusetts St.

The Kid said looking at me very seriously from his spot at the dinner table. “Mama,” he said. “It’s time for you to go to yoga now.”

Even in my frazzled state of mind, I had to laugh. From the mouths of babes, as the saying goes.

Because he was so right. I had rushed him into the car after school and agitatedly prepared dinner, snapping at both my loves plenty along the way. I clearly needed an hour of peace and deep breathing to get back to my better self.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed the pre-natal class at the Yoga Center of Lawrence, 920 Massachusetts St., and I know a lot of people who are big fans of Bikram Yoga, 711 W. 23rd St. But these days I get my yoga fix at OmTree Shala, 1405 Massachusetts St.

I started at OmTree, very practically, because their drop-in schedule and pricing meant I didn’t have to commit to a specific class time each week. This is an important detail when you live with a toddler.

Classes begin at 6 a.m. most days and continue every few hours until 8 p.m. You can drop in for $14 a class, buy a punch card ($9-$12 per class, depending on how many classes you buy), or do unlimited classes for $90 per month. And if you can find a group of four friends to sign up together, that unlimited price drops to $50 per month, a bargain for all!

I’ve continued, however, because the second I walk in the door, the atmosphere begins to soothe me. The minty smell makes me inhale deeply without even thinking about it, and the soft music dulls the noise from outside. In summer, the light in the studio is bright and clean on the hardwood floors. Winter evenings, the same room turns into a warm, candlelit cocoon.

While I have yet to find an unpopular class (read: sometimes the classes are very full), I also appreciate the variety of classes offered. Aly’s “Sacred Yin Flow” on Mondays is perfect for the weeks I need more mellow stretching, while the Wednesday night “Hot Hatha” class is hard enough to count as a real workout for the day.

Another way my yoga class does double duty? It’s also my girls’ night out.

When OmTree owner Sharyn Harley first heard some friends and I talking about making yoga our weekly meet-up, she chuckled, “Well, it is more relaxing than a beer.” Experience has proven that she’s right about that.

While we, of course, don’t talk during class itself, we’ve found that there’s plenty of time to catch up in the time before and after. On a few occasions we have actually gone out for a drink in our yoga clothes afterward, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Mostly it’s nice just to touch base and relax without guilt about leaving our husbands and kiddos. After all, we’re doing something that’s good for us.

And, as my son would tell you, it is very good. I’m a better mom, wife and person in general when I’ve had that time of quiet. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to carve it out, but the less time you think you have for a yoga class, the more you probably need to go try one.

— Meryl Carver-Allmond lives in Lawrence and writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day at