Location: 364 24th Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Hours: Varies by class, check the online schedule
Description: We had the pleasure of being invited to attend a class at Soja Mind/Body a few weekends ago. My daughter has done martial arts previous to this but is not enrolled in a class right now, so we were excited to check it out. Jacob and Peter who run the children's classes were very welcoming and my daughter quickly felt comfortable joining in with the veteran kids. At the beginning of the class everyone who was participating sort of came together in the middle for what looked like a big group hug where they were sending positive vibrations to one another. They then practiced some mindfulness along with deep breathing. At the core of the Soja youth "mindfulness martial arts" are the values of focus, respect, awareness, and confidence. All great things as a parent that you are looking to instill in your child. The class was full of kicks, drills, tumbling, and a whole lot of fun. The teachers made sure Satya knew what to do, this being her first time and all. Jacob assigned an older child who appeared to be in leadership training to aide Satya with getting some more of the difficult tumbles down. For the last ten minutes of class they played a martial art style game of tag. All the kids in the class were running around laughing and having so much fun with this. At the end of class Satya said that she had fun and she wanted to come back- that's how you know a good program, when your child endorses it to you at the end!
Highlights: I really liked that they practiced deep breathing and mindfulness with the children. As the parent of a high energy second grader I appreciate anybody who promotes techniques of calming to the children. This is something they did not do to the same extent in our past martial arts class that I really noticed when we went to Soja.
Tips: Before you commit your child to a weekend activity you want to make sure that your child is into it. Soja offers a free trial class to see if it is the right fit for your child. You can't beat that offer!