Yoga is more than child’s play

Day Yoga Studio is offering classes for yogis 5 to 8 years old. CONTRIBUTED
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Day Yoga Studio is offering classes for yogis 5 to 8 years old. CONTRIBUTED

Child’s pose takes on a whole new meaning in this yoga practice.

Day Yoga Studio is offering a class for little yogis, ages 5-8, with a four-week Kids Yoga series. Fitness, flexibility and fun are all part of the practice that includes games, stories and a lot of laughter.

“Yoga should be fun no matter what age you are,” said Devon Schmidt, owner of Day Yoga Studio.

Games like “Yogi Says” and coloring meditations make it fun, but the kids also learn valuable skills and coping mechanisms along with breath and body awareness.

“We’re giving the younger kids some tools to be able to calm themselves down and deal with stressful situations,” Schmidt said.

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The COVID-19 pandemic added additional stressors for many kids whose lives were upended with changes at school and home.

“Kids have so much more stress than we think they have,” kids yoga instructor Elizabeth Hulsman said. “Many people don’t realize how much stress they deal with, even at a young age.”

Breathing techniques can help children and adults stay centered and calm.

“The greatest benefit for these kids is acquiring the tools that they will use their whole life,” Hulsman said.

Fun, friendship and fitness are all part of Kids Yoga at Day Yoga Studio - contributed
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Fun, friendship and fitness are all part of Kids Yoga at Day Yoga Studio - contributed

Mindfulness and Minecraft

Hulsman takes the young yogis on an imagination-guided trip – often of their own design.

“They picked Minecraft one day, so we did creeper and llama poses,” Hulsman said, smiling. “Every class, I’m taking them on an adventure.”

The adventures include community building, games and personal challenges.

“And it’s a non-competitive environment which is good for all kids,” Schmidt said.

The classes also focus on the concept of being a good person, something Schmidt has found through her own practice.

“The single most important thing that helps keep me sane is yoga,” she said. “It makes me a better person and a better mom.”

Yoga develops strength, flexibility and coordination. CONTRIBUTED
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Yoga develops strength, flexibility and coordination. CONTRIBUTED

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Breathwork and body awareness

Beyond stress reduction, yoga practice can also help kids improve their focus. An enhanced ability to pay attention can also pay off in the classroom or the playing field. Yoga can also raise self-esteem and build self-awareness.

Physical benefits of yoga can include improved balance and coordination as well as increased flexibility and strength.

“And it’s a lot of fun,” Hulsman said.

And if mom or dad wants to get in on the fun, there is an adult class offered at the same time at the Brown Street studio.

Contact this contributing writer at djuniewicz@gmail.com.

HOW TO TAKE KIDS YOGA CLASSES

What: Children, ages 5-8, learn how to develop strength, flexibility, and coordination of mind, body and spirit through music, games, laughter, animal poses and stories.

When: Mondays, 4:15-5:15; next session begins July 5

Where: Day Yoga Studio, 1100 Brown St.

Cost: $45 for four-week series; registration is required

Info: Call 937-829-5947