“You come in like and ice cube and you leave like a marshmallow.” Daniel, 7-a student of Baptiste PowWow Yoga
One teacher points out that the same question was asked about marital arts classes for kids of a decade ago. Now we see marital arts studios on nearly every corner! Yoga, like martial arts, allows young people to learn, early on, habits of mind and body that can benefit them throughout their lives-strength, heightened focus and awareness of themselves and others, self-discipline, and even inner tranquility.
Yoga is a powerful tool for increasing focus, developing concentration, and allowing for self-generated relaxation. By moving through a series a poses, kids find they can more consciously connect to their own bodies and, therefore, can center themselves. Favorite Fiske poses included “crazy tree” and “the crow pose”. As the kids move through these poses they become more aware of their bodies, achieving a sense of working and moving three-dimensionally instead of just on one plane. This increases kinetic awareness, improves each child’s sense of comfort and connection to his or her body, which translates into a more positive self-image and heightened confidence. Layered on top of the poses are breathing techniques that give the kids techniques for releasing stress and relaxing in challenging situation. The overall focus on balance works to create stability and serenity- and “alert tranquility” – that can translate into a more peaceful and productive learning environment. Sound good? The kids thought so too…
Fiske Kids Weigh In: “I’m feeling less stressed, and I like it!”
Each child, centered on his or her own mat, began and ended each class with a warm up=often with balloons and balls to selected music. Classes included storytelling (“Mom, did you know yoga is an ancient art?”), breathing and relaxation techniques, and a challenging series of poses including the lotus position, the warrior, the crow, the dog and the cobra to name a few. Each of the poses, or asanas, works to improve posture, flexibility, focus, strength, or all of the above! Fiske students were asked what they like best and what they would tell the other grades about yoga: “Meditation when we were focusing on one sense (hearing)”; “It helped me to feel more relaxed”; “It helps me concentrate”; “It is a time when I can take it easy and not have to think so hard”; “It is so good, you will want to do it every day.”
By Patty Robertson and Mariam Gates