Monday, September 28, 2015

Yoga for Kids

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge OWEN HARVEY
  • Owen Harvey

The Bhagavad Gita teaches that yoga is an evenness of mind, and that’s not something most kids (or adults) have. Children get a lot of different messages in our busy world, but aligning the breath with movement in a noncompetitive setting isn’t often one of them. Yet, teaching kids awareness of their bodies can harvest the strength they need to become the calm eye of the storm. "I wish someone had taught me how to relax, breathe deeply, focus, and align as a child," says Ami Jayaprada Hirschstein from the new YogAlive in New Paltz. "Introducing these ‘good habits’ at a young age helps a person fully integrate them into their lives. Yoga invites children to playfully explore their bodies, increasing coordination, strength, balance, and self-esteem.”

Can you tell September is National Yoga month? Perfect timing because many local yoga studios are just starting up their kids’ and family classes again after a summer break.

The Living Seed in New Paltz started two new yoga classes for kids last week. Taught by teachers who are trained in teaching yoga to children, they draw from their backgrounds in circus arts, music, meditation, and storytelling to create an engaging and instructive class. Many asanas or postures are inspired by animals, natural shapes and everyday objects, and these images are used in stories, song, and movement to illustrate structure and energetic flow, so kids can embody the poses in a fun and imaginative way.
Kids’ Yoga at the Living Seed in New Paltz for ages 4-7: Sundays from 9:30-10:30am; drop-in or buy a series of 6 classes to be used within 3 months at a discount; and Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30pm, a workshop series of 6 classes running September 23rd-October 28th and repeating; drop in or commit to 6 consecutive weeks at a discount. The New Paltz school bus offers drop-off at the Living Seed for qualified kids.

In Kingston, it’s Yoga Story Time again at the Yoga House. Starting in October, this ain't no ordinary story hour. Led by yoga instructor and former childhood educator, Mel Toth, it’s a creative way to introduce your little one to breath work and yoga poses through stories. What the teachers at the Yoga House have noticed in their kids’ classes, privates, and work with the YMCA, is that kids as young as 3 and 4 actually have a great capacity for focus when taught yoga. Offering only parent-child classes, the focus is on sharing yoga with your kids.
Yoga Story Time at the Yoga House in Kingston for ages 2-4 with parent: Thursdays at 11:30a for 30-45 minutes, $10 drop-in or $35 for 5 classes. Mama and Me for babies up to 24 months with parent: moving this week to Thursdays at 12:30p, $13 drop-in or use a class card. Look for Munchkin and Me for ages 3-5 with parent, a 4-class series, joining the schedule sometime soon.

Like it? Check out YogAlive, the new studio born from the merging of Jai Ma Yoga Center and Ashtanga Yoga (all in New Paltz), which is in the midst of scheduling Yogababy and a separate children’s class, to begin in October. And visit Quest Yoga Arts in Mount Kisco, where you can enrich your child’s life with yoga and mindfulness at any age: Prenatal, Mama & Me (for practitioners and their babies), Lotus Littles Yoga (for ages 3-5), Rockstars (for ages 6-9), Kids’ Yoga Jam (for ages 10-12), and Teen Yoga (for ages 13+).

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” - unattributed
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