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Getting an early start on yoga

Yoga is touted as a lifelong exercise, one that can be carried on well into the golden years. And one that can be enjoyed earlier on, as is the case with the new yoga for kids program launched this week at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira.
The program is designed to ground children and connect them with their inner self, creating a more powerful and confident individual.

Instructor Christina Schill said the classes are not the traditional yoga classes, but the children will learn the asanas or poses.

“It becomes more playful and I am bringing that playful aspect to what can be considered a very serious practice,” she explained.

The program began as an offshoot of a day program held at the centre where staff asked Schill if she could develop anything for children over the summer and she jumped at the chance.

“Yoga is important because it is such a way of balancing kids out in this hectic world. Everything is so fast paced, high paced, high strung, and kids have more stress than we would like to admit that they do at this age. Yoga is something where they can take time to connect everything from the mind, the body and down to the spirit.”

The class for 7 to 12 year olds has been opened up as a drop-in class and this fall the centre will be holding a class for young children to learn the art of yoga.

“We are hoping that parents take a look at what we are doing here and with the drop-in class people are welcome to come and take part and see if they like it and bring their child for a class to see if they are interested.”

Older children are encouraged to come to the regular yoga classes as they are much more developed.

Children may not fully understand all the benefits of the practice of yoga, but Schill believes deep inside the benefits are beginning to grow with their first steps into art.

“There are many sides of meditation and our first thoughts are one sits quietly and closes their eyes not thinking or talking but that is just one very small section of meditation. It can be done while walking even talking and I let the children know all about this.”

Schill is hoping to develop a life long pursuit of yoga in her students and will be discussing not only the physical but mental advantages of performing yoga with the children.

“I am looking to take it further with the kids and when I discuss the mind with them I am referring to their thoughts and meditations. Their bodies have the physical work out of the actual practice and we have the spirit which is connected to their breath and when you take all of that and bring it together you get a well rounded confident child.”

Classes run every Tuesday at the WMC throughout the summer until Aug. 7 with a starting time of 4:15 p.m.

“It is so important, kids are our future, they need to become confident and strong individuals within themselves especially with the way this world is now.”

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