By: Malika Dudley
HONOLULU, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Stretch Your Imagination" is a local non-profit bringing yoga into elementary school classrooms. Keiki experience numerous benefits and now it's easier than ever to incorporate it into your daily life.
People do yoga to relax and relieve stress. You may find it surprising that kids find it helpful for the very same reasons. Seven and three quarter year old Levi says yoga helps him focus. I asked him, "Are there times in class when you think, ugh... I just need to do yoga? Yeah, like when I'm doing math or writing because I sometimes get stressed out. <Malika> What does yoga help, when you're stressed out? <Levi> Just like to calm my body."
Levi's yoga teacher Brynne Caleda decided to combine her two passions, yoga and education, using yoga as a tool in an academic environment. "The idea that if children have tools for self regulation that that goes in tandem with academic achievement and success," she said.
Preliminary results of her pilot program at Ala Wai Elementary school show an increase in attendance, class participation, focus and concentration, with reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Eight year old Riley says, "It makes me feel focused and like relieved."
"I feel like I get all of my pain out and then I get to have fun," said 7 year old Quinn. Oliver says "It makes me feel balanced and calm." Seven and a half year old Oliver Nishikawa has been practicing yoga for three and a half years. I asked him what he would teach other kids his age, "I would teach them turtle, tree and rock because turtle you really get to stretch your body, tree you get to feel balance and rock you just get to be calm," he said.
Stretching, balance and calm, things we could all use in our daily lives. Why not make it a part of your routine? Levi says, "I like to do it with my mom and dad." His father Jaco said, "He has a video now so at night he says oh let's do some yoga so we put the video on and we kind of do it as a family."
Yoga media is easy to find on the internet or if you'd like to check out Brynne's educational yoga dvd go to Omolulu.com. She said, "The purpose of creating the DVD was looking at the developmental milestones that children are going through throughout their adolescence. I created four sequences that are each 15 minutes long that use yoga to develop those specific milestones with children."
Click HERE for a link to the Omolulu website.
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