Yoga class teaches area students downward joy
November 7, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
Sit in a circle, close your eyes and then hold your arms straight in front of you.
Then, take a deep breath, as your friends give you clues on whether what you’re holding is in the shape of a cat or a skeleton.
Lay flat on your back, breathing with your belly. Then, turn your head and stick your tongue out at your neighbor.
Concentrate, stay focused, keep your poise. Unless you find a bug; then feel free to start giggling.
What, you’ve never practiced yoga?
Yoga done Snoqualmie Elementary School style, that is. A different flavor of the ancient practice, with games mixed in with the exercises, keeping children engaged and limber.
“I have this knee thing and yoga works well for it,” student Mia Bel said.
Besides their arms, knees and legs, the students work out their funny bone. When a student shows off her double joints, her buddy calls it “creepy.”
The students manage to have fun, although they did not choose to do yoga. Almost all of them point to one person as responsible for making them show up once a week to sit on a mat in an empty gym — their mothers.
“My mom works at home,” student Ashlyn Klein said. “I think she was trying to get rid of me, so I don’t get loud around the house.”
“My mom said, ‘I’m going to find every activity I can, so you don’t annoy me,’” Bel said.
Classmate Ella Svensson said her mom had a different concern.
“My mom wanted me to do it because it’s a good exercise, and it takes the pain away,” third-grader Svensson said.
It helps when a buddy joins a class.
Student Connor Knowles said he joined because of his mom and because his pal had joined, too.
Joey Sands, the pal, said he joined because of football-induced pulled muscles in his legs, and because Connor is there.
So is Connor’s mom.
“They get a little antsy,” said Erin Knowles, the class’ instructor. “So, we do little games. Sitting still is very difficult for them.”
Besides the laughs and the stretches, students practice other “muscles,” like trust and communication, taking turns when they talk and treating each other with respect.
The goal, Erin Knowles said, is to turn this one hour per week into a lifelong skill.
“I would like them to want to come back, and I would like to see more kids join,” she said. “Have the kids enjoy the program, enjoy doing movement, instead of playing video games.”