Kids’ Yoga – Summer Fun with Gail Saunders of Smiling Tree (Free Class Info Included!)
“There’s more to yoga than standing on your head. Children gain strength, flexibility and coordination as well as concentration skills and confidence from doing yoga…and so do adults!” shares Gail Saunders, yoga teacher. Ready to learn more? Read on for details about upcoming free classes and to hear more from Gail about the benefits of yoga for all ages.
by Gail Saunders, Smiling Tree
In kids’ yoga class we will learn and practice classic yoga poses such as down dog, tree pose and cobra pose in a fun and playful way. Best of all, in yoga class everyone is involved all the time– no waiting your turn!
Our class includes relaxation exercises, and calming techniques. Simply paying attention to our breath can reduce stress and bring calmness. What better tool, what better gift can we have in life for our children and ourselves than the ability to find calm.
At the end of yoga class we often say “Namasté, the teacher in me, bows to the teacher in you” ….. me teaching children, children teaching me.
In addition to children’s yoga, yoga for rock climbers, and general adult yoga, I teach a Parent/Child Yoga class. Why parent/child yoga?…It’s fun!
Whether it’s your preschooler or preteen, practicing yoga together can bring you closer together and is good for everyone. Actually for the young child it’s nice to have the parent as support for the child. As I have learned from my summer camps, having a parent or special adult at the child’s side gives them the ease and confidence to try new things – parents often model the poses and model behavior.
We always share a few partner poses in parent/child classes. In partner poses parents and children work together helping each other. Often parent/child classes are a perfect transition to helping the children feel comfortable to take classes on their own. Children who have taken yoga classes on their own enjoy having a parent next to them. Sometimes the children act as teacher, helping their parent.
A parent/child yoga class is also a wonderful place to bond with your child. We think of bonding as something we do with our babies and small children but I’ve found that sharing a yoga class with your elementary age child or preteen is a way to reconnect in a new way. Sharing a yoga class with your older child is an opportunity to reconnect in this busy life.
How about the parents in the parent/child yoga class? I’ve often said that whether you’re a beginner or long time yogi the poses are the same. In a parent/child class the focus may be on the child but the adults are getting a yoga class too. While the children bark in down dog or meow in cat pose, parents can refine their poses and hold the poses a little longer to get the full benefit. While the children wrinkle their noses and sniff for bunny breath parents too are getting the benefit of yogic breathing.
Special time spent with your child in yoga class is special for you and your child. This “grownup activity” when shared with your preteen gives that special opportunity to hold on and let go of your growing child all at the same time.
Upcoming Class Offerings
Smiling Tree is offering sample classes in Santa Rosa on June 6 & 7, 2012 at the Solstice Studio on West Third Street. The classes are ongoing, and are offered in 4-week blocks on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Classes are currently offered for both Parent/Child (of various ages) and for preteens at this location. Find our registration on-line here.
Kids’ classes are also offered at the Sebastopol Community Center. Registration details here (on page 4).
We offer classes via Healdsburg schools (and possibly a Healdsburg Studio) as well. Call us for details at 707.528.6208.
If you have a playgroup, club, or class that you’d like to gather for a yoga session, let me know!
More on Gail Saunders
I bring more than 30 years experience servicing children, parents, and teaching staff in Sonoma County. Many people enjoy the enthusiasm and lighthearted approach I take to encouraging my students to literally stretch themselves.
After many years working for Parks and Recreation, recreation is something of an art for me. Storytelling, and sometimes even singing, are natural components of my classes—just a few hints of my background as a Parent/ Toddler course instructor and Music Together trainee. Students of all ages appreciate the warmth and calm I strive to generate through my work, and I think you, too, will find my classes engaging and centering.
I currently offer courses to students, parents, and teachers through partnerships with the Beth Ami Preschool, Rincon Valley Unified School District, the Healdsburg School, College Oak Montessori School, and other private groups.
Contact me at email@example.com or 707.528.6208.
Read more about Gail Saunders and her previous Smiling Tree programming here in this earlier Sono-Ma story.