Children practice their strength, balance, and flexibility at the Medfield Library’s yoga class. Photos by Laura Drinan
By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Children aren’t particularly well known for being able to sit still for very long. They wiggle and giggle, fidget and squirm. But at the Medfield Public Library, a group of children proved to be quite experienced in practicing mindfulness at the library’s yoga for children class.
Erin Mann, a certified children’s yoga instructor, perfectly blended meditation, yoga, literacy, and silliness into one 45-minute program. As the preschoolers walked into the children’s program room, Erin excitedly greeted them and welcomed them inside. The kids made themselves name-tags and claimed their spots on the teal-colored yoga pats placed around the room.
Although many of the children were seasoned yogis, Erin reminded them and informed any newcomers of her rules for the class: that the kids must keep their listening ears on and remain in their special spot on the mat at all times.
They began with the downward dog pose, stretching out their hamstrings and counting to 10. Standing tall on their mats, they then discussed some of their morning routines. The kids took turns providing Erin with answers, like putting on pants, brushing their teeth, and eating breakfast.
With a silly song about going to work instructing them, the kids listened and did all sorts of stretches and yoga positions, like a chair pose while pretending to type away at their imaginary work desks.
Erin also led the kids to apply make-believe sunscreen on their face, neck, and arms, which segued into doing shoulder rolls and arm stretches. They also lied down on their backs for the fish pose while listening to a funny song about fishes doing everyday human tasks.
During the session, the children were also asked to focus on their breathing. Erin reminded the children to listen to their bodies when they were doing the more complicated poses, like the seahorse, which tasked the yogis to lie on their stomachs and hold their ankles.
Towards the end of the yoga class, Erin read a Mother’s Day-themed book and assigned “homework” to the children. Their assignment? To pass kindness on to someone meaningful in their lives.
During shavasana, a quiet resting time at the end of a yoga session, the children laid down on their backs and Erin placed a rubber duck on each child’s stomach. She challenged them to be still enough during shavasana to keep the duck in the same spot while they listened to peaceful music.
Calm and breathing deeply, the young yogis sat up in their special spots and put their hands together, repeating “namaste” after Erin. The children crowded around her to get a stamp of a turtle on their hands and carry on with the remainder of the day with peacefulness and kindness in mind.