By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
On Friday, September 13, on one of the last warm days of fall, Stacey Peasley prepared for a special class at the Needham Public Library. Many frequent visitors of the library know Peasley for the catchy tunes and fun games she often presents to Needham’s youngest citizens. On this day, though, Peasley was tackling a much quieter activity: yoga.
Jack Moore, 6, along with his brother Charlie, 1, came to the event after a long day of school. “Have you ever done yoga?” Stacey asked Jack. He hadn’t, but he was ready to learn.
Stacey introduced her new students to Medi Teddy, a flexible teddy bear, to help teach different yoga moves and poses. Jack twisted the teddy bear into a yoga position. “You have to be very flexible for that one,” observed Stacey. Then, she went on to introduce the kids to the different benefits of yoga, including keeping both one’s body and mind in shape, and providing a good method to de-stress.
Stacey then asked everyone in attendance to put on their yoga glasses for the class. With mats rolled out and yoga glasses on, everyone was ready to learn about this relaxing activity.
One of the kids’ favorite activities during the program included a song that resembling a military march, including trumpets. The kids followed along to it, completing a series of yoga moves. “Namaste, butterfly up, butterfly down, plank pose, downward dog, upward dog, three-legged dog, downward dog, jump forward, ragdoll, butterfly up, namaste,” instructed Peasley, along with the music. The kids giggled as they listened to the instructions.
Peasley then invited the kids to try a different activity that they had never heard of before: toga - that is, yoga for your toes. Peasley poured a bag of pompoms of all different sizes onto the floor between Jack and Mariam’s yoga mats. Using their toes, these new yoga and toga students carefully picked up the fuzzy pompoms and moved them to their mat until there weren’t any left in the middle. “Oh, I got three of them!” exclaimed Jack as he placed the pompoms on the middle of the mandala design on his mat. Mariam’s strategy was a bit different, as she used her feet to place pompoms all around her mat.
“Their hands are moving,” said one adult, observing that the kids’ hands seemed to flex every time they picked up a new pompom with their feet. “That’s so cool.”
When there were no more pompoms left in the middle, Peasley had each kid examine their pile.
“Pick your favorite eight pompoms and line them up on the edge of your yoga mat,” she instructed. Once the kids had made their decisions, Peasley asked them to move the eight pompoms in between their feet.
“This is really hard,” said one of the kids trying to get a big pompom in between two of their toes.
“Big ones are tricky,” agreed Peasley. The kids enjoyed the soft - though very unusual - feeling once they had all eight pompoms in between their toes. As a prize, the kids got to take the pompoms home with them at the end of the workshop.
Stacey Peasley’s yoga workshop not only introduced the kids to yoga, but also gave them a great way to de-stress after a long day of school. Some of these kids may even go home and continue learning the ins and outs required for relaxing meditation.