Not your average posers
Ten-year-old Megan Lowe is in the process of perfecting her cat stretch, as well as her tree, cobra and eagle poses. She also seems a lot more relaxed lately.
It’s easy to forget that young people often experience their own version of stress, be it a playground bully, soccer tryouts, grasping long division or having parents who live in different places.
But for one day a week in Amrito Ingle’s “Kids Yoga” class, students get the chance to experience a calm and peaceful stillness that is rare in the lives of most young people today.
“They’re usually bouncing off the walls at the beginning of each class – by the time they leave they’re relaxed and centered,” Ingle said. “I see a major difference.”
Known for relieving stress and improving posture, strength, balance and flexibility, adult yoga classes in South Lake Tahoe are often filled to capacity. Ingle is the first local instructor to introduce the ancient practice to children between the ages of 7 and 12. The class’ popularity recently resulted in the addition of a second session beginning Feb. 19.
“I was introduced to yoga at the age of 6 by a family friend who was visiting from India,” Ingle said. “Kids are such quick, enthusiastic learners – it gives them a sense of being in charge of their bodies and having some control over how they feel.”
By incorporating a series of interactive activities and games into each class, students learn how to be silent, alert, focused and relaxed.
“It teaches them how to release stress in a positive way,” said Ingle, who also works full-time in the sales department at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. “When it comes to physical ability, we’re conditioned to expect a radical decline in joint mobility and strength with age – this is not necessary. Yoga encourages the early development of good habits that will increase and maintain flexibility throughout one’s life.”
Eight-year-old Dylan O’Hara thinks it’s funny when his instructor does the lion pose, which involves exercising the face muscles.
“But my favorite is when I go up on my shoulders and stick my toes in the air,” he said.
If kids are stressed, chances are their parents are, too. One student recently introduced her father to a lengthy relaxation technique she learned in class.
“It’s better than joining a gang,” said Ingle with a chuckle. “Some parents say it’s too hard to add one more thing to their children’s busy lives. But I say it’s something that can really help them deal with their insane schedules.”
The next Kids Yoga class will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays from Feb. 19 through April 30 at Kahle Community Center. The cost is $48 for the entire session or $6 drop-in. To preregister call (702) 588-0271. For more information on adult or private classes, contact Ingle at (702) 588-8693.
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