Yoga helps kids stretch their bodies, minds
Business profile What: Jamie's Little Yogis Ownership: Jamie Anderson Contact: (701) 306-1613, email@example.com Online: http://littleyogiparty.com Cost: $95 for Yoga Package, which includes a 45-minute yoga party for up to 10 children or $...
What: Jamie's Little Yogis
Ownership: Jamie Anderson
Contact: (701) 306-1613, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: $95 for Yoga Package, which includes a 45-minute yoga party for up to 10 children or $175 for the Premium Package, which includes one hour of yoga and 30 minutes of either nail painting, face painting, balloon animals, or hair styling for up to 10 children. For both parties, there is an additional $10 charge for each additional child.
FARGO - Bending their bodies into poses like donkey kicks or lifting their legs for a make-believe bathroom break in the middle of the downward dog position often elicits fits of giggles.
While laughter might be frowned upon in an adult yoga class, children's yoga instructor Jamie Anderson of Moorhead encourages it.
"That helps them build self-esteem and relationships with their friends in a positive way," she said.
When Anderson and her husband, Tyler, spent about a month volunteering and teaching kids last November in South Africa, she realized kids have a blast doing yoga.
So after returning to the area, she started offering yoga classes and birthday parties for children through her business, Jamie's Little Yogis.
"My passion is working with young kids and this is a way with my yoga parties that I get to do that," she said.
Her first yoga party was for a group of 4-year-olds. She was a little nervous, wondering if she would be able to keep their attention.
"They just loved it," she said. "It's not normal yoga that I teach. It's not like an adult going to a yoga class. It's fun yoga. We incorporate games."
Some of those games include story time yoga, where Anderson makes up a story and uses yoga poses to help tell the story.
"Older kids in about second and third grade, they just love to share a story and will come up with poses to go along with their story," she said.
Anderson urges the kids to moo and meow with the cow and cat positions and when the table top pose loses a leg, it morphs into tree pose to make a new leg for the tables.
"I try to make yoga fun for kids so really every pose can make the kids laugh," she said.
Lori O'Hara of Dilworth hired Anderson for a peace-themed winter get-together with some 6- to 8-year-olds and said the kids had a blast.
"The kids had been inside and cooped up, and I felt this was a way for them to get some exercise and to use their minds instead of watching TV," she said.
Kids with all levels of experience, from those who had been to yoga classes before to those who had never heard of it, participated, and Anderson really connected with the kids, O'Hara said.
"I thought Jamie really did a good job of explaining what yoga was and how it benefitted our bodies and our spirits," she said. "Her tolerance level was high. They got giggly doing some poses. She was very patient and kind with them."
Not only is yoga fun, but it also helps them focus, increases flexibility and builds strong self-awareness, Anderson said.
"Kids respond really well to yoga," she said.
Yoga or stretching in the classroom is a great way for teachers to help kids refocus, she said.
"Even just to stretch two times a day in their classroom would make such a difference," Anderson said. "It's really good for kids because they're naturally active."
Anderson is working on her master's degree in school counseling and plans on developing a yoga curriculum for school counselors.
In addition to her yoga-themed birthday parties, Anderson also volunteers her services at Head Start and in area schools.
"I teach at schools for free to bring yoga practice to kids because I know how great it is for them," she said.
A group of 3- to 5-year-olds in the SouthEastern North Dakota Community Action Agency (SENDCAA) Head Start program in Fargo recently took part in a Little Yogis session.
"They were listening to Jamie and following her instructions, and they were really enjoying it," said Leola Daul, assistant project director of Family and Community Partnership.
The kids were intrigued by the story Anderson told while practicing yoga, Daul said.
"It was interesting how quickly they caught onto the poses," she said.
Some needed a little extra help to get into proper position. "Then they would hold the pose after they got the giggles out," Daul said. "It was really fun to watch."
The Head Start program works with the children on deep breathing, concentrating, focusing and following directions in their classrooms, and the yoga session helped reinforce all of that, Daul said.
Anderson's yoga parties here also benefit kids half-way around the world. Half of the proceeds go to the children she taught in Cape Town South Africa.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526