Library offers a little yoga for little ones
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News December 29, 2012 9:20PM
Danae Molitor (center) teaches area children a few basic individual and group yoga moves Friday at the Rakow Branch of Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. 12/28/12 | Janelle Walker~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 31, 2013 6:52AM
ELGIN — Yoga, according to 9-year-old Graham Hunt, is “exercise that calms you down.”
More than 40 Elgin-area school children got some “calming time” Friday during the first-ever kids yoga session at Gail Borden Public Library’s Rakow Branch.
“Every month, we brainstorm for programs we can bring to Rakow,” said Anne Bedard, a branch assistant. Yoga for kids seemed like a good activity for the winter break, she said. “Kids, too, need to de-stress for the holiday.”
Children can get some of the same benefits from yoga as their parents, said Danae Molitor. She teaches yoga at The Centre of Elgin and has offered a kids yoga class there for the last several years in addition to the adult classes. Bedard reached out to Molitor and asked her to bring a class to the library.
Molitor ran the children through some basic yoga poses in the Rakow children’s area, helping them stretch their bodies and strengthen their cores. During the Friday class, she stuck to animal poses such as cat, cow, stork and the ever-famous downward dog. Some visualization — relaxing on a raft on a sunny day — helped round out the 45-minute class.
For small children, the yoga exercises can help them focus and become more aware of their bodies and breathing, Molitor said.
She also bases which poses she’ll use on the children in the class. Boys tend to like the “masculine” stances such as a warrior pose, but girls “like poses that are more peaceful, so it balances,” she said.
“If it is a very active class, we will do more active poses,” she said.
The class was limited to children ages 5 through 12. That did mean some of the children were a little “squirmy” and, although paying attention, had more energy to burn than sometimes allowed by yoga.
She doesn’t make the children sit still or correct their poses, she added. “It is hard to be quiet and still,” she told the children as the class was winding down. “So fidget a little bit and then get comfortable” on the floor, she said.
Graham Hunt was in his second yoga class with Molitor, having taken one with her in the spring. His mother, Amy Bouque, had taken a yoga teachers training class with Molitor nearly a decade ago and still practices yoga at home. He’s done it with his mother, too, Graham said. His younger brother, age 2, likes to do yoga with his mom as well, Graham said.
Bouque said she finds that yoga helps her children learn self-control. “They get the ability to calm themselves on their own, without external forces,” she said. “They can take a breath and take a pause.”