Early childhood yoga class gives students tools to blossom

Don’t let the title fool you. "Childblossom Yoga: Mindful Me" is more than poses and postures. The series of classes offered through the St. Charles Park District teaches young children effective social and emotional tools that will have a lasting affect on their well-being.

“There is a real need for incorporating movement and breath into social and emotional learning,” said Erica Filyo, Childblossom Yoga founder and certified yoga instructor.

She said in today’s technological world of instant access, children are less in tune with their minds and bodies.

“They are less aware of what they need and how they are feeling. This class helps them be mindful, not only of themselves, but of others as well,” Filyo said.

And these mindful techniques can be applied long after the class ends.

“It can help children better navigate socially in each stage of adolescence,” added Filyo, who is also a learning behavioral specialist.

The Childblossom St. Charles Park District winter series begins Jan. 14, and features a new theme each week. A typical class begins with story time to introduce the theme, followed by breathing exercises, stretches, activities and games, with yoga postures incorporated throughout. The class ends with guided imagery as a calming, relaxing activity. Along the way students are exploring creativity, teamwork, confidence, self-care and mind and body relaxation.

Different from adult yoga, the class is less focused on alignment and holding postures and more focused on body awareness and brain and body connection through breath.

Physically, yoga helps students with coordination, balance and strengthening the core, which help with other sports and activities as well.

"Exercises for kids to draw their breath through their entire body allows them to get in touch with utilizing every muscle,” Filyo said.

The next session of Childblossom Yoga meets on Mondays from 5:30-6:15pm Jan. 14-Mar. 11 at Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Ave. in St. Charles. To register, visit www.stcparks.org.