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Thu, Sept. 19

Children find balance, exercise through yoga

Shannon Lynch, left, yoga instructor, leads Yoga for Kids and works with Kalei Kepler, 5, and Max Baker, 6, at Yoga Shala in downtown Prescott Tuesday.
The Daily Courier/Nathaniel Kastelic

Shannon Lynch, left, yoga instructor, leads Yoga for Kids and works with Kalei Kepler, 5, and Max Baker, 6, at Yoga Shala in downtown Prescott Tuesday. The Daily Courier/Nathaniel Kastelic

PRESCOTT - Throughout the past few years, yoga has swept the country as a way to relax, gain flexibility and strength, and stay in shape.

Here in Prescott, the trend does not stop with adults. Tuesday marked the first day of yoga for children at Yoga Shala in Prescott.

"Yoga is a really safe way for kids to exercise their body," said Yoga Shala co-owner Revital Carroll.

Carroll said yoga teaches the children how to channel their energy, emotion, and stress.

"It really compliments their intense studies," she said.

Carroll's husband, Cain, owns the yoga studio with her. He said yoga works with both the nervous and endocrine systems, therefore balancing an individual's mental and physical state.

Cain Carroll said yoga helps children calm down and focus, in addition to creating awareness about their own bodies through meditation and various exercises.

Shannon Lynch is the instructor at Yoga Shala who began the child classes. She also teaches art and special education at Willow Creek Charter School. She teaches yoga using poetry, stories, songs and games. She first discovered the power of children's yoga while teaching at Willow Creek Charter.

"I started using some poetry (with yoga) and (the students) just loved it and they couldn't get enough of it," she said. "It really does help them to focus."

Besides relaxing the children, Lynch said yoga helps them with posture.

"I think that it can address the whole child. It helps them achieve success in life," she said. "I'm (teaching) it because I really believe in the power of yoga to do something for every child."

For 6-year-old Max Baker, Tuesday was his first time learning and trying yoga. He said he liked the class and wants to come back.

Max demonstrated the different positions he learned, such as "goldfish" and "mountain." His yoga goal is to eventually pull his feet behind his head.

Cain Carroll has seen yoga's success with children first hand. Before he moved to Prescott, he taught yoga to kids in a correctional school in Phoenix. While there, he watched them learn coping skills for life through yoga.

"It's so important to give kids some life skills at a really early stage," he said, adding they can apply these skills for the rest of their lives.

"Yoga is an intricate health system," he continued. It incorporates the mind, body, and spirit. "Kids are naturally in touch with those other elements."

Contact the reporter at slopatin@prescottaz.com

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