Students at The Literacy Council get down with yoga after school

Instructor and Creative Director at Yoga Highlands, Rachel Kinback (pictured above), visited The Literacy Council last week for a monthly after-school session of yoga. This includes stretching, breathing and stress management techniques; and of course, reading.

Students at The Literacy Council combined yoga exercises with themes from a book as part of a monthly after-school program in partnership with Yoga Highlands.

Students read The Thank You Book (Elephant and Piggie) by Mo Willems to Kinback, a story that follows Piggie’s mission to thank everyone he knows but worries he’ll forget someone.

“Rifting on the story and wanting to acknowledge all of our friends by name, we played a cooperative activity focused on the ‘strength of the whole,’” said Kinback. “All the children, big and small, made a very long down-dog tunnel shape, lining up their bodies side-by-side down the length of the reading room, and one by one took turns routing for their fellow after-schoolers as they crawled through the tunnel of cheering supporters. This activity was super uplifting and required good communication and listening.”

Yoga exercises focused on stretching, breathing, and stress management techniques. Editor’s Note: The V-sit and reach was always my worst gym-class activity. I hear ya kid in the middle.

The monthly yoga sessions at TLC have been ongoing for two years, and last week’s visit was the first at the nonprofit’s new space in Highlands Plaza.

“Each child is unique and will gravitate to different aspects of the practice and thus different benefits will come to them,” said Kinback. “For some of the kids, the stretching and making shapes with their bodies was their favorite part. For others, closing their eyes and speaking out the names of those they may have forgotten to thank today was sweetest.”

Yoga Highlands Owner Ashby Underwood said the program is Kinback’s way of strengthening the longstanding-community relationships and involvement she is known for in Highlands.

“One mission of Yoga Highlands is to educate through community service the benefits of yoga, which focus on personal well-being and self-esteem,” said Underwood. “We believe that teaching children to take care of themselves is absolutely a form a literacy. To learn to recognize the signals that one’s body is giving creates connection and inherent calm within a person. These are lifelong stress management and insightful skills.”

Students worked as a team to complete various formations during TLC’s monthly after-school yoga program.

Kinback said reaching students at an early age is the perfect time to introduce them to the practice of yoga.

“Connection to our body requires continual tending,” she said. “It is a great skill to learn how to do well from a young age.”

To learn more about The Literacy Council click HERE.

To learn more about Yoga Highlands click HERE.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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