By Joelle Jorissen
On March 24th-27th from 9am-12pm I am excited to be offering a Kids Art & Yoga Spring Series at the Jacksonville Community Center for ages 7-11. This class will explore the fun and creative elements of yoga through art and play. Together we will co-create a class that inspires each participant to dive deep into what excites and motivates them to move their bodies. We will infuse circus arts and partner poses to build connections and strength. A healthy snack will be provided each day before jumping into a fun art activity to close out the morning.
Maybe right now you imagine kids standing on yoga mats in rows, following the instructor through a series of poses that ultimately end in a meditation, or shavasana. You may wonder how kids might enjoy this kind of activity. Many have a preconceived notion as to what yoga is and what it looks like. In kids yoga, my goal is to show that it is not about the poses or sitting still for a long period of time. Yoga is about connection. It is about the integration of practice into everyday life. It is about empowerment through self-awareness. In this kids class it is mostly about having fun. This is the best and most enjoyable way to learn anything. Just ask any kid.
In kids yoga we play through yoga poses. Yoga is non-competitive, which means we celebrate the differences in each body and have fun exploring healthy limits. When kids are young (around 11 and under) yoga is less about alignment and form, and more about feeling their bodies in space and connecting breath to their movements. During class each individual helps to create poses and stories that have meaning to them, fostering their creativity and imagination. We focus on co-creating the class together so that each individual is provided a safe place to explore their ideas. Kids ultimately build self-esteem, strength and muscle memory through yogic play. They learn to focus on problem solving when postures become difficult. Their bodies become more flexible and they increase their proprioception and kinesthetic awareness. This is a practice that not only strengthens the body, but also the mind and breath. When kids learn to connect their breathing to their bodies they alone hold the power to change how they react to stressful situations. When kids are stressed, angered, or afraid neuroscience tells us that the brain switches to a fight or flight response, shutting off the thinking part of the brain (the prefrontal cortex). Kids can learn to help calm the brain by taking some time to ease their nervous systems through the breathing and body awareness techniques yoga teaches.
Yoga is such a wonderful practice for kids and they are really good at it. Making yoga fun and focusing on creative expression is great for development. Kids love to share what they know and will spread their knowledge to loved ones, creating a ripple effect. I teach kids yoga because I want kids to grow up with more compassion toward themselves and others. I want kids to feel as though they have a connection to their communities and their environments. I believe kids yoga can do this and so much more. Come play this spring!
Kids Art and Yoga Spring Series with Joelle Jorissen
Dates: Tuesday – Friday March 24th-27th
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Jacksonville Community Center