Yoga is for everybody.
That’s the message students from Power Yoga Buffalo and the University at Buffalo looked to underline this summer as they led children ages 3 to 14 through the paces twice a week during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Resurrection summer camp program.
The Rev. Gary Steeves, pastor of the Genesee Street church, takes classes at Power Yoga and asked owner Susan Fain to set up the summer yoga program.
“It’s the first time these kids have done yoga and the first time a lot of them have ever heard the word,” said Alexis Asquith, who helped teach the Tuesday and Thursday classes for up to 40 students.
The program used Baptiste yoga, which Asquith said uses “power vinyasa flow.”
“Vinyasa is essentially movement, with breath,” she said. “It’s a sequence of poses, which is where the flow comes in. It’s a little faster, more invigorating …
“It focuses on power. Not in a status sense but in becoming more empowered.”
Last week, on the last day of classes, some of the students complained about doing “too many down dogs” but said they enjoyed several other yoga poses, including the “wheel,” the “tree” and the “airplane.”
They also gave their volunteer teachers a round of applause.
“I’m so overjoyed,” Asquith said. “They came in here the first day scared out of their minds that we were going to twist them into pretzels and they were never going to be able to walk again.
“That has changed. The best part is when I turn my back and they’re practicing something that we’ve taught them.”
Studies have shown that yoga helps address anxiety, depression and stress, to help those who practice it with coping skills, time management and self-esteem.
“We’re trying to show them that there are other options,” Asquith said, “that they are in control of their own breath, their own reactions.
“They showed up,” she added. “They played big, and I think they’ll remember it for a long time.”
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