My daughters and their friends recently took a yoga class called Budding Buddhas taught by Michelle Valentine and Sue Fried. They started Budding Buddhas about 8 months ago, and they’ve since taken their downward dog into Westchester schools, after school clubs, birthday parties and private play groups.
“Why do we do yoga?” Michelle asked the kids, now on their yoga mats in my backyard.
“It’s good exercise,” said one child.
“It makes us strong,” said another.
Michelle nodded with approval and went on to explain that yoga also calms our bodies and our minds because we are forced to breath slowly. She asked the kids to breath in through their noses like they were smelling flowers and breath out like they were blowing out candles. I watched as my daughters and her friends breathed in and out. But here’s what’s fascinating…I saw them visibly relax.
With every movement, Michelle used analogies that the kids understood, even the youngest in our class. “Make believe you’re a turtle in its shell and pop up to say “hello.” “Arch your back like a cat and meow.” “Shake your tail like a dog.”
When Sue took over, she turned on some music and they sang yoga songs. There was the “Om” song (which was very catchy), The Tick-Tock song and the Warrior Song –“I am strong. I am powerful. I am peaceful. I am a warrior.” I got a little choked up watching my five-year-old girl and her friends saying these words.
With the Toga Game they were asked to pick up colorful pom-poms with their toes and drop them in a cup. This game helps with balance, coordination and small motor skills. Sue told the kids to focus on something on the ground to help find their balance.
Michelle said her favorite part of the class is at the end when the kids are lying on their mats. She tells them to relax the different parts of their body while Sue goes to each one and massages their hands and feet with lavender scented lotion. As Michelle counted from one to twenty, I saw each girl relax even deeper. (I may have heard a few snores.)
Michelle and Sue explained to me that they don’t care if kids get the poses right. They want kids to feel confident doing the poses and have fun. They can get the poses right when they get older. If the kids participate for 30-40% of the class, they’re happy.
Even just three minutes a day of doing nothing but breathing can be a rejuvenating break from an active day. Some moms tell Michelle and Sue how the class helps their kids sleep better at night.
I say Namaste, Michelle and Sue. Namaste!
Michelle and Sue are certified yoga instructors, teaching kids age 3-12.
Call them at 914-760-7513 or e-mail Buddingbuddhas@gmail.com. Their prices range from $60 – $150 for play groups, Girls Scout events and nursery school visits depending on the amount of time and amount of children. Birthday parties start at $250 per hour.