Creating young yogis
The Lake Oswego Community School offers a variety of after-school programs, curriculum enrichment, youth sports and adult programs. For the past three years, they have offered yoga for elementary students, taught by youth yoga instructor Kathleen Peek. Yoga is held after school at Hallinan Elementary as well as Palisades and Lake Grove.
Peek has worked with kids her entire career, first as a kindergarten teacher in Texas. She began doing yoga, and soon realized she wanted to share her passion with others. "I first got trained to teach yoga to adults," Peek said. "Then I realized I could mix these two passions of mine, yoga and working with children, in a really cool way. I've been teaching yoga to kids ever since."
Peek started her company, Yoga for Kids, in 2013, and was asked by the Community School about three years ago to bring her talents to Lake Oswego.
Students at the yoga class begin the lesson by sharing how they are feeling that day, using colored balls to describe their emotions. At a recent class one student pulled out the yellow ball, meaning he was feeling happy because he got to play with his friends at recess. Another student, however, chose the brown ball because she was feeling worried and nervous.
"We start the class with a bit of social-emotional exercise," Peek said.
After sharing their feelings, the class warms up and begins their stretching. Hallinan student Isaac Silver said the stretching is his favorite part of class. "I like stretching my body and getting more flexible," he said.
Peek takes the students through a variety of yoga poses including tree, downward and upward dog, triangle, warrior and wheel.
"Yoga is really beneficial for everyone at every age," Peek said.
One pose called crow, in which students balance their weight on their elbows and lift their body off the ground, was particularly challenging for students. "Even if you can't do it, each time you try you're getting a little bit better," Peek said.
Yoga is offered at Hallinan on Wednesdays, May 1-June 12 (no class May 29), Lake Grove on Thursdays May 16-June 13 (no class May 23) and Palisades on Thursdays May 9-June 13 (no class May 23). Peek will also be teaching camps through LO Parks and Recreation throughout the summer.
For more information on Peek's company, visit www.yogaforkidsportland.com. To see what's going on in the Community School this summer, visit www.losdschools.org/Page/1736/.