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“Yoga Joan” Rolls Out Her Mat at Niles Public Library

In fact, she does this every 3rd Monday of the month from 4:30 to 5:15. It is called “Yoga for Kids: Stretch, Bend, Breathe.” (KidSpace’s Miss Clara is usually on hand, too, to encourage the kids and help them shake their sillies out.) The kids love it!

Joan makes it as user-friendly as possible. None of the 5-syllable Sanskrit names for poses that they bounce off of us adults in yoga classes. Everything is kept simple, at the level of “walk like a duck” (strengthens the legs) or “jump like a frog” (from one imaginary lily pad to another).

Some poses build strength. Some emphasize balance (“tree pose”). “Sun Salute” is a perennial favorite, and deep breathing is intended to calm (although there is a limit to how calm a bunch of kids 4 to 8 years old are going to get).

“Kids learn yoga poses and breathing, and feel relaxed and energized,” says Joan. No one needs prior experience — just loose clothing, maybe a bath towel or yoga mat. Parents need to stay in the room with children through grade 2. (Quite a few moms were doing the poses, too, on Feb. 20.)

“Yoga Joan” (seriously: YogaJoan1@aol.com) also offers $10 classes at a nearby chiropractor’s office and at the Meditation Center of Norwood Park. But you could say that yoga at the Niles Public Library is even better: it is completely free.

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