Yoga asks us inquire into our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves. For the preschool students attending the Fitzgerald Institute, this exploration process begins at an early age.
For six weeks, Ebb n' Flow Yoga welcomed these little butterflies into our studio for 30 minute yoga classes. Read reflections from Erin Fournier, the Fitzgerald Institute's Director of Operations and Learning Coach, as well as Kristin Hicks, who co-led the yoga program with the aid of her daughter, Jaelyn.
Ebb n' Flow Yoga: Tell us about about yourselves.
Erin: The Fitzgerald Institute launches each learner on a lifelong journey of infinite possibilities in a dynamic and diverse learning community with an innovative approach. The Fitzgerald Institute is committed to honoring the whole child; mind, body and spirit, in order for them to discover their innate gifts and use those to foster a successful life.
Yoga is a practice of inner wellness, which falls completely in line with our philosophy of raising peaceful, happy and well children physically, mentally and emotionally.
Kristin: I had no idea that I would blend my background in Early Childhood with yoga when I embarked on my yoga teacher training.
It was such a joy working with the preschool students from the Fitzgerald Institute. Offering yoga to this age group has been a natural transition from working with adults. Each time they entered Ebb n' Flow Yoga, they seemed to be in awe of the space and excited about the adventure that we were beginning.
Ebb n' Flow Yoga: Can you speak a bit about this six-week yoga program?
Kristin: Our time together included different themes from week-to-week that went along with a story we read and the music or nature sounds we explored. At the end of six weeks, we made dozens of shapes with our bodies, moving in postures to build balance and strength.
They enjoyed learning poses that resembled animals they knew, including downward dog, frog and ladybug. Although we added new postures each class, favorite poses were practiced more regularly. The children were thrilled to share what they remembered. I'm pretty sure the dancing, shaking, crab-walking and butterfly floating topped them all!
Ebb n' Flow Yoga: What impact did you notice yoga having on the preschool students?
Kristin: Doing breath work like "bumble bee breath" helped them focus their attention and clam their bodies following energizing movement. I was very impressed during brief meditations. The Fitzgerald Institute preschool students felt safe and comfortable enough to close their eyes and be still. What an amazing gift to be building their awareness at such a young age.
I am grateful that my five year old daughter, Jaelyn, joined us on this journey. My daughter is a dance and yogi. Having her by my side helped the preschoolers feel much more comfortable in the space. She loved being the teacher's helper and even offered posture modifications!
Erin: Ebb n' Flow Yoga not only brought out the joy in learning, but also inspired them to continue cultivating the practice of yoga. They now use the poses and breathing techniques they learned in the studio to hold a "class" of their own. They mimic Ms. Kristin and her wonderful daughter as they guide one another through yoga classes here at FitzIn.
Ebb n' Flow Yoga: Any memorable moments to share with our community?
Erin: I think the three things we will remember from Ebb n' Flow Yoga are:
We cannot wait to begin again in January! I hope to continue this partnership for years to come.