Yoga for Youngsters

Article Published: Feb. 16, 2012 | Modified: Feb. 16, 2012
Yoga for Youngsters

Chetola fitness staff member Catherine Scantlin leads a group of kids in yoga exercises.
Photos by Jeff Eason

It’s been called by some doctors and health experts “the most important three hours of the day” for kids. They are the three hours from the time kids get home from school to the time that they sit down for supper. They can be used playing and getting exercise, or they can be wasted sitting on the couch watching TV and playing video games.

Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock is now offering an after-school program that will help kids make good health and nutrition choices at least once a week.

Every Wednesday, Chetola hosts the “Kids After-School Fitness Fun!” program for kids ages Pre-K through early teens. The program takes place from 2:45 to 6 p.m. and features healthy snacks, fitness activities, pool play and supervised homework time.

Parents can bring their kids to Chetola or have them picked up via bus at Blowing Rock School. Parents pick up their kids from Chetola between 5 and 6 p.m. The program takes place every Wednesday from now until the end of the school year.

“We started the program in December with a holiday kids fitness program that was attended by resort guests and locals,” said Catherine Scantlin, health and wellness director at Chetola Resort. “The kids begin with a healthy snack and, once a month, an expert from Earth Fare comes in to show them how to make things like their own trail mix.”

After the snacks, Scantlin and Ruthie Lile, recreation program coordinator at Chetola, divide the dozen or so kids into two groups. Scantlin’s group goes down to the Mountaineer Room for yoga instruction, while Lile’s group heads for Chetola’s indoor pool.

While yoga lessons for kids may sound unusual, once you see Scantlin leading her young charges through moves and positions, such as “crazy cactus” and “leap frog,” you realize that they are not that far removed from the calisthenics most of us experienced in gym class.

“Yoga has many of the same benefits for kids as it does for adults,” Scantlin said. “We are just more playful about it with the kids. It helps flexibility, strength, body awareness, breath awareness and ability to elicit a relaxation response.

“We combine the poses with breathing so they are aware of the connection of movement with inhaling and exhaling. At the end of the class we wind things down for a relaxation pose and imagination journey based on a familiar story.”

The yoga also serves as a way for teaching rambunctious youngsters how to focus after participating in fun and games.

“The kids run around like crazy to get their wiggles and giggles out, while we act like animals and things from nature like mountains or bolts of lightning,” Scantlin said. “Yesterday, after the relaxation part, kids in both classes said something along the lines of ‘I feel so good now’ or ‘I feel so calm now.’ That’s pretty awesome to hear a kid say.”

While yoga for kids might be a new concept, they also participate in tried-and-true kids games, such as freeze tag, scavenger hunts and red light/green light.

Scantlin said that once the weather gets warmer, she and Lile will lead the kids in outdoor activities.
“We will take the fitness activities outside and hike around the Chetola property or up to the Moses Cone Trails that border our resort,” she said.

In addition to the special Earth Fare events, the Kids After-School Fitness Fun program also features special dance instruction, taught by Lauren Childs.

Plans are under way for a special holiday fitness program over the Easter holiday and as part of Chetola’s summer camp program.

Kids in the Kitchen

Every Monday, between Feb. 20 and March 30, Chetola Resort will host “Kids in the Kitchen” for children in grades 3 through 6. Held each Monday between 2:45 and 6 p.m., it is an after-school program featuring healthy cooking and nutrition classes, pool play and supervised homework time.

The kids will learn about cooking and nutrition between 2:45 and 4 p.m., enjoy time in the pool from 4 to 5 p.m. and work on their homework between 5 and 6 p.m.

A van will pick-up participating kids from Blowing Rock School. Parents can pick up their kids any time between 5 to 6 p.m.

The cost of either program is $25 per session and $120 for all six classes ($20 for each additional child), or $15 per session and $90 for all six classes for Chetola Club Members.

Van pick-up service is $2 per child per day or $12 for the entire session.

Families who register for a full session may also use the pool and rec area on snow days and teacher work days.

For more information, or to register you child, call Chetola Resort at (828) 295-5500.

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