GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 2, 2013

Kids' yoga programs gain traction

Betsy Reid, 52, is a professional when it comes to relaxation. As she leads her children’s yoga class to Shavasana, which is a period of relaxation, she is reminded that life is at its best when experienced in the spirit of peace.

“I tell my kids they can’t control what’s going on around them but they can control how they react,” said Reid.

A children’s librarian, Reid has been hosting a free Friendship Yoga class on Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 at Gloucester’s Sawyer Free Library for children ages 6 to 10, and will be leading a class for middle schoolers at O’Maley Middle School in May. She also leads classes at the Peabody Essex Institute in Peabody.

Incorporating stories, poems and songs, Reid’s classes contain both traditional yoga exercises and upbeat activities to keep the kids engaged.

According to Carol Bender, a children’s librarian at the Peabody Essex Institute, she encouraged Reid to start a yoga program for children. “It’s a perfect fit for her,” said Bender. “She is great at what she does.”

Thrilled by the opportunity to share her passion for yoga and health, Reid said she was first certified to teach 3- to 5-year-olds. After recognizing a growing interest in the program, she went back and was recertified as an instructor for older children.

“I lead my class in a series of relaxing poses and teach them how to breathe deep,” said Reid. “I remind them to breathe in school if they get a bad grade on a test or if their friends are making them mad. Breathing helps kids make better decisions when presented with challenges.”

At Sawyer Free Library, the four-week sessions have been full — today marks the final week of the four.

“We’re very fortunate we have a special fund, the Constance T. Rhinelander Performance Fund, that we use to fund children’s activities at the library,” said Christy Rosso, the children’s librarian. “There’s been a lot of interest, and a lot of the kids took part.”

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