, Salem, MA

Local News

March 1, 2013

Helping kids breathe deeply

Peabody library offers free yoga classes for children

PEABODY — 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,” Reid said.

A librarian, Reid holds several free yoga classes for children at the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody. Incorporating stories, poems and songs, they include both traditional yoga exercises and upbeat activities to keep the kids engaged.

The library began included yoga in its calendar events five years ago after receiving a grant from Metropolitan Life called “Fit for Life,” to support community health. They decided to use it to teach yoga to children, and children’s librarian Carol Bender encouraged Reid to offer the classes.

“It’s a perfect fit for her,” Bender said. “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 children ages 3 to 5. After recognizing a growing interest in the program, she went back for more training 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,” Reid said. “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.”

The Peabody Institute Library is not the only local venue for children’s yoga. Brown Elementary School in Peabody and the Sawyer Free Library in Gloucester also have classes.

“Libraries are becoming more civil-minded,” Reid said. “It’s not just about books, it’s about the whole child.”

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