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A Wild Way To Learn

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When you think of yoga, safari adventures don’t usually come to mind. Unless you’re doing it with Sarah Waxman, a vinyasa-trained instructor who’s been teaching kids yoga for more than three years.

One of her favorites is lion pose: Kids sit on their knees and bring their foreheads to the floor — like in child’s pose — and then they let out a roar as they lift their heads up.

So don’t be afraid if you think you hear some big cats roaming Hearst Elementary in Northwest. Through a partnership between the school and Lil Omm Yoga, a family-focused studio where Waxman regularly teaches, she’ll be leading an after-school program there this fall. (There will be two classes, divided by grade level.)

Yoga topped the list in a survey of what free enrichment programs parents wanted, says Jacqui Allen-Settles, vice president of the school’s PTA, which is funding the classes.

Waxman says her classes use movements, such as lion pose and airplane (standing on one leg and hinging forward with outstretched arms, aka Warrior III), to empower kids to heal themselves.

“We talk about what it feels like to be angry in the body, for example, and how it feels tight, how it feels hard to breathe, how you might not be a good student at that time or a good friend,” she says.

Waxman will finish all of the 45-minute classes with savasana to help the children understand what it’s like to be really peaceful.

Liz Stuart, volunteer coordinator at Hearst, signed up her kindergartner to help her gain self-control: “I hope they’ll learn the ability to calm themselves down.” She’ll happily take a well-behaved lion.