SYCAMORE – Until she saw a local ad, Valerie Cranden had never heard of a yoga class just for kids.
“I saw it on Groupon and asked my daughter (9-year-old Kayla) if she might be interested,” the Sycamore woman said. “She seems to enjoy it. ...We are hoping to start a trend with young kids.”
Sue Erickson, who has been teaching yoga for two years and practicing it much longer, opened Katerpillar Kids Yoga in Sycamore last December. Classes at 1210 E. State St., Sycamore, are for children between the ages of 2 and 13.
Among the benefits of children’s yoga, Erickson said, are health, relaxation and a way to navigate life more easily.
“Kids are under enough pressure right now,” Erickson said. “Yoga brings their inner light to the surface.”
Unlike competitive sports, Erickson said yoga is “all about self-improvement.”
Although she usually holds her classes indoors, she likes to take them outdoors during the summer.
“Teaching at the park is really fun. We’ll get random kids riding on their bikes who will stop and join us,” she said.
Although she may eventually teach adults, Erickson said she prefers to teach children, who get bored if things get too repetitive.
“You need a lot of energy and creativity to teach kids,” she said. “I can teach out of the box.”
Among other things, Erickson has invented yoga limbo and yoga hop scotch, a variation of hopscotch and Twister.
“I have a hundred ideas, I just haven’t tried them out yet,” she laughed.
Last Saturday, she wrote each student’s name and a word of their choosing, such as peace or happiness, on a pink balloon, which she tied to their hair. Each child then created a yoga position to go with their chosen word. When they were done, the group went outside and released the balloons.
Mike and Terry Wolfe’s three daughters enjoyed the class so much they asked if they could come back the next day.
Most of Katerpillar Kids’ students are from the local area, but one comes from Chicago and the Wolfe family drives in from South Elgin.
“It is unique,” said Terry Wolfe, who practices yoga herself.
Katerpillar Kids Yoga
1210 E. State St., Sycamore
Erickson will give free yoga demonstrations in front of Allstate in downtown Sycamore on Tuesday, Aug. 13. She will also host an open house from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7.