Yoga for Youngsters! at the Chestnut Hill Library


On the first Thursday of every month, Maria Eble instructs "Yoga for Youngsters!" at the Chestnut Hill Library from 10:30-11:15 a.m. She uses fun techniques to keep the toddlers engaged and active.

"I'm doing all of the same stuff we're doing in my adult classes, I'm just bringing it to a level where kids are having fun with it," said Eble. For example, kids are encouraged to make animal noises in poses like cow and cat.

Eble has been practicing and instructing yoga for 10 years. As a retired math teacher, she prefers to teach children over adults. "Kids are real," said Eble. "They don't hold anything back." Yoga requires taking risks, and Eble has noticed kids are more willing to throw their bodies into a new pose. She even takes things she has learned about kids to her adult classes. "It's funny because kids have no fear," remarked Eble. "When I teach my adults, I'm like, 'Pretend you're seven and you have no fear.'"

Years ago, Eble heard about a kindergarten teacher who incorporated yoga into her class. "The class was almost all boys and four girls, so the teacher figured nap time wouldn't be happening," said Eble. "So she thought on her feet and did yoga instead. I heard stories from parents years later that they still do some of the stuff from yoga." She said that even when kids don't listen, their bodies listen.

"I try to teach them stuff that can help them release emotion or how they can shake it out," said Eble. Everything she teaches has positive benefits for her students. "Even those hangs are good for a kid's immune system, and those drops are good to regulate you. Kids don't know how to regulate anymore; they don't know how to self-soothe. So I'm trying to give them that." She has three sons, so she's familiar with what kids need. "I can only imagine what I would be like if I was doing yoga when I was little, mentally and physically," reflected Eble.

A few regulars attended a recent class. The toddlers and their parents and caregivers made their way to the circle of yoga mats in the community room at the back of the library. Eble encourages the adults to get involved and move with their kids. "I literally advertise it as 45 minutes of uninterrupted play with your child because you don't get that anymore," said Eble. "That's all we're doing, but I'm like, 'Let's talk about the breath and move your body.'" She said it's a workout for kids and parents, so they should both come dressed to get active. The toddlers tried the poses, ran around the room, and even got to climb on their parents. A highlight of the class was when the adults rolled their kids up burrito-style in the yoga mats.

Eble will be back at the Chestnut Hill Library instructing the free class on the first Thursday of June.