VCU medical students relax by teaching yoga to preschoolers

VCU medical students relax by teaching yoga to preschoolers
Source: NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Every so often, we all need to just take some time to relax. Even children need some "chill" time, which is why a group of VCU medical students are teaching preschoolers how to "chill" through yoga.

Both groups are discovering the program is the perfect prescription.

Sometimes, you just need to let it all out, and that's what these preschoolers do here at the MCV Daycare.

However, instead of releasing their stress on a playground, they grab their ankles and rock like boats on top of colorful mats serving as the water.

It is just one of the many relaxation poses they learn in their monthly yoga class.

"It's basic, pretty basic postures, but what we do is we add a twist to it to make it interesting for a child," said yoga instructor Sydney Murray.

The poses and movements are the same ones you would find in an adult yoga class.

But the names of them are a bit different. In this class, the bow pose is a boat, while the warrior pose is balancing on a boat.

This class is one of the newest programs in the VCU School of Medicine. It was actually founded to help medical students relax while teaching children fun ways to exercise.

"Something that we really work with them on is staying present in the moment and kind of focus what they're experiencing to the mat. That's one of the key principles of yoga is to kind of take whatever is going on around you and channel it in an appropriate way," said medical student and Yoga RX member Celeste Pilato.

When it comes to energy, Henry Taylor has a lot of it to channel. He is quite an active and fun four-year-old.

Henry has been in the program since it began about a year ago.

"It's cool," said Taylor.

His mom, Marisa, says it has certainly helped to calm this cute little character.

"It has brought him a lot of Zen-like qualities to home," said Taylor. "So, when he's having a tantrum, I can say 'Henry, let's do boat' or 'Henry, let's do pirate,' and it calms him down. It has taught him some really good tools to use."

Tools that these medical students hope these preschoolers will remember for years to come.

"I just want them to know that yoga is a fun activity that they can turn to when they need exercise. When they need  something calm. When they  have extra energy that they need to channel. I want them to see it as something they can use and that it is accessible to them in the future," said Pilato.

The medical students also have a geriatrics yoga program, where they go to several facilities in the area and do chair yoga with older adults.

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