Namaste Yoga Studio
Patricia A. Dunning, Ph.D., E-RYT 500
Integrative Yoga Therapy Certified
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
(301) 503-0618

Yoga Classes and Programs.

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Superstar Yoga Program For Kids*

An Exercise and Behavior Modification Program for Weight-Challenged Kids

The problem of childhood obesity has tripled in the last 15 years, according to Dr. Stephen Daniels of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Inactivity and obesity-related illnesses now threaten to shorten the lifespans of today’s kids: 4 million have above-normal blood pressure, 27 million have high cholesterol and more than a third get no exercise. However, minor shifts in behavior, such as introducing exercise activity, [e.g., The Superstar Program] can reverse this trend.

The Superstar Yoga Program for Kids: An Exercise Program for Weight-Challenged Kids is an obesity prevention program for kids that stresses overall fitness, including endurance, flexibility and strength. In addition, through behavior modification and skills development training, the program targets lifestyle habits, which contribute to weight, gain and teaches kids how to make positive changes that prevent obesity. For example, kids learn to resolve conflicts such as peer teasing through body image, self-esteem, assertiveness skills and use of communication.

The Superstar Yoga Program or Kids can counter the causes of obesity, such as the pressures of the bustling pace of our children’s lives (school pressures, lessons, video games, malls, competitive sports, and hurry-up world of busy parents), as it encourages developing healthy bodies, relaxation and inner fulfillment that help children navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease

The Superstar Yoga Program for Kids offers a two-part program: 1) A non-competitive yoga “exercise” program is an ideal “sport” that builds self-esteem an” confidence]; and 2) A non-diet program. There is no diet. Diets typically cause children to feel deprived and, as a consequence, to overeat. Instead, the Non-Diet Program supports gradually adopting a moderate food intake that provides the essential nutrients based on the Recommended Dietary Allowances, USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, the Food Pyramid, and the National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines, the Food Pyramid, and the National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines.

Benefits of the Superstar Yoga Program for Kids

The Superstar Yoga Program for Kids is 10-week program (1.5 hour per week), which will accomplish changes in exercise and eating habits that result in decreased obesity. The program helps:

  • Build a more positive body image;
  • Increase strength, coordination, and flexibility for strong, healthy bodies;
  • Build self-esteem and confidence, and a trust in inner self;
  • Modify physical activity and eating behaviors;
  • Improve cardiovascular and physical fitness;
  • Increase concentration, focus, attention and self-discipline;
  • Encourage creativity and imagination;
  • Foster language development and social interaction.

What Kind of Yoga Exercises are Done?

Fun! Fun! Fun! It is more important that the child have a fun, positive experience than a “perfect” one! The yoga taught in Superstar Yoga Program for Kids is done in a “fun” way, using imaginary animals as yoga postures, and acting out their actions and sounds as a means to developing healthy bodies, e.g., cat, dog, lion, frog, which involve a lot of physical, but fun, activity.

The Superstar Yoga Program for Kids is recommended because it emphasizes fun--NOT competition--and it allows the child to work at his or her own level. As yoga is noncompetitive, each child is encouraged and praised for whatever they can manage to do. Yoga can be very helpful for children suffering from psychosomatic disorders such as eating disturbances, problems with sleeping and headaches because it provides exercises that involve the whole body and mind.

What Kind of Breathing Techniques are Used?

The children also learn how to breathe more deeply (using yoga pranayama techniques), which increases their oxygen intake, and thereby increasing the nutrients to the body, relaxing the mind, and increasing mental abilities.

They will also:

  • Hear stories and draw pictures about the earth and its creatures to respect and appreciate their environment, e.g., trees breathing out oxygen and breathing in our carbon dioxide;
  • Sing songs to help coordination and movement;
  • Dance with expressive movement;
  • Draw animals they mimic to develop creativity and imagination;
  • Partner with other children to learn cooperation and good social behavior;
  • Learn guided meditation while in deep relaxation to encourage beautiful thoughts.

The Superstar Yoga Program for Kids Workbook

Children enrolled in the Superstar Yoga Program for Kids will be given a Superstar Yoga Program for Kids workbook, utilizing a game-like approach and hands-on materials to help kids learn and do the kinds of physical activities that make the body stronger and healthier, and the difference between high-fat and low-fat foods, etc. Giving children a full week between sessions to complete the readings and fun homework and to practice healthy exercises and newly learned skills and behaviors is recommended. Parental involvement is optional, but stressed to increase the success of the program.

Instructional Information

In keeping with the theory of multiple intelligences by author and professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dr. Howard Garner, the Superstar Yoga Program for Kids will integrate storytelling, games, music, language, and other arts into a complete curriculum that engages the “whole child,” engaging the entire mind, body, and spirit in a way that honors all the ways children learn.

The length of time for each class varies depending on the age of the child. For 3-6 year old children, 10-15 minutes, and 7-9 year olds will extend to 25 minutes.
The length of time to hold the yoga postures varies per age also. Generally, 10-15 seconds for children under 6, 20-30 seconds for children 6 and older.

Children are encouraged to close their eyes once they understand how to do the exercise so they can “feel” it, i.e., feel the muscles that they are using and concentrate on the flow of the breath to “relax into the pose.”

Dr. Dunning, a certified yoga instructor, provides verbal instruction, demonstrates the physical postures (which are copied after animals, insects, etc.), and keeps the child focused in a way that she/he can understand and follow them.

There are short relaxation periods (15 seconds or so) after each posture/exercise, and a longer relaxation period at the end of the postures (5-10 minutes).

What to Bring and Wear:

Bring a rubber yoga mat (unless mats provided by facility), and a blanket to cover up with during deep relaxation.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing made from natural fibers so move without restriction.

Other Details

Time: 1.5 hour
Instructor fees: $50 per hour for 1.5 hr. for 10 weeks = $550.00
A hard-cover notebook is purchased separately by the parents of the child participant.

*Parents, consult your child’s doctor before starting Yoga, especially if they suffer from heart conditions, hypertension, diabetes, or other serious illnesses. If they have back pain or other serious injuries, get a diagnosis from your doctor and get their okay before enrolling your children in this program.