A certified yoga practitioner, Julie Jahp adds her own twists when teaching children.
âWhen we do the tree pose, I like to ask the kids what type of tree they are,â said Jahp, who has been teaching yoga for over 10 years. “They can be apple trees, peach trees or rainbow trees, because there are no wrong answers in my class.”
Local children and their parents will have the chance to sample one of Jahp’s children’s classes at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 19, in the patio of the Park City Library. The session is free and registration is not required.
âMy program works best when it’s open,â said Jahp, who is also a teacher at the Park City Cooperative Preschool which teaches at the Park City Library. âI don’t want people to have to register. I just want people to show up, and I want them to be there because they can or want to.
The class will be held outdoors, weather permitting, according to Jahp.
âI love doing yoga outside, but if it’s too hot or if the weather is bad, we have the option to move inside,â she said.
The class is designed for ages 3 and up, but families with children as young as 2 are welcome, Jahp said.
âWe really don’t put an age limit on that, but parents with kids under the age of 3 usually stay with them and take the course with them,â she said.
Jahp chooses themes for each of his sessions, and these themes can range from zoo animals to sea creatures or plants, to name a few.
âEvery class changes, but they all start the same way,â she said. âWe’re going to sit on our mats at the start to connect and get to know each other. Then we’re going to get up and move around for a good 30 to 40 minutes.
One of the main things Jahp teaches is the variety of poses.
âKids are sometimes so anxious to make sure they’re doing everything right, so I let them know that everyone will be different,â she said. âI tell them that our bodies are different and that there are so many different options for doing a tree or downward dog pose. I tell them that they just need to do what feels right for them with their bodies.
Still, the 10-15 poses Jahp teaches in the session are the same ones she taught adults.
âYoga poses do not vary,â she said. âAn eagle pose for an adult is the same for children. And while we’re making changes, all the kids have to do is listen, follow directions, and do what I’m doing. I’m just trying to make it fun.
Jahp’s introduction to yoga came from his youngest daughter, who suffered from anxiety.
âShe and a few friends found a yoga class and one day she asked me to take her with her,â Jahp said. âThings really took off from there. I have six children and have found yoga to be very good for me mentally and physically.
Jahp began to use the principles of yoga she learned during her 25-year career as a preschool teacher.
“I created a yoga corner for the kids to sit down when they were having trouble paying attention in class, and I made meditation pots with sparkling water and glue that would simply fascinate. children, âshe said. “So if any of my students got upset and didn’t listen, they could just go around and do their own thing and calm down.” “
Calming down is a basic yoga teaching, according to Jahp.
âAfter doing this for all these years, I know kids have to learn to calm down because parents really don’t know how to help them,â she said. âThey can tell them what to do, but the kids really need to figure it out for themselves. “
One of the first things to calm down is to breathe deeply, and this is something Jahp teaches in his sessions.
âI like to tell my classes that I’m going to teach them to breathe,â she laughs. âBreathing is where it all begins. In order to regulate their own emotions, they must be aware of their breathing.
To help illustrate this point, Jahp uses an array of props that she gathered throughout her years as a preschool teacher.
“We will put feathers, straws or even their own finger under their nose so they can feel how they breathe,” she said. “Usually these things are new to most kids, and they’re so intrigued by what we’re doing.”
The idea for a children’s yoga class on the patio of the Park City Library came from Katrina Kmak, a children’s services librarian, who has known Jahp for years.
âKatrina knows I teach yoga to kids in Salt Lake and she once asked me if I wanted to teach on the library patio,â Jahp said. âSince I am doing a summer yoga camp, we made it part of my schedule. “
Jahp’s goal is to continue teaching yoga to children on the patio until fall.
âI would love to do it every week, and I think Katrina and I are going to find something,â she said.