The weather is cooling down, and that means families will soon be looking for more indoor activities to fill their weekends. The Englehardt branch of the Kent District Library is offering one option worth considering.
From September 7 to November 30, the library will be hosting family yoga classes from 11-11:30am each Saturday. The classes are free and will be led by Sarah Ryder, an occupational therapist, registered yoga teacher and owner of The Hammock.
Classes Part of Energize Lowell Initiative
Stephanie Weaver, a branch librarian, explains the family yoga classes are part of a larger initiative that seeks to promote community wellness. Known as Energize Lowell, the initiative will eventually encompass nutrition classes offered by the YMCA, activities on trails at the Wittenbach Wege Center and perhaps other events.
There has been some evidence linking movement to improved literacy which is one reason the library was keen to offer family yoga classes. It is also an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.
Family yoga was offered over the summer, and each session contained a unique mix of activities depending on who was in attendance. One week a 3-year old was in the crowd and another week, it was all adults. “It’s very easy for me to modify and change things,” Ryder says. Chairs are also available for those who want to participate but are unable to stand throughout the class.
The library has invested in mats and blocks so families don’t need to bring any equipment to the sessions.
“Americanized Yoga” Comes With Multiple Benefits
Ryder knows some people are wary of yoga because of its spiritual roots. However, these classes are what she terms Americanized yoga. “It’s movement. It’s breathing,” she says. “We’re not sitting and chanting.”
“She does the actual yoga positions, but she does some mindfulness with the kids,” notes Weaver, who has brought her grandchild to the program. Children benefit from practicing the patience needed to move through various poses at a relaxed pace. Participants both young and old also gain the opportunity to slow down and release stress while building strength and flexibility.
Families of all sizes and ages are invited to attend the 30-minute classes which will be held in the meeting room of the Englehardt library, located off N. Monroe Street in downtown Lowell.
Other Opportunities for Yoga in Lowell
In addition to family yoga, Weaver says the library is interested in offering a yoga program specifically for seniors. Stay tuned for more information on that.
In the meantime, Lowell residents are invited to a free yoga class on Saturday, September 14, that will take place at the Grand River Riverfront Park bridge. Ryder says she will meet participants at the bridge at 9am and conduct an hour-long yoga session that will take advantage of the beautiful views along the Grand River. If the weather is inclement, the session will be moved to an indoor location.