Twenty years of practicing yoga has helped Carly Walker complete 2 Ironman races, and 25 marathons — injury-free.
Friends describe their aches, pains and sports-related injuries. When she tells them that yoga can align their bodies and prevent injuries — plus keep them sane — they don’t listen.
She gave up trying to convince them. Now the Westporter is concentrating on the next generation.
“If I can help kids adopt yoga into their lives at a young age, it will help their bodies and minds for a lifetime,” she says. “Yoga is all about handling life and stress better off the mat.”
She wanted to give youngsters the tools to help breathe when they get upset, stressed or frustrated. Yoga helps kids stay calm on the inside, even amid chaos.
The result: Child’s Pose. The “studio for young souls” is open at 8 Church Street South (next to Little Barn).
Classes include toddlers with parents and caregivers (ages 1-4); pre-schoolers (3-5), elementary schoolers (5-10) and middle schoolers (11-14).
Carly offers 2 free classes today (Thursday, August 26): Elementary (3 to 4 p.m.), and Mom & Me (4:30 to 5:15 p.m.).
There are many similarities between adult and kids’ yoga, Carly says. But children learn through play, so she makes things fun. Amid giggles, she helps them find “inner peace, and some quiet moments on their mat.”
When she pulls out a stuffed animal dog, her young students know it’s time to get into downward dog. Poses like sleeping butterfly help ease anxiety in children, she says.
Carly shows them how to recreate poses at home, with items in their house.
All children can benefit from yoga, Carly says. “Yoga helps with flexibility, strength and balance. It improves their focus and concentration, and connects their minds to their bodies to reduce stress and anxiety. It also aids in self-esteem and confidence.”
Special needs youngsters — such as those with ADHD and autism — benefit especially from yoga, she notes. It reduces anxiety, helps with emotional regulation, improves confidence, provides consistency and helps with inner peace.
Before moving to Westport 5 years ago, Carly taught children’s yoga in New York. She is impressed with our town’s support of children.
She’s seen the competitive side of athletics here — and was an athlete herself — so she also wants people to know that a flexible, mobile body prevents injuries.
Feedback has ben good. Parents have seen children start to become angry with a sibling or friend, then say, “I’m going to breath like Ms. Carly taught me to.”
A child having trouble sleeping may put a stuffy on their belly, rock it to sleep — and fall asleep themselves.
Some youngsters enter her studio skeptically, she says. Soon they forget about whatever happened on the playground, or the test looming tomorrow.
“Fear and anxiety come from thinking about the past or future,” Carly says.
“Standing on one foot and one hand in a yoga pose is all about being in the moment.”
(For more information click here, or follow on social media: @childsposewestport.)