Light faded fast on a February afternoon as a diminutive group of three arrived for class, mats in hand.

“Looks like the sun’s gone into hiding, so we’re going to bring it out within ourselves,” said Heidi Audet, Lewiston’s Chill Yoga co-owner and instructor of the class for 4- to 11-year-olds. Directing her students to the “sacred space” in the center of the room, where a pile of stuffed animals slept en masse, she spoke of quiet places.

“One of the things they learn is to come together and share their experiences in a safe environment, no ridicule or shame, focusing on peace and stillness,” Audet said of her young students. “They already have such busy lives; learning how to play and relax is not number one anymore.”

Parsing hands at heart center, the class sang a song of Namaste: “Hello to you today. May the blessings flow your way.” Yoga poses with Sanskrit names that may be challenging, even to some adults, were easily emulated when Audet, who also teaches special education at Lewiston Middle School, likened them to hanging up laundry, being cats and snakes, and even washing machines.

For three-year-yoga-veteran Devyn Jackson, age 10 and a fifth-grader at the Farwell School, coming to yoga is “fun and relaxing,” a departure from the increasing pressures of school, cheerleading and everything else. Brother Corbin, 7, who takes karate and has also practiced yoga with Audet for three years, said there is nothing about yoga he doesn’t like.

“I’m such an advocate, and they can do this for the rest of their lives,” said their mother, Kerrie Poulin, adding she notices a complete shift in energy after class. Son Landon, 3, will be starting as soon as possible.

For “almost” 4-year-old Danika DeMayo of Auburn, yoga training began at home alongside mom, Amy, whose been practicing for 10 years. “I can do this all day,” Danika said, playing to the small audience of parents in the back of the room.


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