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Namaste: Inner peace is only a stretch away

Poulsbo Middle School seventh-grader Clara Lund watches instructor Ed Woods during an after school yoga class at the school. Teachers and students have been participating in the new club. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
Poulsbo Middle School seventh-grader Clara Lund watches instructor Ed Woods during an after school yoga class at the school. Teachers and students have been participating in the new club.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

t Stress poses no problems for Poulsbo Middle’s yoga club

POULSBO — In the middle of a hallway — the jungle — students and teachers sit cross-legged and upright on an assortment of thin, colored mats.

Their eyes are closed at times, taking deep inhalations and exhalations.

Slowly the remnants of a hectic day at school begin to dissipate.

Welcome to yoga club at Poulsbo Middle.

The club meets every Wednesday from 2:40-3:40 p.m. Last Wednesday was the club's second meeting and two students and four teachers showed up.

“It helps me relax because it just sort of feels good at the end of the day to cool down and not worry about anything else,” said yoga club member sixth-grader Annika Lutzenhiser. “I like the relaxation part of it and I get flexible doing it.”

Annika is a dancer and joined the club to work on her flexibility.

Flexibility is just one of the many perks of regular yoga practice, and one of the benefits volunteer club instructor Ed Woods hopes his students garnish from their practice.

Topping the yoga goodness list for Woods’ purposes are exercising regularly and teaching good posture.

“Number one, it teaches them a regular routine of fitness,” said Woods, 67, who’s been practicing yoga for about 10 years and looks nothing near his age. “Yoga fitness teaches flexibility, core strength, balance and posture — that’s one of the big things. We tend to slouch over when we get at our desks and sit all day.”

In a calm, gentle voice Woods leads his pupils through the moves, sitting cross-legged they reach one arm up high and bend over to one side and then transfer to the other, concentrating on their breath the whole time.

Woods is currently obtaining basic level 1 yoga certification through YogaFit, and eight hours of yoga-based community service is required for certification.

Woods said most do their community service through senior centers or churches, but when he heard about interest at Poulsbo Middle he decided yoga club would be the venue for his community service hours.

Although he only needs eight hours Woods plans on continuing with the club throughout the year and he’ll evaluate the program part way through to see how his students are doing.

He said if the club’s numbers don't spike he’ll start recruiting and hanging up posters.

But for the sprinkling of participants who've been there for the first two club meetings it’s been namaste-riffic.

“It’s cool because it’s free and my mom has a yoga CD, but it’s not as fun as being in a live group doing it together,” said Annika, who’s favorite pose is child’s pose. “It’s fun and I just wanted to have fun.”

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