ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Third grade can get stressful for Sasha. He gets frustrated, angry and sad.
But one thing is changing the Fairmount Park Elementary student's life and attitude: yoga.
“I like the breathing and the stretching,” says Sasha. “When I get angry, I take a deep breath and calm out.”
Sasha is in an after-school program called Mindful Movement. It is part of a Pinellas County non-profit organization called Jump for Kids.
The group does not officially call it yoga, but there is downward-dogging and stretching exercises to help students boost their body, mind and spirit.
Fairmount Park is a Title 1 school, a “transformation zone” facility where kids are given extra resources to help lift their grades and self-esteem.
“For a lot of these kids, their tendency to react to something is to hit or fight or yell,” says Kristina Rich, a 25-year-old yoga instructor who leads the kids. “Here they’re learning how to take a breath and see that there are other ways to handle a situation.”
Although the Mindful Movement program is still in its infancy, school officials are already seeing a boost in behavior and confidence.
So is Sasha.
“Everyone should do yoga,” says the third-grader. “It’s good!”