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St. Pete elementary students using yoga to help boost their self-esteem and raise grades

Mindful Movement expanding to more schools
Posted: 3:22 AM, Apr 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-24 11:21:32Z
kids doing yoga

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.”

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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.”

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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!”