Notes from our Programs: Niroga at Nystrom Elementary School, Richmond

By Alexa Bach McElrone, Niroga Yoga Corps Teacher

The kids at Nystrom are so much fun! They love sun salutations and 'sleepy' time. There are between 15 and 20 boys and girls in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades in our after-school class, which is held twice a week. There are a few students with ADHD, some whose families are currently homeless (and will talk about moving around a lot), some who have recently, or repeatedly, witnessed violence, and others with physical aggression issues from families where hitting is the norm.

The kids can get easily out of control. I will not scream or talk over them, but rather use my 'yoga voice' and the yoga practice as a way to teach them self-control. It is incredibly difficult for them to stay quiet, not touch (hit, slap) each other, and stay focused, but they do make impressive efforts in my class. It can be a very peaceful class or challenging one. Regardless, the kids are very sweet and love yoga!

Niroga is thankful to San Francisco Foundation, Yoga Dana Foundation, Irene Scully Foundation, and Chevron Corporation for funding this and other programs in schools in Richmond, Oakland and Berkeley.