Young yogis: Yoga Calm Class helps kids with exercise, mindfulness

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It also helps kids with or without attention disorders to build confidence and other social strengths. Students are invited to lead their classmates. A different child is asked to demonstrate each pose.

“We try to establish that the kids are going to help lead from day one,” Leong said. “They’re very supportive of each other. After the leads are done we always do compliments. It’ll be like, ‘Wow, I really heard your voice well’ or ‘You were really brave to go first’ or ‘You remembered that really well.’”

Leong explained a tactic she’ll often use to show the kids their progress and encourage them in their efforts.

“I like to throw in crow pose every time just because it’s really challenging. It’s just a beginning arm balancing pose. We use a crash pad so they don’t hurt themselves if they fall. For some it’s easy and some are afraid to even try,” Leong said. But, “by the end of a six-week session almost all of them can do it. I like to point out like ‘think back to the first time you did that, what were you thinking?’ Most of them are like, ‘Oh, I thought I’d never be able to do it!’

“It really builds that inner confidence. You know, ‘if I think something’s hard is it really impossible?’ ”

Yoga Calm implements more than 35 years worth of research data. It is a secularized yoga program; the chanting aspect is lost and the English pose names are always used in place of their original Sanskrit counterparts.