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Yoga opens kids to learning

Staff photo / J.T. Whitehouse Ginger Kupka of Alta Behavioral Healthcare makes sure Poland Union first-graders are doing their yoga poses correctly.

POLAND — Poland Union students are learning to wind down using various yoga techniques.

Ginger Kupka of Alta Behavioral Healthcare has been visiting the school once per month to teach kindergarten, first and second grades some yoga moves that help develop a healthy body and mind.

“The purpose is to give kids a way to identify their feelings and use yoga to get in touch with those feelings through movements,” Kupka said.

Kupka, a yoga-calm instructor, has been teaching young students for the past five years. She was doing it in Minnesota and when she moved to the Valley, she saw a need here as well. By teaming with physical education teachers and Principal Mike Masucci, the program is proving to be a big plus.

“My hope is that by piloting (the program) here, other teachers will want to adopt it,” she said.

She comes in once per month for two days and teaches the students new yoga moves and relaxation techniques. Physical education instructor Mark Wesolowsky is present during the sessions, and he uses the moves the rest of the month. He said it really does work.

“We will continue to use yoga as a way to calm down after exercises,” he said.

He said before, the kids would exercise and were all ramped up when they returned to the classroom. By sliding in the yoga moves at the end of gym class, the students calm down and return to class ready to learn.

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