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Yoga instructor stretches program's reach

7/8/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Sydney Bailey, 4, wanted to do a cannonball.

"Look, I can do it," she said. "I want to do bread now."

She laid flat on her back.

"Do you mean bridge?" asked Traci Pfannenstiel, owner of Awaken Yoga Fitness & Boutique.

"No, bread. I'm good at this."

Bailey, along with eight other elementary school students, attended yoga class Monday afternoon at the Hays Public Library.

Cathleen Kroeger, director of the children's department at the library, was looking for ways to indirectly promote summer reading.

She contacted Awaken Yoga, and Pfannenstiel donated her services.

"(Pfannenstiel) offered to do this class at no charge to give kids some exposure to yoga," Kroeger said. "We had been trying to incorporate physical activities into summer reading, so it just fit in perfectly with what we are trying to do."

Throughout the summer, the library offers various programs to peak the children's interests and trigger library involvement, Kroeger said.

"If they come to yoga or something like that, they may find out we have a summer reading program and decide to participate in that as well," Kroeger said.

"So, it does help get some kids into the library who wouldn't come otherwise."

This is the first children's yoga class Pfannenstiel has taught.

"Our studio really wants to promote how important stretching is to kids in all their activities," Pfannenstiel said. "We forget how important stretching is to help build a foundation for the other activities."

She hopes to add a children's yoga class to her schedule at Awaken Yoga.

"Kids are fun," Pfannenstiel said. "I want to teach them to create an open mind toward yoga. If we could promote yoga and being calm for a couple breaths, I think they would benefit tremendously throughout their whole lives."

Pfannenstiel asked the group toward the end of the 45-minute session, "That was hard work. Are you tired?"

"I'm not tired," Bailey said. "Not even a little, little bit."