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Yoga for all ages

New yoga class lets children workout with their parents
by: Kelly Moyer, REACHING OUT FOR MAMA —  Five-year-old Kaitcha Brannon (right) poses with her mother, Michelle Brannon, during a recent family yoga class at the Sherwood Regional Family YMCA. Michelle Brannon teaches family yoga classes at the YMCA on Fridays and Sundays.

In most regards, the new family yoga classes at the Sherwood YMCA are pretty typical.

There's the dimly lit room complete with hardwood floors, yoga mats in various shades of purple and pink and an instructor that is soft spoken, encouraging and incredibly flexible.

What sets this class apart isn't the instructor or the space - it's the children.

In family yoga class, parents bring their children (ages five and older, please) to class with them and workout side-by-side. Sometimes, they even workout together in couple poses.

'Yoga gives children focus and confidence,' says instructor Michelle Brannon of Tualatin. 'I try to keep the (postures) very basic, but I do give different levels for people who can do more.'

The family yoga classes have generally been held on Friday evenings only, but Brannon recently began teaching a Sunday morning family yoga class and says participation has been incredible.

'There are lots of parents who want to take yoga with their children,' Brannon, 31, says.

Brannon started practicing yoga during her first pregnancy six years ago and now brings her daughter, Kaitcha, 5, with her to the family yoga class. At home, Kaitcha practices the postures with her mom and may soon be able to do some basic poses with her little brother, Karson, who is almost 2.

Kaitcha stands at the front of the class with her mother during family yoga and demonstrates the postures for the younger students.

'I like it,' says 7-year-old John Dinsdale of the family yoga class he takes with his mother, Julie Dinsdale and his twin 5-year-old brothers, Mikey and Peter Dinsdale. 'It's fun.'

The family yoga classes at the Sherwood Regional YMCA are held from 7 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and from noon to 1 p.m. on Sundays.