SYCAMORE – Sue Erickson wanted to give the gift of imagination and creativity to her horseback-riding students.
She has taught horseback riding for 25 years, but recently she felt she was missing a link in her teaching. She eventually found yoga and began teaching it to her students.
“When you’re physically connected, you’re more mentally connected,” Erickson said. “Teaching them to kind of grow roots and wings at the same time.”
Erickson now runs her own yoga studio – Katerpillar Kids Yoga – for children between ages 5 and 13. She shares the space with Jazzercise at 1210 E. State St. in Sycamore, teaching classes three times a week.
Erickson will hold yoga sessions at the Midwest Museum of Natural History, 425 W. State St. in Sycamore, from March 26 to March 28. The cost for each session is $35.
Erickson said she is working toward her certification to teach yoga to teenagers, as well. She is certified through ChildLight Yoga, a company based in Dover, N.H.
Erickson said children need a way to relax that does not involve watching television or playing video games, and yoga provides that outlet.
“I am trying to teach them another way to relax without using technology,” Erickson said.
With Erickson is Abby Knapek, who has helped Erickson with her horseback-riding lessons for years.
“Going on the journey with her, I’ve learned kind of a bit of yoga that I practice at home that’s helped with the riding and everyday life,” Knapek said.
The way a child practices yoga is different than how an adult does, Erickson said. She said she tries to keep in mind the short-attention spans of some children.
“I like to incorporate some props ... Letting the child continue to do the movement until they feel like they are successful at it,” Erickson said. “And everybody’s meaning of success is different to them ... If they want to stand in tree pose for 30 seconds, maybe they can hold it for 10 seconds. To them, that’s successful.”
At some point in the future, Erickson said she would like to have her own yoga studio in Sycamore that would cater to all members of the community – adults and children.