Healthwatch Magazine Summer 1999

The New Age of Yoga
Expand your mind and stretch your limits with a yoga workout the whole family can enjoy

By Amanda Eaton
Temmi Ungerman Sears is the mother of three and director of YogaBuds™, a Toronto-based yoga program designed for children and adults. She created the program because she wanted to offer her own kids, as well as other children, the yoga experience.

"Children today are faced with a lot of stressors – everything from peer pressure to hectic schedules," says Ungerman-Sears. "Learning to focus and to relax at a young age is a valuable, health-promoting skill."

Among other things, yoga:
• Helps develop strength, endurance and flexibility
• Improves coordination and posture as well as stability and balance
• Provides relief from stress-related conditions such as headache, bakcage and insomnia
• Improves concentration, attention span and self-discipline
• Increases self-confidence and builds self-esteem.

As a certified Iyengar yoga practitioner, Ungerman Sears focuses on correct body alignment and improved posture. In addition to her yoga skills, Ungerman Sears is a registered art therapist and practising psychotherapist. This combination of credentials has helped her create a unique program. It’s a wonderful bonding experience through non-verbal communication," she says.

One of her most popular classes is the parent/child workshop, which gives families a chance to get away from their chaotic day-to-day routine. Included in this workshop, as in other YogaBuds™ classes, is creative art, in which children ages three and up can make collages and sculpt.

Classes run for eight weeks and have a different focus every week. Each class is divided into three phases: warm-up, poses and relaxation with visualization. "Young children love the warm-up time because it really is a form of play," says Ungerman Sears. And after the first couple of weeks, she notes, the fidgeting stops and the kids really learn to relax and give their full attention to the experience of a completely still body.