Story Stretchers program tailored to Steamboat Springs toddler yogis | SteamboatToday.com

Story Stretchers program tailored to Steamboat Springs toddler yogis

Teresa Ristow

Emilia Petti, 2, practices her yoga moves during Story Stretchers, a storytime and yoga group at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

— Tucked behind the children's section at Bud Werner Memorial Library, a dozen toddlers and their parents were busy learning the Namaste Song.

"Namaste is what you say, to the good in you and the good in me, say namaste every day, and the world will live in harmony," sang Sarah Kostin, youth services librarian and leader of Story Stretchers, a relatively new program that mixes yoga and storytime for young children.

"Storytime should be so much more than a parent reading a book to their kids at bedtime," said Kostin, who started the program in October, shortly after being certified to teach adult yoga classes, which she does at the Yoga Center of Steamboat Springs and Old Town Hot Springs.

Kostin said that, while most storytimes she leads include movement, Story Stretchers has a focus on yoga movements, with children performing a modified sun salutation, then following Kostin through a series of animal-themed poses.

Some — such as downward dog — are traditional yoga poses, while others — such as the elephant post — were dreamed up by Kostin to match the animals in stories.

Participants also practice listening and breathing exercises.

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On Thursday, about a dozen toddlers came for the program, showing varying levels of interest in learning yoga.

Charley Cox, 2, spent the entire program sitting inches from Kostin, picking up most of the new moves, while Matteo Dimaria, also 2, practiced some movements and chose only to watch others.

Kostin said she's aware of research that suggests exercise is beneficial to learning and said it's something the children crave during the programs.

"The kids are really engaged," she said. "It's so natural for us to move our bodies."

Diane Anderson brought the three young children she was babysitting to Thursday's program.

"They're never too young learn yoga," Anderson said. "They'll carry it though their lives."

Story Stretchers is offered at 10:30 a.m. every other Thursday at the library. The program is designed for children age 3 to 5, though other ages are not turned away.

Upcoming classes are scheduled for Feb. 9, March 2, 16 and 30, April 13 and 27 and May 11 and 25.

Kostin said she's hopeful the program will expand to every week in the near future.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow