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Stretch, Relax, Breathe

eZential Wellness Youth Yoga Classes Offer a Path to Self-discovery and Calmness Through Mind and Body

Lori Arrechea, owner of eZential Wellness in Branchburg, has been certified and teaching yoga in Somerset County for 18 years. The studio offers classes uniquely designed for youth, led by Maria Usewick, a Certified Mindfulness Instructor, Yoga Teacher, and Pediatric Occupational Therapist with over 20 years of experience. eZential Wellness also offers classes for adults and seniors. 

Children and adults alike can benefit from yoga. Youth classes differ in format to keep younger yogis engaged through fun poses, breath play, games, stories, movement activities, short mindful lessons called mat chats, brief meditations, mantras and guided imagery. 

Youth classes offered at eZential Wellness are broke down by ages based on developmental stages: 7-9, 10-14 and 15-18. Inner Explorers classes help our youngest yogis discover how to be mindful of their senses, manage their busy bodies, balance their mighty emotions, and to be kind to themselves and others through yoga, mindful games, stories, and other fun activities. 

Tween classes include Stand Strong for girls and Fit, Focused and Chill for boys, helping to navigate the developmental landscape of adolescence through building strength and flexibility in body and mind. Tweens learn to relax, focus, manage emotions and impulses, settle their minds, calm their nerves and take a pause. 

These techniques integrate yoga and mindfulness, a beneficial practice that is sometimes misunderstood. 

“I often hear, 'My mind is too busy, I can't stop the thoughts,'” says Maria. “No one can stop thoughts. Mindfulness is being aware of and observing our current experience with a sense of curiosity; yet, without trying to judge or manipulate it in any way.”

Yoga and mindfulness can be particularly helpful in coping with the impact of the quarantine, such as feelings of isolation, disconnectedness, anxiety and being overwhelmed, as well as physical responses like muscle soreness, tension and discomfort. Situations that feel beyond our control or understanding can lead to replaying worrisome thoughts. Ruminating over a desire to fight, fix or change the way things are creates additional suffering.   

Maria explains, “Yoga and mindfulness practices help us to address what is real for us in the present moment, accept it, allow ourselves to breathe, and to find the patience to let things unfold.”

Adopting this mindset, even for a brief period every day, helps to interrupt the chronic stress cycle. Moving and stretching releases tension and reduces discomfort. Breathing practices clear the mind, expand the lungs, and invoke a relaxation response in the body. 

Lori added virtual classes to keep eZential Wellness students engaged and connected
throughout the quarantine. When open, the studio provides a friendly and inviting space
welcoming to all. Many students have found a sense of community and formed friendships
outside the studio. 

For more information visit ezentialwellness.com

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