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Black Mountain Yoga at 116 Montreat Road is offering yoga for babies, young children, “tweens” and teenagers. Classes are taught by Brandon Hudson, a yoga teacher and yoga therapist.

Yoga is important for children because it teaches them to relax, she said.

“Children have to be taught how to relax,” she said. “It is probably the most difficult aspect of yoga, but once children experience the feeling of breathing, relaxing and being quiet, peaceful and still, they ask for it every time. The most requested pose is ‘Floating on a Cloud’ which is (about) relaxation.”

Black Mountain Yoga owner Martia Rachman enrolled her daughter, Vivian, in one of Hudson’s classes.

“I have observed in my own daughter a strong focus and calmness after practicing kids yoga,” she said. “Over the past few years, she has gained self-soothing techniques like breathing, paying attention to her posture, closing her eyes for a moment to work through challenging tasks. Practicing yoga has aided in her own ability to calm her nervous system and take control of what could have turned into trying moments. It feels really good as a parent to know that my daughter is learning healthy ways of responding to a stressful world.”

Hudson teaches children of all ages, from babies to toddlers to young children ranging in age from 4-13 years.

“Brandon has been an integral part of my daughter Mullein’s yoga practice,” Meredith Fowler said. Mullein is 14 years old and has Downs Syndrome. “As a parent of a child with special needs, it can be disheartening to find activities that she can participate in. In Brandon’s class, Mullein has been able to excel in yoga practice while participating with children who are accepting of her differences.”

“The best age to start yoga is around six weeks of age,” Hudson said. “Yoga helps build self confidence in young children. It also creates better strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. It helps to decrease stress, avoid meltdowns and handle strong emotions.”

Hudson has combined her academic studies and degrees with certifications in various types of yoga. She graduated from UNC Asheville in May 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. She immediately began working with children with special needs in Buncombe County and Asheville City Schools, as well as privately. She has worked with children on the autism spectrum and with children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. She earned a master’s degree in special education from Western Carolina University.

“I practiced yoga with my small learning groups,” she said. “Before each group, we practiced ‘Balloon Breath,’ and that helped to set the focus for the rest of the group. We also did yoga movements in the morning before starting class. The yoga tools proved to be helpful to them.”

Hudson began teaching yoga to children in May 2014 when she became a registered yoga teacher after training with Black Mountain Yoga. She is also certified in creative relaxation, therapeutic yoga, and is a certified children’s yoga teacher through ChildLight Yoga, located in Dover, New Hampshire.

“Ms. Brandon’s creative crafts and games are so much fun that kids don’t even know that they’re doing something healthy for their mind, body and heart,” Rachman said. “Every child walks out of yoga class with a huge smile on his or her face. It brings parents such joy to see the kids’ excitement and engagement.”

Contact Black Mountain Yoga at blackmountainyoga.com for times and classes for children. The kid’s classes cost $7 ($5 for a sibling). The creative relaxation yoga class cost $15 ($7 for sibling). Baby and toddler classes are the studio’s $15 drop-in fee or $70 for a six class series.

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