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Warrior age one: Teacher leads yoga classes for Kings County babies, kids, and teens

Yoga for every body: Danielle Pomo of Changing Seasons Yoga practices getting zen on her mat with her son, Jake, at Sensory Freeway in Bay Ridge, where she teaches her classes for everyone — from babies just learning to walk to high schoolers.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

This yoga’s for beginners — of life!

A local yogi teaches some of Brooklyn’s youngest how to master their downward-facing puppy at weekly classes she rolled out for kids of all ages in Bay Ridge after perfecting the lessons in Park Slope — a neighborhood where she said children’s exercise classes abound.

“I’m so excited to bring it to this neighborhood,” said Danielle Pomo, who received her yoga-teaching certification last August and has also taught spin and other fitness classes. “There’s plenty of yoga for adults in this neighborhood, and I hope they could see the benefit of bringing their kids to a class.”

Pomo’s Changing Seasons Yoga debuted its regular Saturday classes for babies as young as 1-year-old, preschoolers, 6–9-year-olds, preteens, and high schoolers on March 24 at kids’ physical-therapy clinic Sensory Freeway on Fifth Avenue at 88th Street. Lessons for the younger kids are more game and music-based, she said, but the little yogis still reap the benefits of learning spatial and social awareness, balance, and better coordination.

“We’re sneaking in the yoga poses through interactive stories or the games,” Pomo said. “The mat is sort of their little spot, and they learn how to find their space and somebody else’s space.”

The classes for the pre-teens and high-school students are more like standard yoga lessons, with a special emphasis on developing concentration and self-confidence, she said, adding that her students also often learn to calm themselves more easily through breathing exercises.

“It really does develop their confidence, because they’ll see a pose that they don’t think they can do, and then they’ll work on it and they learn that they can do it,” she said. “It helps to build their self esteem, and it’s a really great way to show them how they can go from being active to calm in a really short period of time.”

The instructor is starting a four-week “yoga for test prep” series in May to calm anxious high schoolers ahead of their standardized tests required to get into college, she said. But even non-university bound teens facing social and other stresses can benefit from the practice, according to Pomo.

“I hope they come more than anyone else, because I think they need it the most,” she said. “It’s a safe place for them to come.”

And most students, no matter their age, share a favorite maneuver in Pomo’s classes — the final moment of zen, or “shavasana” pose, with which they end the lessons, she said.

“They all end up coming into that relaxation at the end without a problem, and they love it,” said Pomo, who hopes to take the classes outside this summer as part of the “Yoga in the Park” program at Shore Road Park. “It’s amazing.”

Changing Seasons Yoga [8804 Fifth Ave. at 88th Street in Bay Ridge, (646) 283–8000, www.changingseasonsyoga.com.] Saturday classes run between 9:15 am–3:15 pm. $20 drop-in rate; $15 per class for eight-week series.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Downward dog: Jake Pomo practices the peaceful pose his mom, Danielle, taught him as part of her yoga classes for kids at Sensory Freeway in Bay Ridge.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

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