Free yoga offered for teens, children

Weekly outdoor classes held at Northridge Park


When Wendy Crichton's two sons were young, she used yoga poses and breathing techniques to help calm their never-ending energy and restlessness. But when she tried taking her sons to a yoga studio, she found that none in the Highlands Ranch area accepted children.

So she went through trainings, received a few certifications and became a yoga teacher.

For the past six years, Crichton has taught free, hour-long yoga sessions to kids and teens on Friday mornings through the month of June. The classes are held at Northridge Park, which sits behind Northridge Recreation Center, 8801 S. Broadway.

“The idea is, kids can have fun with it and remember how great it is so later in life, when they really need it, they can come back to it,” said Crichton.

The play-based class called Young Yogis, for ages 6 to 11, takes place from 10-11 a.m. Teen Yoga, for ages 12 to 17, is from 11 a.m. to noon. The free classes are in collaboration with the Highlands Ranch Metro District, which owns the park.

“Yoga can be a perfect complement to any athletic endeavor or an opportunity for teens to plug-in to themselves for just a few minutes,” the metro district said in a media release.

Kids and teens get a taste of the physical benefits of yoga — increased flexibility, strength and muscle tone. But, more importantly, the classes allow participants to disconnect from the world around them for an hour, Crichton said. For teens, that includes the nonstop buzz of social media.

“I want them to take a break from that part of life and know that they are pretty awesome just as they are,” Crichton said. “This is about being yourself.”

Cathy Widmier, a Highlands Ranch resident, attended a June 8 class for the first time with her daughters, who are 6 and 8. She thought it would be a good way to spend time together while trying a new activity.

“I want to expose them to lots of different ways to be physically active,” said Widmier, sitting on a yoga mat in between her children.

Amy Reedy, who was at the class with her 10-year-old and 7-year-old, enjoyed the teacher's energy. Crichton scales down the complexity of yoga by comparing poses to different animals. She uses an expanding colorful sphere to demonstrate how to breathe.

“We love it,” said Reedy. “It wasn't just about being outdoors and doing an activity — this is helping them in other ways.”

Crichton's goal is for yoga to have a positive impact on all areas of a young person's life.

Her tagline:

“Their uniqueness is their superpower.”


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