Children leave their worries on the mat through yoga at elementary school

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BETHANY, Okla. - In trying times where it seems there are so many threats at schools and an intense amount of pressure both in and out of the classroom, an elementary school in the Putnam City Public School District is leaving their worries on the yoga mat.

Getting rid of their shoes and their worries, kindergarten through 5th grade students at Lake Park Elementary are heading to the yoga mat almost daily for the first time this year.

"To be able to start fresh," said their teacher Kimberly Hefty.

Even 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds are finding peace in their own way. First by getting a little rowdy, then quieting down.

"We learned how to breathe," said Bailey, a student.

Laying on what they call their magic carpets, they take a little trip.

They explain their destination best.

"The secret garden," said Izzy, a student.

The kids find a place where they can envision a world they want to see.

"Flowers, a bird bath and a horse," said a student named Abigail.

"Three unicorns," said Izzy.

For some kids, it's a necessary escape for reasons that are hard to talk about.

"This school is very high in childhood trauma," Hefty said.

Here, they learn to regulate what's going on in their mind through their body.

"It gives them tools to take off the mat," said Hefty. "We can't control our environment, we can't control what happens in the world but we can control how we react to it."

It's a break from reality, to learn how to handle it.

"I think it's life-changing," said Hefty.

They offer a number of forms of action-based learning at Lake Park Elementary, funded by a grant the school received.

If your child goes to a different school but you want to get them involved in yoga, Hefty says there are other options, like checking with your local YMCA.

Some yoga studios offer children's classes too.

She's an instructor through a global program called Kidding Around Yoga.

You can find more info on their website.

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