Dear Editor:

I was so happy to see the article a couple of weeks ago about yoga class being introduced to the afterschool program. That’s a great start but it doesn’t go nearly far enough - it needs to be offered to every grade K through 12. The school board needs to research schools who already have it as part of their curriculum and see what amazing results are being achieved in other states - higher grades because of better concentration and focus, less bullying. Just google "benefits of school yoga" and all kinds of articles will show up. It’s about learning to love and respect your body just as you are and to respect others, and tolerance for differences.

If the belief is instilled at a young enough age "I am perfect, I am beautiful just as I am" young girls could have a better self-image and not resort to eating disorders trying to look like what everyone else thinks they should look like. It’s a very sad fact that America is the most image-obsessed country in the world which continues to cause harm to our youth. Young boys would be less likely to experiment with drugs with the awareness of needing to take good care of their bodies. One little 8-year-old girl in a news segment some time ago at a school in New York with yoga said she’s learned how to not get upset if her brother teases her, she just does her calming breath and turns her thoughts inside instead of reacting with anger. What an amazing response from an 8-year-old - just imagine how that technique is going to help her as she goes through life. Recently there was a news segment in Little Rock from some school (Montessori?) that’s having yoga class for pre-schoolers as young as 18 months. Kids who participate absolutely love it.

Yoga is for all ages - there are DVDs of yoga-based chair exercises for seniors to do at home that can transform anyone with fibromyalgia or RA or just age-related stiffness, improving movement and energy levels. It has nothing to do with religion if anyone has that fear, it’s an ancient science of mind/body connection and healing. "The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body" and helps with stress and chronic pain. I can speak from personal experience how much it has helped me and highly recommend it. I would love to see Clinton schools be the leader of the trend in Arkansas and give our kids a great head start on lifelong wellness.

Alma Wallace