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Last updated 05:00 10/11/2012

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Time-out for mothers and small children is offered in a half-hour Tuesday morning yoga class at Renwick's Giesen Sports and Events Centre.

Instructor Rebecca Foster, a mother of two young children, has received funding from Sport Tasman to take the classes.

Each session costs $5 for a preschooler over 3 years old and their Mum, Dad or other caregiver.

"Kids do a lot of activities these days. The reason I want to do a combined class for [a parent] and preschooler is so they can come and be together in a relaxing, nurturing space and learn together," she says.

"It's about building a bond between parent and child."

One mother, Huia Crosby, loves the chance to introduce her son, Maui de Wildt, to yoga. He had his second session on Tuesday and she was surprised at how much he had remembered from the week before.

"I could swear he wasn't paying attention last week," Huia says. "But they don't have to be participating the whole time, they are still learning a lot off the map."

Rebecca agrees. "Learning, teaching and observing, I think that's a big thing."

She has a nursing degree specialising in paediatrics, completed a two-year yoga science certificate in Perth, Australia, and attended a Rainbow Kids Yoga training workshop in Sydney.

Children introduced to yoga at a young age can use its breath control exercises to enhance other areas of their lives, she says.

Yoga students learn that mind and body are one.

By becoming aware of posture, breathing and movement patterns, bodies become more flexible and the mind learns how to relax in times of stress.

"Breath is always available to you," Rebecca says. "So it's a tool [children] have if they are feeling stressed."

She grew up in Blenheim, moved away 11 years ago and was living in Perth with husband Oliver until the end of last year.

She was running children's yoga classes in Perth but loves the greater sense of community generated in small towns like Renwick.

"There's so many well-organised activities for families in small communities . . . there's a good community spirit here and I'm hoping I can contribute."

She is a Lifeline telephone counsellor, too, and some of the calls she has taken resulted in her starting a free Monday Lifeline yoga class in Blenheim for adults experiencing stress and anxiety.

She also visits Renwick School and provides yoga sessions.

"My hope in teaching yoga is I can make it accessible to different groups of people.

"Yoga is a union, connecting mind and the body.

"There's a lot of pressure now to ‘look' and ‘feel' the right way. Yoga helps us accept ourselves that we have these different feelings, that we have different bodies and being more than OK with that, but being happy with that."

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For information about the parent and preschool yoga classes at 10am on Tuesdays, Monday's Lifeline yoga sessions or school yoga classes, call Rebecca Foster: 021 131 8273 or rebeccafoster74@gmail.com

- The Marlborough Express

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