Dozens of orchestra students in Downers Grove Grade School District 58 swapped their instruments, scales and harmonies for sun salutations, downward dog and tree poses during a special class earlier this month.
Colleen Eakley’s students gathered in the O'Neill band room Sept. 4 for a yoga party led by Hillcrest parent Sue Gervase, founder of yoga2u.me. When Gervase presented the idea to Hillcrest staff, it immediately piqued the interest of Eakley, who teachers orchestra at O’Neill, Indian Trail, Hillcrest, Kingsley and Fairmount.
For about an hour, the students watched Gervase and carefully bent, stretched and balanced as she led them in trying a series of poses at a variety of levels of difficulty.
Eakley said she took a class this summer that discussed overall health and wellness of string players, and how vital it is to be aware of one’s body and posture to avoid pain and injury while playing. Her instructor mentioned that yoga is a great way to create this awareness, as well as bring together physical motion with breathing, which are vital aspects of playing violin, viola, cello, bass, or any other instrument, she said.
“When I saw that Sue was offering free yoga parties, I jumped at the opportunity. Many of the kids had done some yoga before and for most kids it was a new experience,” Eakley said. “I look forward to continuing to incorporate activities that promote my students' overall well being to enhance and spice up their education."