HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) — A Huber Heights yoga instructor is helping kids reduce stress and anxiety through stretching and movement during what’s been a difficult year and a half.

Kristi Kirinch previously taught early childhood education. She became certified in children’s yoga after she saw a need for children to manage feelings and find peace.

“What they have learned is yoga is so much more than the pose,” says Kristi.

She’s been holding classes at the New Heights Wellness Center on Taylorsville Road all through the pandemic to help children age 4-12 tap into their bodies and their minds.

“When nothing else was happening, at least they had this. Honestly it was a bright spot for all of us. It gave me something to come to,” says Kristi.

For the last couple years, her classes have kept others coming too.

“Thought it sounded fun so we decided to try it and we really liked it,” states 11-year-old Aiden Thompson.

“I just like how you can kind of be yourself and do yoga and breathe and everything,” says 10-year-old Tea Vinevicius.

“She (Tea) introduced me to it and she wanted me to start coming,” says Tea’s 11-year-old friend Claire Guiselin.

Kristi uses music and objects like scarves and art for children to connect.

“Miss Kristi sets up little craft things that we do and we both make them and sometimes we try to do patterns together,” says Aiden.

“We have one program called ‘Masterpieces on the Mats’ and it was very important during COVID because the children would engage in yoga and then an art project on their mat,” describes Kristi.

She says during a tough year, yoga was a way for children to unplug and de-stress.

“It un-stresses you,” says five-year-old Emma Royer.

The classes have also helped provide a break for parents.

“At first, Claire’s mom and I would walk while we’d wait for the girls. So it was very beneficial for moms and the girls,” says Ieva Maksvytiene, Tea’s Mother. “It’s an hour for yourself which you know is a rare thing as a working mom.”

The skills these young yogis are learning extend beyond the studio.

“I had one tell me that when he gets ready for a test he practices some of his deep breathing now,” says Kristi. “I had another six-year-old tell me when she’s feeling angry she takes some deep breaths.”

“It slows you down a little bit. So you know you pay attention, and you’re present, and my hope is that they take it to school or whenever they go,” states Ieva.

At the very least, the yoga classes serve as a reminder to breathe.

Kristi is also certified in adult yoga.

To learn more or register your children for classes click here.