FAIRBORN — One of the best aspects of living in a small community is the strong sense of giving back. Sonja Ostendorf’s sense of community has led her to provide yoga instruction to the Fairborn High School football players.
Ostendorf is a yoga instructor and owner of Kai Yoga in Fairborn. Teaching heart-centered, alignment-based Hatha yoga, with the use of props and adaptations specific to an individual’s health needs, she makes yoga accessible to all students.
About a year ago, she began talking with school officials about how to get yoga into the schools. Ostendorf believes that cross training and the importance of breathing are important concepts for teenagers to learn.
“Yoga helps build strength not just in the large muscles like heavy a workout, but it works on almost every muscle of the body,” said Ostendorf. “It helps you use the body in the way it’s intended, as one machine working together.”
With her expertise, she has been holding weekly classes with the football team at 7 a.m. in the high school gym. The players and coaching staff all participate.
“Yoga helps with my focus and flexibility,” said senior Corey Gayheart.
In their fourth week, Ostendorf is helping the players use yoga to counter the tightening and shortening of muscles that happen with the normal movements of football. This will help to keep their bodies loose in order to prevent injury and to use their strength more efficiently.
“They’re working on not only strength but more mindfulness and agility,” Ostendorf said. “They’re learning to take that strength and focus on a certain part of the body. Most of what they are working on is balance and keeping focus, which is breathing. On a football team you have a lot of different body types. They have to learn to do what is appropriate for their body, and let their body find its own range of motion.”
While some of the players were a little hesitant about yoga, Ostendorf said she noticed more awareness and calmness in the players after just the first class.
“It has been so much fun. I love working with teenagers because they are willing to try anything,” she said. “They are doing great. They’ve really come a long way. You can tell they’re putting all their effort into it and they’re getting good results.”
She is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) by the Yoga Alliance and holds 200 Hr certifications in Yin Yoga and Curvy Yoga and is pursuing her 500-hour Ashtanga-focused training with Yoga on High in Columbus. She also holds certificates in Aerial Alignment Yoga, Pre-Natal Yoga,Reflexology and Ayurvedic Massage.
Kai Yoga is located 1 S. Central Ave. For more information about the studio and instructors visit their website at www.livekai.com.