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Better Than Ritalin?

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New York parents believe in giving their kids a healthy head start (Mozart in utero, French lessons at trois). And now they're getting them a leg up on relaxation. This week, classes for children ranging from 2 to 7 kick off at Yoga Zone's new Upper East Side location, while Crunch is starting up at schools for the 4-and-up set.

Lured by flyers depicting a peaceful infant sitting in lotus position -- next to the optimistic line INCREASE CONCENTRATION, FOCUS AND ATTENTION -- parents recently toted their toddlers to a preview seminar at Yoga Zone.

As participants shuffled (and crawled) into a large room with flowing white curtains, instructor Jodi B. Komitor, a longtime advocate for kids' yoga, attempted to lull the group into Zen-like submission. "Okay, let's all sit down, rub our hands together, and make three sounds of om,'' she instructed. Sam, a towheaded would-be yogini, is only 1 and was not quite able to master this move. Similarly, Isabel, a little girl with a bowl haircut, said, "Mommy, I don't want to sit down." "This is the doggy, Nicholas," Richard Parke murmured to his 4-year-old as they struggled into downward-facing dog. "He's seen me doing some of these things at home," Parke explained. "He's a natural at the hero pose."

Next up, Komitor suggested they all open their wings. "I'm an eagle!" screamed a 4-year-old boy suddenly circling the room.

"Now we are trees," nodded Komitor, solemnly standing on one leg. "And now we are butterflies!" "I'm Superman!" contradicted the 4-year-old. "Okay," said Komitor, passing out lavender lotion for the feet, "This is the quiet time."

"I'm being quiet!" shouted Isabel.


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