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Leah Cullis teaches yoga to a new student in the Yoga Garden during the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll. This year’s event takes place Monday, April 21. Photo: Eric Tabora
By Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman
Get ready to “roll” out your yoga mat once again at the nation’s capital. The 136th annual White House Easter Egg Roll is set to take place on Monday, which means yoga on the South Lawn!
First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the Yoga Garden at her first Easter Egg Roll in 2009 as part of her Let’s Move! Initiative, and the program has grown each year since.
“We’ve learned over the years that by having more teachers at the yoga garden, we’re able to serve more children and families, hold more classes, speak to more people, cause bigger connections and collaborations with the teachers, keep everyone having fun and involved and have some time for rest, breaks and taking in the whole experience,” says Leah Cullis, who organizes yoga classes for the event.
Yoga teachers from the DC area and around the country will lead “mini-classes” of 10 minutes each throughout the day. Families are encouraged to participate together, Cullis adds, highlighting the theme of this year’s Easter Egg Roll, “Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape,” which educates families on smart ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise choices into their daily routines.
“Yoga is one of quite a few activities [chosen by] the first lady to help encourage families and children to be more engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle,” says Cullis. “Out of all of the activities that they can share on that day, it’s an acknowledgement of the physical and mental benefits of yoga practice for kids and adults.”
While the Yoga Garden has been a hit every year since it was introduced, the First Lady seems more engaged in her personal practice this year than ever before. Not only has she talked about doing more yoga to stay flexible, she also joined Jenna Bush Hager in a yoga class for kids during a “Let’s Move!” event in Miami in February.
“Hopefully she’ll come over and practice with us in the yoga garden,” Cullis says.
The 2014 Easter Egg Roll, which is expected to draw up to 30,000 people, will also feature live music, sports courts, healthy cooking stations, storytelling, games, and, you guessed it: Easter egg rolling.