Some of us are born to teach. I have been teaching something since I was 14 years old and probably even before that! I distinctly remember playing school and I always seemed to be the teacher in the games. I have taught gymnastic, library science, been a tutor for life skills, math and reading, taught tech skills (word, excel, publisher) and most recently yoga.

I came to yoga as a “failed” gymnast. What little girl doesn’t dream of going to the Olympics, but for me that was not in the cards. So, when I moved to my first college, I discovered dance and yoga. Both filled a place in my body and my heart to help replace my love of gymnastics.  And over the years, I attended yoga classes every where I happened to be. College towns, home towns, towns I happened to be visiting and through this exploration of style and ideology I came to want to learn more. Because the funny thing about “teachers” is that they are also lifelong learners.

I embarked on my first yoga teacher training course- the illustrious 200-hour yoga alliance certified yoga teacher training in the small town of Manitou Springs with a very small cohort-just 6 of us. And that changed my life’s trajectory for the next decade and is still changing my life.

For those who have not done a yoga teacher training, I will just say you need to try it. If you have any interest in knowing more about yoga and yoga philosophy this will be a game changer. This training taught me about real connection with others, connection with self and how I face the world when I am exhausted mentally and physically. It taught me how I show up in the world and it taught me how to ponder, and contemplate and how to let go. And I was hooked.

While I never intended to “teach” yoga that is exactly what I ended up doing. The funny thing, though is that I have never really taught yoga to adults. My path is with kids.

Yea, I know! Why would kids want to do yoga? How do they sit still for a 60-minute yoga class? And really- how are they quiet for that long?

Well children’s yoga looks very different from adult yoga and what I love about kids yoga is the fun. We laugh, and play and crawl on the floor like a snake. We blow pom pom balls across the floor to learn about breath. We blow bubbles. We dance with scarves. We create. We dream.

When was the last time that your yoga class looked like that?

I was fortunate enough to have a job teaching yoga in the public schools for several years but the school system, I am sad to say didn’t really understand kids. One principle told me she hired me to teach “serious yoga”.  So I ask you, is it developmentally appropriate for kids to be quiet and still for extended periods of time? I hope you echoed with me a resounding “NO”. The research shows that kids learn through movement and creativity. They learn by doing!

Kids yoga is all about doing.

We weave the themes of connection to the world, compassion for others and love of self into games, and imagination and exploration. Every kids yoga class is guided by the needs of those who are there. We might spend more time on calming and breathing or we might spend more time on dancing and releasing pent up energy. But in the end, we all walk away with a fuller heart. With more self-confidence. With the ability to love ourselves and to share that love with others. We take baby steps each class to becoming the best human being we can be.

So you might feel like you are not a teacher, but if you have a child in your life learning to teach kids yoga is a necessity.

In this world of raising childhood suicide rates, addiction and childhood trauma, we can reverse the tide- one breath, one yoga pose at a time.

Don’t wait until the little ones in your life grow up and move away, give them tools that they can use for a lifetime now. Try a yoga teacher training this year. Make 2020 the year you try something new. Commit to growing self and through that growing those you love.

With gratitude,

Jan