I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever train to be a kids yoga teacher, let alone teach a class. But here I am! It still feels like a dream, and my confidence has rocketed into outer space!
Becoming a kids yoga teacher has been a hard road to walk, and I’ve had to be extremely stubborn to have made it this far. If not, I would have wound up working full-time in a job I hated or running horrible, bratty children’s birthday parties for the sake of money, pleasing others whose shallow perceptions of me believed that was all I was good for. But like a phoenix I rose above the criticism and continued on my journey.
After a few years working on my professional development in subjects centered on mental health, the subtle body, anatomy, nutrition, child protection, holistic education, and art therapy (alongside my regular yoga practice), I plucked up the courage and enrolled on an intensive training to become a kids yoga teacher. When I hit the payment button to secure my place and the confirmation email arrived in my inbox, I sat in silence and starred at my laptop screen, I was completely stunned that this was now a reality. There was no going back! After a long pause, a surge of excitement erupted from my heart and I danced around the house for half an hour (much to my boyfriend’s annoyance)! This was the beginning of a new me, of the real me finally being set free.
Getting Started with Kids Yoga Teacher Training
The teacher training was a whirl of colors with rainbow fabric, puppets & teddies exploding from our teacher’s suitcase. That all was followed by the sound of eight happy women’s dancing feet as we learned the art of storytelling, yoga-dancing, the Hungry Caterpillar yoga adventure, and the car wash massage. These incredible students lifted me up with so much love and encouragement, many hugs, plentiful smiles and great big belly laughs. They healed me in ways I couldn’t ever fathom, and my heart broke open and filled itself with bundles of joy.
Starting to Teach Yoga to Kids!
Once qualified, I’ll admit, I didn’t jump at the chance to teach right away. It was a combination of low confidence, confusion on how to start up a freelance business, and a need to have quiet time allowing myself to reflect on all I had learned from the training. In that time of solitude I created lesson plans, pinned ideas to my Pinterest board, and began planning promo material.
Summer came and I was hired as an Activity Leader for young students at a language school. My duties involved leading day excursions, sports days, treasure hunts, art workshops, and game nights. One evening, at home I received an email from my central manager “Katie, the weather is going to be awful tomorrow so we’ve cancelled traditional British Sports day. We’ve hired out the sports hall instead so the kids can spend two hours playing football and basketball. How do you feel about teaching them yoga for an hour too?”
My stomach turned to jelly. Is this really happening? I’m excited, I’m nervous, what if the kids don’t listen to me? What if one kid falls? What if they think my yoga isn’t good enough? What if they laugh at me? I don’t have a lesson plan; it’s 10pm at night! Crap, why did I say yes to this? So many different emotions began to swirl in my mind, and needless to say I didn’t sleep that night.
On the following day, I had my teaching manual and yoga pretzel cards at hand. I shouted “OK, everyone, take off your socks!” to a room full of Spanish tweenagers moaning about the British weather, giggling at photos on their phones and asking “Teacher, when can we go shopping?” Already I wanted to make a run for it, but something inside me calmed down, and I made the decision to take myself out of the “Teacher” persona. I embraced my inner child, I tied my hair into pigtails, wore vibrant harem pants, and brought to life my theatrical and quirky side.
Needless to say, the class was a big hit, and the kids would not stop talking about yoga for the rest of the week. I showed them basic acro-yoga and held a competition for best poses. I allowed some of the kids to demonstrate poses they wished to show at the front of the class. By the end, those same kids who moaned they were bored and wanted to go shopping from the start, all sat with me in padmasana, eyes closed and “Ommed” in unison. My heart beamed like the sun.
Throughout the rest of the summer, I taught five more yoga sessions with art activities at the end. Being given the opportunity to include yoga in the program gave me a huge confidence surge and a massive kick in the butt to start up my own classes in my local community, in after school clubs, life centers, and yoga studios.
How Becoming a Kids Yoga Teacher Affected Me
I’ve learned a lot and grown as a person since my summer at the language school. I now know that I want to create yoga & art workshops for kids from underprivileged backgrounds, to reach out to children who may be refugees, from a troubled home life, or struggle with psychological trauma.
The experience at the school gave me confidence to train as a teenager’s yoga teacher and to enroll on a 200hour yoga teacher training intensive so that I can be of service to adults by creating programs centered around movement therapy, yoga, and belly dance. I can clearly visualize myself as a well-rounded, holistic, creative teacher. It feels good making it happen!
I am currently creating promo material for up coming kids yoga classes in my local area and partnering up with a kids healthy food caterer and a school teacher to co-facilitate weekend workshops involving yoga, therapeutic art, healthy snacks and holistic fitness & education. I am really excited about this business venture because it gets kids out of the house, they’ll learn about healthy eating and healthy living via educational and fun activities! I now literally have the world at my feet, with so many exciting things on the horizon!
So, the message in this personal story is….
Only you know what is inside you and what you are capable of. As long as you are safe and those around you come to no harm then why not walk the roads less traveled? Just like your brain is able to block out annoying sounds so you can dream at night, your heart is also able to block out pessimistic and judgmental opinions from others, so that you can Will what YOU desire and manifest YOUR dreams.
If I had listened to the critics, I’d be working in a dead end job until retirement and sitting at home doing nothing. Get out there and make things happen, get creative! Opportunities present themselves when you feel passionate about something so much that you can even feel your Liver smiling, that’s when you know you are on the right track! And never be afraid to take a leap of faith from time to time, the Universe will catch you. Only you know the beauty and light that shines from you, so go ahead and beam like the sun.
The question is: What do you desire?
“A warrior of Light cannot lower his head – otherwise he loses sight of the horizon of his dreams.”
― Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light
Photographer: Jon Roberts
Location: The Yoga Loft
Yoga Kids: Angel, Melody, Kornelia & Inga
Over to you, yogis! Do you have a goal you’re ready to dive head-first into? Share with us in the comments!