(1) Tell us a bit about mini yogis
The mini yogis program was created to offer the profound and life-changing benefits of yoga to children in a fun and engaging package. Let’s face it, all the things that make yoga awesome for adults (meditation, breathing, sustained postures) can be boring as can be to kids! So, what we’ve done is repackaged all these elements into activities that kids enjoy, while we sneak in the benefits through the back door. Like kale in a smoothie. When meditation, for example, is a game, children learn the same vital skills as adults do, but they do it in a fun and exciting way that they look forward to participating in.
(2) Why do you find yoga important in your daily life?
Yoga is my daily life. Why do I find it important? Because it guides me in my code of conduct and integrity. Because it grounds me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Because it challenges me and embraces me. Because it makes me strong in body, mind, and character. Because it teaches me to breathe.
(3) What are the benefits of practicing yoga with children?
When you consider the benefits of yoga for children, of course it makes sense to start with the benefits yoga has for adults. Namely, it helps to stimulate and regulate their Nervous, Respiratory, Lymphatic, Circulatory, Muscular, Digestive, Endocrine, Immune, Skeletal, and Vascular systems. Pretty comprehensive, right? Well, I’d have to say that the most profound benefits of yoga for kids go far beyond the simple physical ramifications. More than anything, yoga builds self-confidence, patience, kindness and other life skills that do more than change bodies, they change lives.
A child’s yoga practice is one of the only places that s/he can go without being rated, graded, or berated. In children’s yoga, the only way you can do something wrong is by not doing anything at all. Trying is doing and there is an incredible power in that. Everyone has heard the saying “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”. And if you are like most people, your mind starts racing to all sorts of thoughts of amazing things you’d want to try. All too often, people yield to fear of failure or judgment when considering risk and, as a result, never even try the things that might totally revolutionize their lives. Yoga empowers kids to try and succeed at everything that they set their minds to.
(4) Kids are super unpredictable – what has been the funniest moment you’ve had with mini yogis?
Too many to count. I guess my funniest moment was recently when a five-year-old boy announced that he had to go potty and started to walk towards the bathroom. His nanny quickly jumped up and asked “Do you want me to come with you?”. The boy looked at her and said “Of course not. I’m going to the bathroom.” Then he turned around, looked at me and sang, “AWKWARD!” and went about his merry way. It was the inflection and perfect delivery that just slayed me, it was so funny.
(5) What has been the most gratifying moment of your time teaching yoga to children?
Every moment, honestly, is gratifying. I have the best job in the world. But overall, I’d say the most gratifying moment was working with a boy with spina bifida who came to me in a wheelchair and walked out of his first lesson unassisted on his own two feet.
(6) How do people become certified with mini yogis?
We offer teacher trainings all over the world in an intensive, condensed format. Our mini yogis trainings are 10 – 20 hours long, conducted over the course of one weekend. While anyone at all can attend, it is recommended that you already practice yoga and have a good, working knowledge of the practice before attending. The more you bring in, the more you get out. You can see our full schedule of trainings at http://miniyogis.com/teacher/get–certified/. We are one of the oldest yoga for kids teacher trainings on earth (established 2002) and everyone walks out of the training with a certificate and a smile. 🙂