The next 95-hour Kids’ Yoga Teacher Training is right around the corner (June 25 – July 9, 2015) and I am SO excited. I told a friend of mine the other day that this training is like my Disneyland – two solid weeks of joy-filled inspirational play, stories, songs, artwork, dance, and yoga adventures in mind, body, and spirit. Kids’ yoga is food for the soul, and there’s nothing else I would rather be doing. After the first day of training, I hear the same exclamation time and time again – We need kids yoga for adults! I whole-heartedly agree!
With each training, I have the amazing fortune to meet people from around the world dedicated to promoting the well-being of young people. I tell them slyly on the first day of training, that although it was this motivation that may have got them to the kids’ yoga mat, the training is really all about them – it’s their chance to reconnect with their child- and teenage-selves, parts of themselves from whom they may have become completely disconnected as they navigate the adult-world. I believe that reconnecting with one’s “inner child” is a prerequisite for being able to inspire young people to take part and value yoga and mindfulness practices. Reconnecting with ourselves as children and adolescents is also necessary to be able to fully and authentically connect with the young people in our lives. It can help us understand what young people value, and identify with some of the challenges they may be facing. It can help us develop empathy, allowing us to put ourselves in the shoes of a 3 year-old, or a 16 year-old. We can appreciate the wisdom and insight young people have to offer, and recognize their needs as human beings in their own right – not something to be fixed or moulded, not behaviour to be altered or changed. We become willing to accept young people for who they are right now, and empower them to act from their own truth – not the expectation of others.
In every training, I learn so much from the inspirational group of people who come together, as we grow together from preschoolers to adolescents. We heal from past hurts and wrong-doings experienced as our younger selves, helping us recognize and have compassion for the hurts and wrong-doings that the young people we encounter may be carrying with them. As we grow into yoga mentors (a term I prefer over yoga teacher), we aspire to live our yoga in every interaction. Each training I feel that I am “reborn,” and I see the same in others who are courageous enough to embark on this journey. We leave with so much more than “yoga games” and “kid-friendly yoga poses.” The kids’ yoga practices we take part in become vehicles to explore something much deeper. We leave with a whole new outlook on life. Don’t believe me? Come on out! You may be surprised by how profoundly life-changing kids yoga can be for those of us stuck in the world and roles of adulthood.