With my next Kids’ Yoga Teacher Training right around the corner, I thought I would take the opportunity to share my answers to some of the common questions I get about the training.
Next training starts on March 19 at Semperviva Sea Studio. Click here to register.
What is your background and how does it prepare you to teach the training?
I have been teaching yoga to young people ages 3 – 20 since 2006. Previously, I was an English as an Additional Language teacher, and I began integrating yoga and mindfulness practices in my classroom to foster student well-being and create a healthy learning environment. In 2009, I transitioned my career to teaching yoga to children and adolescents full time. I have taught in public and private schools, preschools, the adolescent psychiatric in-patient unit at the BC Children’s hospital, after school programs for the Vancouver School Board Community Schools Teams, community centres, and yoga studios. I have taught both group classes and worked with students one-on-one. Currently I am working full-time on my PhD at the University of British Columbia in Human Development, Learning, and Culture, in which I study the effects of yoga and mindfulness practices on children and adolescents’ well-being, with a focus on social and emotional competencies. In addition, I continue to teach yoga to children, teens, and educators.
Is the training theoretical or practical?
The training is primarily experiential. We learn by doing. Throughout the training you will get to tap into your inner child and teenage self to help you reawaken the wisdom that comes with each of these ages, and to inspire empathy that will allow you to connect with young people of different ages. My primary objective is to foster the unique teacher in you, rather than focusing on having you learn to teach kids’ yoga the way I do it. Much of the time in the training is dedicated to you transforming what you learn in the training to make it your own, and find your own authentic voice. We do discuss physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development but always in the context of how this information can inform your practice. Everything we learn is applied. We go into detail on how to inspire and engage children, and how to address challenges that inevitably arise when sharing yoga with kids.
Is this training appropriate if you are interested in working with children with special needs?
The focus of this training is sharing yoga with all young people. I believe that all people have special and individual needs, so a large part of the program is learning how to recognize them and choose and adapt practices to serve each individual. Although it can be helpful to use labels to generalize and inform our teaching, I encourage teachers to see beyond the labels to recognize the whole person. Throughout the training, I identify particular practices that may be especially beneficial for certain conditions (e.g., people living with ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD, people on the autism spectrum), as well as contraindications and what to be aware of when working with differently-abled young people.
Will I have the opportunity to ask questions about my specific interests?
There will be lots of opportunities throughout the training to ask questions pertaining to your specific interests. You will also be able to design your own classes, sequences, and activities targeting specific groups of children and receive feedback on them from myself and other members of the training. I use the group’s collective interests to guide what I focus on during the training.
Who are your guest teachers?
Every training I invite back teachers who have previously taken the training who are teaching yoga to young people in various contexts. This way you get to see how teachers have applied what they learned in their own fields and ask them questions about their journey as a kids’ yoga teacher. In the upcoming training in March 2016, special guests include:
Josephine Chan: Early Childhood Educator
Alana Frogley: Behaviourial Interventionist working with differently-abled young people.
Nadine Spitteler: Yoga Outreach Teacher working with incarcerated teens
Mariam Pirbhai: High School Teacher who has implemented for-credit grade 11 and 12 yoga classes and a new 200-hour yoga teacher training for high school students.
Kristen Kraft: Social Worker sharing yoga with teens
What resources do I get as part of the training?
In addition to the texts that we use in the training, you will also receive my 180 page manual that integrates the latest research on development and contemplative practices (yoga and meditation) with the 8-limbs of yoga as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. The manual offers suggestions for ways yoga can promote cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development throughout each of these developmental periods. I also provide you with a ton of other additional resources, including research articles, and recommended books, apps, and web sites to support your journey. You will also have private access to videos of me teaching poses and sequences for each age group. At the end of each training day, I send out the lesson plans for the day, so in addition to the lesson plans in the manual, you leave with plenty of inspiration for classes for you to adapt and make your own.
Do you offer continued support after the training?
After the course, you have continual access to me to ask me any questions. You are also invited to drop-in to observe any future trainings. Each training is unique because of the different people involved. I am also constantly evolving as a teacher from my experiences teaching yoga to children and adolescents, and from what I learn in my research and study in this area. Whenever I update my manual (usually once a year), I send a copy to all of my past students.
Click here to read about past participants’ experience with the training.