What’s going on at Kidding Around Yoga that’s keeping us all on our yogi toes? EVERYTHING! Sure, the Kids’ Yoga market all over the place is booming, but things at Kidding Around Yoga (KAY) seem to be on fire. Why are we different? Why are there new Kidding Around Yoga teachers hitting the mat at schools, parks, Girl Scout troop meetings, studios, YMCAs, and festivals all over the globe? Because, in my opinion, Kidding Around Yoga offers something different to the Kids’ Yoga market and to children all over that other companies providing Children’s Yoga training just aren’t offering. What is that special something? Well, all I can do is share my experience and how it relates to my personal practice and yoga teaching career. So read on, and then maybe you can decide for yourself what the KAY difference means to you.
Conga Yoga. Song Available Here
My yoga journey began with children. While I was pregnant with my son in 2008, I was given a book on Infant Yoga. When he arrived, I found myself using the tips from the book to help with sleep, digestion, and overall happiness—plus it was FUN! Fast forward about a year into mommyhood and I found myself teaching toddlers yoga at a local child care center. It was completely out of the element for a former HR/Recruiting professional. Diving in with what I knew, I began using the yoga I had used with my son and making up my own moves to music in my classroom. The children responded beautifully and began to blossom and began using yoga poses like Downward Dog to self-soothe! Before I knew it, I had a roomful of toddler yogis. I was amazed daily at how the gross motor activities in yoga were helping all of their other developmental areas, and I began to apply yoga to what I was learning in my Child Development classes. I quickly realized that I had to know more about how to share yoga with children—and LOTS of them!
By nature, I’m a slow mover when it comes to decision making and starting new endeavors (it’s both a blessing AND a curse). Naturally, I spent hours over the next few weeks researching ALL the Kids’ Yoga companies and Children’s Yoga training offers on the market. After narrowing it down to my top five or so, I decided to research becoming a 200-hr Yoga instructor so I could properly apply knowledge of the body, yoga poses, and all aspects of yoga to what I already knew about child development. THEN I would pursue Kids’ Yoga training. Well, it must’ve been meant for me to find a teacher training, because the day after I was thinking about it, I met someone, got an email, contacted the teacher, and was registered for my 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training! Woohoo!
Wait, though! I only knew those postures that I did with my children… how was I going to be a teacher? Eeek. Panic and excitement set in over the next few weeks and months as my textbooks arrived and I began my new adventure. The thought of sharing my beloved yoga experiences with even more children in a well-informed and safe way was what kept me motivated.
A few months into the teacher training, I continued to follow the top five Children’s Yoga companies I had found and began contacting them. In November of 2011, I contacted Haris Lender of Kidding Around Yoga about taking her training that January in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was crazy for me to travel like that, and yet I felt it was something I HAD to do—plus I was off from my other teacher training that month. Haris responded immediately. I was nervous and impressed at the same time. Why did she call me, herself, and not some assistant or office personnel? Later I found out that Haris has her hand in every aspect of this company because of her deep love for what she has created, what Kidding Around Yoga brings to the children of the world, and because she has made it her personal mission to make a difference by sharing the science of yoga as stress management for kids.
So, off I went to from West Virginia to Florida—and I even rented a car for the first time! Talk about an adventure. I could go on forever about the content I learned at the training, but if you follow this blog and check out the videos and original music all over this site, you will quickly learn why this Kids’ Yoga training is so OM-mazing.
What I will tell you about was what it did for me. Being at this training, acting like a kid, surrounded by a roomful of people who also desired to share their love of children and yoga in their unique way brought me out of a very tight shell in which I had lived for a long time. In fact, that was one experience that was NOT slow and methodical for me—more like an explosion. I connected with my inner child who had been stifled for various reasons: fitting in, to please parents and teachers, and just in being a “grown up.”
Massage Train. Song Available Here
Let me tell you, children have a connection with their true selves that many adults just don’t have. It’s not because we lose ourselves in day-to-day life, but because we forget to practice. What does that practice look like? It’s different for everyone, I learned that weekend. It’s listening to our bodies, looking with awe at every part of nature, tasting food with keen senses, allowing music to move our bodies, playing in this game, and dancing in this dance of life. For some, the connection through the asana is greatest; for some, it’s the music; for some, it’s the science and philosophy of yoga; for some, it’s the meditation and mindfulness; and KAY offers all of that and more. We are born with that connection to our own way of tuning in and Kidding Around Yoga teaches teachers, parents, and children alike to use tools to keep those connections alive.
For a while, my practice was teaching 15 classes a week and 150 kids how to do yoga and meditate. Now, it looks a little more like a personal practice and time with my family. Maybe your blissful connection won’t be through a yoga class solely, and I am sure this blog will provide you with many practical ways to take your “practice” of life and yoga off the mat and into this world. That’s honestly what my experience with Kidding Around Yoga’s teacher training did — it restored my connection to my truest self, the things I love, my energy, my love for life, and my work (whatever that is at this moment), and gave me a renewed sense of unity and connection to others in this world.
I mentioned at the beginning that Kidding Around Yoga offers something different. You can read about all of our training ideas and what is taught in each one on the site. Kidding Around Yoga offers passion for children, for creating peaceful children all around the world. We offer a sense of community and resources and so much support for our teachers—whether they are teaching their own children or hundreds of children a week, as I have done. Kidding Around Yoga loves children, we love our teachers, we love spreading that love and the KAY Craze all over the world every chance we get (just check out our training schedule!). And don’t forget that we also offer our Online Kidding Around Yoga Training (OKAY) for people who are too busy or live too far away to attend a live course. Kidding Around Yoga has compiled tools to share with the children you love so that you can help make growing up in this crazy, wonderful world more peaceful, healthy, and fun. The KAY Craze is all about the LOVE, and that’s what truly sets it apart from the rest of the Kids’ Yoga teacher training courses out there.