In 2012 I was asked to take a 20 hour kids yoga teacher training and then, shortly after, I was asked to be a facilitator of that training. I had no idea how my life was about to change.
Yokid is a non-profit organization that "teaches yoga and mindfulness to children and use to support enhanced outcomes for life, health, school, and leadership. Yokid students have the tools to lower stress and their lives, and thus to increase their own resiliency in school, social situations, and life. They have the ability to respond mindfully too life, instead of reacting to it. They feel positive and empowered to make choices for their physical, mental, academic, social and emotional health and wellbeing. They employ yoga and mindfulness as tools for inner stability, resiliency, and positive outer impact. Yokid students support themselves, create a positive environment, and contribute constructivelyto their school and community"(yokid.org). Not only have I had the honor and pleasure of experiencing and observing sweet young souls realizing that they have these tools within themselves to take control of and change their own lives, but I have had the ineffable pleasure of facilitating the training that allow teachers to go into their communities to empower these beautiful children to find these tools within themselves.
The 20 hour training that I facilitate includes 3 courses taken over the course of weekend. These include yoga philosophy for kids, teaching yoga to kindergarten through 5th graders, and teaching yoga to 6th through 12th graders.
The teacher trainees " learn about traditional yoga philosophy and relevant poses for each stage of development. The curriculum provides yoga games, partner poses, yoga stories, and relevant journal prompts to cultivate mindfulness for kids of all ages and backgrounds. Trainees learn simple and effective tools for creating a fun and calming environment for kids, strategies for behavior management, age appropriate language, and inspiration and helping students rise up to achieve their goals"(yokid.org).
When I was initially asked to be the facilitator of these trainings I asked myself, why me? How did little me get chosen to share such a precious and important message? I questioned myself over and over and over again until I realized that this is something so much bigger than me. I am simply a vessel conveying a sacred message to countless individuals who are taking this same message out into the world and changing lives one child at a time. I have lost count of the weekends that I have driven back and forth from Washington DC to lead these 20 hour teacher trainings, but each and every soul that I have come into contact with; a piece of them has remained in my heart. I have had the honor and pleasure of keeping in touch with many of my students. They send me pictures, they send me emails, they write me letters, they send me books that inspire them, they create their own books as a result of their teachings, and they continue to give me the most precious gift... sharing with me their continued passion for what they are doing with their lives and for lives of children in their communities.
Since 2012, I have mostly been leading teacher trainings on the East Coast, but had the crazy idea of taking the training out West last September. Big Sky Montana received Yokid with open arms. I had the pleasure of going back to that sweet community just last month and got to reconnect with multiple students from the teacher training. I was blown away with what they had done with the training and for their communities as result. There were countless times that I had happy tears rolling down my cheeks as my students showed me pictures, lesson plans, and told me stories about their very own introduction to kids yoga in there communities. As I sat with one beautiful soul in a small little coffee shop in Big, and other people in the community came in and out, I very soon got to witness through my own eyes how she had become the town's children's yoga instructor. As I walked past coffee shops in Bozeman Montana, I saw Flyers of another student's kids yoga classes around town that were clearly highly attended. I also received word a few weeks ago that a very precious friend that has resulted from one of my DC teacher trainings is moving to Japan. Since taking the training, she has impacted countless lives with her teaching of children on the east coast and I have no doubt that she is only going to continue to do the same across the seas and across the world.
I continue to be blown away by the inspiration that I am filled with by my students. We are all cultivating a garden and there is no question that it takes a village. There is also know question that the growth of a garden takes time, dedication, persistence, and patience. I have never witnessed these qualities to this extent and with such passion as I have with these beautiful souls.
As I continue to plant seeds and tend to this garden, it continues to grow with each trainee and with each child's life that they touch. What started as a small plot has grown into a field of resplendent growth.....
I hope that you will join me.