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Yoga for the young

I don’t want to be too dramatic, but I miiight have found my calling. I learned about kiddie yoga at a training session this weekend and I loved every minute of it. Of course I can’t know for sure until I actually work with some children, but pretty much everything about this aspect of yoga education excites me.

Before I decided to teach yoga, I’d considered many careers related to education. First I decided to get my masters in library science and become a children’s librarian, but I soon realized I was much more interested in storytime than information technology—I’d be better off working at a kids bookstore, except that I didn’t really want to work in a bookstore full time. Next I became passionate about becoming a guidance counselor. I’d come to understand the importance of processing emotion, and it broke my heart to think of young people with no skills for coping with their pain. But aside from not having the right pre reqs for grad school, I acknowledged that I have no desire to be locked down to a traditional schoolday schedule. Then I tried my hand at teaching reading and writing on a volunteer basis, this time to adult literacy students. I confirmed through that experience that while I love sharing knowledge and inspiring self-improvement, I’m not really cut out for by-the-book work sheets and desk instruction.

By the time I quit my tutoring gig I was an avid yogi, so when the prospect of teacher training popped up at the perfect time, it was an instant answer to the long-lingering question of what the heck I’m here on the planet to accomplish.

I know my mission in this life is to share love. It’s a strong message I’ve received from my deepest core, and I’m grateful for the understanding. But the specifics of how exactly I’m meant to share that love have yet to materialize. I do know that getting certified as a yoga teacher feels 100% like a step in the right direction, so I’ve been letting the question of my destiny hover in the background as I focus on life’s daily challenges, trusting that the answers will come when I’m ready for them.

And teaching yoga to kids might be one of those answers. This weekend a new road unrolled long before me and I am eager to explore it further. I immediately connected with the ideas discussed, and thoroughly enjoyed the techniques we practiced. And while the approach may be different, all of yoga philosophy is most certainly applicable to kids, because kids are fully human. In some ways kids are more human than most adults, because they are still innately aware of their connection to the energy of the universe, which some call spirit or god and I like to label as love. It is easier to tap into their flow, to go with their energy and guide them toward controlling their breath and managing their feelings, all while allowing what is. There is less resistance–though there also is plenty. They are, after all, fully human.

But in general, kids don’t mind being silly; they’re not as self conscious yet and this makes for wonderful learning opportunities, and also allows for fun. And on a selfish level, teaching kids means I get to be childlike on a regular basis. (Sure, I spent the last hour singing and jumping around—it’s my job!) I also like that teaching youth requires utmost honesty—they can tell if you’re insincere and then they won’t trust you, and you can’t be a good teacher without trust. (This is true for adults too, but less immediately obvious.)

I truly care about education; I think everyone benefits from awareness, and I want to cultivate it on both individual and group levels. Let me teach the kids during school or after, the teachers before or on the weekends. We all need it, I want to give it, I’m here to serve. This is something I am good at, that feels natural and challenging in a purposeful way. And since children are indeed the future, sharing the tools for exploring their inner and outer landscapes seems especially worthwhile and rewarding.


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Love > fear