In 2003 I attended Maallaa’s inaugural (lucky me) Kid’s Yoga Teacher Training. At that time my own children were fairly young and we offered classes for young children as well as teenagers at this studio. Times have changed, my children are adults now and we no longer teach those classes here. What happened? I got busy following my most current interests and those interests changed. So why am I offering this training through the studio now you ask?
Well, there are many reasons, the first one that comes to mind is how it will benefit the immediate community,, that is the young mothers who attend my classes and are sharing what they learn with their own children, I know this training will give them the skills they want to be the very best mothers they can be. It will help them to incorprate what they know about Yoga into their childrens lives in a way that will be meaningful and accessible. They may even see their own practice from a new perspective.
For the community at large this training will appeal to the students enrolled at our local university, Vancouver Island University, especially those in the Education Department, there have been requests from these students to offer something like this. so many people are practicing yoga now in our community, as elsewhere throughout the world, these educators are the ones who need the skills to share with the younger ones once they are in the position to do so.
Who else can benefit? Anyone who works with young children will enhance and develop new skills that they are not even aware of. Many preschool teachers have incorporated these methods into their programs, Yoga Teachers at studios across Canada have added Yoga for Children to their schedules after taking this program as well. Maalaa is a master educator with a very strong background in Yoga, she teaches from her heart and has spent many years develpoing this program into what it is now. This is a not to be missed opportunity for anyone teaching children who also has an interest in Yoga.
How will the children benefit?
Young children learn to value the breath, to slow it down and be in charge of their own minds. They learn how to be calm and focused, concentration skills are taught that will serve them well in all areas of their lives. Working in pairs and in groups teaches co-operation while having fun and building respect for themselves and others.
The games and interaction in the program encourage the children to be expressive and creative. Even children who are not as naturally athletic enjoy Yoga and so develop a positive attitude towards exercise while they become physically and mentally active and fit. Children with special needs easily benefit from the practice of Yoga.
Developing an awareness of Yoga at an early age sets the stage well for a healthy and peaceful life. I will quote Swami Satyananda in his book Yoga Education for Children,
“The practices of Yoga not only help to keep the young body strong and supple but also incrporate mental activities, disciplines that help to develop attention and concentration, and stimulate the creative abilities that are latent within the child. Imagination in children under six is usually expended on toys and fairy tales, but we can also give them real things to imagine, putting them in a more accurate relationship with their environment, making them capable of dealing with this real worlld. . . . .As the child grows older and enters school, these same yoga practices augment his learning abilities at school, and the regular discipline helps the growing child to channel and direct his emotional energies in a constructive manner.”
Those are the words of a master Yogi, one who has seen countless children thrive on these practices, Maalaa is another master teacher and Island Yoga Vista is very pleased to have her return to Nanaimo to offer this program here again.
Yoga gives us hope for a better future for our world and our families, starting by teaching our children how to live life as a continual expression of Joy is the most hopeful thing we can do.
Sandra Sagarmurti Shotton
Kid’s Yoga Teacher Training with Maalaa May 5 & 6 2012 at Island Yoga Vista, Nanaimo