Flowing with love is our Yoga Teacher who her class fondly call a ‘Yoghurt’ teacher!
“So, once you start teaching kids yoga, your name becomes “yoga”, no Teacher, or Teacher Caryn, but “yoga”. The little ones will call you yoghurt… and I often hear myself saying…”you can’t eat me…its Y O G A! 😂
Also, always make sure your feet are in good shape, because at any given moment, right in the middle of your lesson, someone will comment on the state of your feet! Gotta love them 💜🧘♀” – Caryn
Could you tell us a bit about your yoga journey and how you ended up teaching yoga to kids?
My journey working with children started when I was 20 years old when I signed up as an Au-pair in America. I had never really worked with kids and had no idea that this one choice would change my life path completely. I loved it!!! I worked in a family with three kids aged between 6 month-4 years, and my passion for wanting to work with kids was fueled.
After my year in The States, I found a family to Au-pair for in Pretoria, and worked for them for 3 years while I did my ECD (Early childhood development practitioner) training through UNISA. After that I ran my own day care for roughly 5 years. This was for babies aged 3 months – 2 years, until they were ready to attend pre-school. During this time I got married and had two babies of my own, which was awesome as I got to keep them with me while they were young. I started looking for other beneficial activities I could do with pre-school aged children and found a kids yoga training. I myself wasn’t that into yoga at the time, but had attended some classes, and thought it would be an awesome thing to do with children, so I did the training, got the qualification and then slowly faded out the day care and took o teaching kids yoga full time. The was in 2009, and I am still going strong, loving that I am doing.
About 3 years after completing the kids yoga training, I decided to do an Adult training, which I did over two years, and then started teaching adults, kids and family yoga classes, as well as Mommy baby yoga classes. Now I am still teaching, but have also added a Kids Yoga Teachers Training Program to my resume, where anyone wanting to become an instructor, like I did, can.
What’s a good age to start yoga with kids?
The best age to start is from the age of about 3 years. My training is for kids aged 3-12 years, but I do all the ages as I used to have a baby care and am comfortable working with babies. Why I say 3 is the best age to start is that they just have a little bit more focus, and will stay on their mat MOST of the time 😂, and can also follow instructions a bit better.
You can also work with 2 year old, but they are usually off on their own mission, which makes it quite tricky.
What are the benefits of kids doing yoga?
There are so many benefits online, but as a teacher these are the ones that stand out the most to me…
• Kids yoga is non competitive, so encourages children to accept those who are different.
Shouldn’t parents be in a yoga class with their kids? Especially at that age and in the initial stages?
Teaching family yoga classes is a real fun way for kids to bond with their parents. It is always good for a child to see their parents play and be silly, to get down onto their level and have fun. I would highly recommend family yoga classes, just let the parent know that the class is aimed at the child’s level.
I would never put a young child in an adult class, as this would totally boring for them, and would put them off, which is not what we want to do.
Are there any differences when it comes to teaching yoga to boys and girls?
Not at pre-school level, they just get on with it and have a blast. I have noticed in the older classes that there will be more girls than boys, sometimes only girls.
I think the older boys see it as more of a “ girly” thing, which is a pity. Sometimes i think it’s the lack of male teachers teaching kids that’s
the problem. i think older boys will relate more to a male instructor.
Why do kids need yoga as a form of physical activity when I can sign them up for sports like soccer, dance or swimming to expend their energy?
All of the activities mentioned are good for kids, but yoga is the one that treats a child holistically, meaning, not only focusing on the physical side, but the mental and emotional side as well. When you have all three of these balanced, your child will benefit far more than just for example, being physically strong.
How do you keep the kids focused and not getting distracted in class?
😂😅, by keeping the classes fast paced and full of interesting topics, props, songs and fun games. Each class has a theme for example: a camping trip to the game reserve.
So you take them on a journey to a game reserve, showing pictures to fuel the imagination. You also get them to use their own imaginations by asking things like “what do we need to pack for our camping trip”, or “what do we find in the game reserve”