Tag Archives: yoga

How did you cope? Or rather, “How am I coping?”




The past 18months have certainly been a rollercoaster, and not the fun kind where you’re throwing your arms up in thrill-seeking excitement!

When I sat down to write my story I closed my eyes to reflect and the images popping up in my minds’-eye from the past 18 months were blurry, grey in colour and flat. There are definitely pops of colour in there but I needed to look a little harder to find them; to find the birthday celebrations, intimate weddings, outdoor picnics and walks on the beach or in nature with loved ones and my doggo.

Our brains tend to focus on the sad and overwhelming moments, and my anxiety has been wanting to be front and centre too. I know I’m not alone in my feelings and being open about them with those I trust has not only strengthened our bond but allowed us to heal, to know there is community in love and suffering.

Journaling has also been a wonderful outlet for me. Paired with journaling is a daily gratitude practice. These tools have really helped me cope and helped me notice the blessings, however small, that are in my life.
Regular movement, especially dancing, has brought me joy. I started tap classes and now every Thursday I can stomp my frustration away!

My dog, precious Dooley, has been the biggest blessing to our lives. We adopted him in December from Blue Bundu Brigade. He helps me practice present-moment awareness and reminds me to connect to my surroundings with all of my senses, to be completely immersed in the “now.” He is Heaven sent, my beautiful boy.

What did you have to change?

When teaching children’s yoga was no longer an option last year I was sad, angry and overwhelmed. I just had a successful Term 1 of teaching children and it was pulled away from me with no warning.

I let my creative juices flow during lockdown (I am a big day dreamer) and decided, with the support of my incredible partner, to grow my little yogi’s illustrations over lockdown. I started with the three little yogi’s in my logo and finished with 12. Each little yogi is practicing a yoga pose and has an affirmation attached.

From there the idea for a memory game with a difference emerged – A Mindful Memory Game. After some time, the idea for an Earth Conscious Colouring Book came to life. More ideas for bespoke yoga inspired games and products (which are strictly local and sustainable) have slowly been created in my mind and will, in the future, make their way into existence and onto my website.

I still plan on teaching children, I love it, it is so rewarding. But I’ll do so in the form of workshops and spontaneous pop-ups.

How did you adapt?

I remind myself of this constantly:
Focus on that which can be controlled. Focus on your attitude and what is happening right in front of you.
Change is the only constant.
Grow in love, keep love and gratitude front and centre always.
Hope is a beautiful thing

Grow in love

The Little Yogi’s
Hannah Taylor
Contact 073-668-9490
Instagram : @the_little_yogis

My Story – Transitioning Through Challenging Times




2020/ 2021 has been a bitter-sweet year. It’s been a year of growth for me and at the same time, it’s been a year that none of us will ever comprehend. Death has been more present now than it ever was in the past. To add to our turmoil, the recent civil unrest in South Africa left most of us traumatized.

Although the past 18 months have been a challenge, financially, emotionally, and psychologically for most of us, I chose to focus on everything that I am grateful for. Furthermore, I allow myself to feel and acknowledge the pain, it’s my way of healing and letting go of circumstances that are not in my control.

The pandemic allowed me to pause, it allowed me to delve within myself and get to know myself better, it also gave me an opportunity to reinvent myself and my business. It forced me to step into a whole new world. Just before we went into our first lockdown, I started teaching yoga online. I taught almost every day for two months. My students were very loyal, as they attended every class, but this schedule was too intense for me and burnt me out. I took a step back and re-evaluated my situation. Took a short break and returned to the mat but this time I reduced the days that I taught. I asked myself what’s my “WHY”, as in what’s my intention? This gave me so many realizations that helped me to schedule classes to help me be the best version of myself and at the same time add value to my students’ lives.

The world is currently going through a shift and we have the opportunity to either be a part of the shift or just be a spectator and witness it pass us by. I was becoming more self-aware and noticed that social media was beginning to drain me. I tried various strategies, which included a social detox, but once I returned to social media, I immediately noticed that I was experiencing the same symptoms. This steered me to limit my time on social media. I became more conscious of who I follow in the online world. I began associating with those that are vibrating at a higher frequency than I am so that I can also raise my vibration by learning from them. I also associated with those that are vibrating at the same frequency as me so that we can inspire each other. I give my association, in terms of offering inspiration through social media posts and blogs, and many other mediums to those that are going through issues of the mind, such as stress, anxiety, etc, these people are vibrating on a lower frequency and the only solution for them is love and kindness. Especially during this pandemic, we all were faced with issues of the mind due to us living in our minds, so when I meet someone that is challenged by their mind, I try my best to treat them with love and kindness. This world needs more of this.

Last August I started a podcast called Mindful Trinity’s Podcast, my aim was and still is to help society to collectively heal, learn, grow, advance, and move forward together. I believe with a healed society we can achieve anything. I invited many wonderful thought leaders in their fields from Spiritual activists, medical doctors, yoga teachers, mental health activists and so many more. My season 2 will start in October 2021.

I created various strategies to help me cope and build a healthier environment both internally and externally. Some of the strategies include:
● Re-evaluating my life to see where I went wrong and what can be changed. Journaling became a part of my life. This practice enhanced the quality of my life.
● Stepping out of my comfort and growing through my discomfort. This pandemic pushed me in a whole new direction. Although I did not like the camera, I grew to love it. I started teaching yoga online to a small group of people. Even if I had just one person join the class, I still showed up. I have learned that yoga is not about “me”, it’s about what I can do for my students.
● Cleansing my external environment, this practice helps me create inner peace. Just remember, your external environment is a reflection of your internal environment.
● Making gratitude a part of my life from the moment I open my eyes till the time I close my eyes.
● Being mindful of the words that enter my mind, the words that come out of my mouth, the treatment that I give to myself and others, to the ingredients that I feed my mind and body. I always say if the word, thought, action, or food item did not cause you or any living entity any harm before reaching you then it’s good for you. Vedic texts teach us that the law of Karma says, “Every action has an equal reaction”. The bible teaches us, “As we sow. So shall we reap”. I used affirmations to train my mind to think and speak positive words.
● Taking care of my mental health as well as my overall wellbeing.
● Forcing myself to rise early in the morning, before the sun rises. This was and still is the most difficult practice for me, especially in winter because I tend to go to sleep late due to work, but I also know the benefits I will achieve if I rise early and practice mantra meditation and yoga. To achieve waking up early I had to go to sleep early.
          Sleep is important, so I had to create an environment that supported me to have a
          good night’s rest.
● Staying away from my devices at least 2 hours before bed.

● Not having a heavy supper

As I evolve, so too is my business. Due to life being mostly online, I decided to host a 3-day online seminar next month, entitled “Spring Cleaning The Garden of The Heart”. The idea of this event is to share practical tools and techniques to help us in our journey. Just like how we accumulate so many things as we journey through life, similarly, as we proceed on life’s journey we accumulate so many toxic emotions, experiences, etc which generally weigh us down and hold us back.

This pandemic has taught me that we don’t need luxuries to survive, it has taught me that sharing the little of what we have with others makes us happier. Waking up every morning reminds me that today I have another opportunity to fulfill my purpose and become the best version of myself. I am grateful for this purpose and I am grateful to be connected with so many like-minded people. Having experienced two burnouts during this pandemic, I now realize the importance of taking breaks. It is better to take breaks than giving up. I am still on this journey and grateful for learning and growing every day through life experiences, mentors, and teachers who have helped me along the way. I also realized that as long as I have a beating heart, I’m alive and that means, there will always be ups and downs. Everything cannot be perfect all the time, just like summer and winter, day and night, good and bad, happiness and distress, everything is temporary, so we should be equipoised in all situations. We should appreciate the bad as much as we appreciate the good. Life is our best teacher and we should learn from our experiences or else we’ll experience the same lesson over and over, it may include different people or the same people. But the lesson will be the same and will only end once we have learned from it. There will always be lessons for us to learn from, so choose how you experience life. I hope my story will inspire you to live your best life and to be the best version of yourself.

Thank you “Yoga Essentials” for allowing me to share my story.

With a grateful heart, sending you loads of love and positive vibrations from my heart to yours.
Vaisnavi Carana

One glass is enough – Yoga in the time of covid

In our first feature we have Chandre’s story of how she had to adapt to Yoga in the time of covid.

As Covid spread around the world at lightening speed in 2020, so many small businesses suffered incredibly. As soon as I realised there was a chance yoga studios would be shut down, I made plans to take our business online. As a yoga teacher in her fifties, who is camera shy and had never even taken a selfie before, it was a very daunting task. In South Africa, only necessities were being sold, so it was impossible to get equipment for professional online classes, so my phone was put into a glass, which acted as my tripod and I bravely entered the unknown world of online teaching.

Initially, I found it hard to connect to my students energetically and I would be drained after a class, but it didn’t take long to adjust and adapt.

It has been a really incredible journey. I am so grateful to everyone who shows up for their zoom classes (some in pJ’s) and who continue their practice online with me. I have got to know their pets, kids and families as they all join into classes uninvited. It’s been a journey.

I am optimistic that we will have group in person classes again soon. ‘All is coming’ is the mantra for now.

Thank you for inviting me to share my story.


Chandre de Jager

Kids Yoga Feature – Hannah Taylor

Hannah has some sound advice ‘Be Pre Pared! and Let it GO!
Hannah Taylor Little YogsCould you tell us a bit about your yoga journey and how you ended up teaching yoga to kids?
My very first yoga class was at Virgin Active in Kloof. If I’m not mistaken it was called Health and Racquet Club way back! My nine-year old self tagged along with my mum (I would rather participate than wait in the children’s play area) and after that one class I was fascinated. After that first experience Yoga made an appearance in my life here and there but my personal practice only took shape after school.

I have my Degree in Foundation Phase Education and after a few years of teaching I found myself resigning my job and diving head-first into a Yoga Teacher Training with Misha Mostert in 2019. I fully immersed myself in the entirety of Yoga and in the process slowly found myself again. Yoga really is magic! There is so much more to yoga than the physical practice, the fancy poses and the ability to hold an inversion. There is life in yoga.
With a degree in teaching and now a qualification in teaching yoga to adults I felt my heartstrings guide me to qualify to teach kiddies. It was meant to be because the lovely Charné from Ommm Kids Yoga was offering her course in Durban the following month.
I started teaching children at the beginning of 2020. I have had many ups and downs because what I had envisioned and carefully planned (in terms of starting a kid’s yoga business) all had to change. Am I grateful that the timing is what it is? YES!
Yes, because there are lessons in every situation, and I needed to learn flexibility and to have a little faith.
Corona allowed me to create my “Little Yogi’s.” I worked with a very talented human Misha-Lee and together (mainly over WhatsApp) Misha brought to life my 12 Little Yogi’s, beautifully illustrated kiddies practicing yoga. With an extended lockdown I got to work on my yoga product, a Mindful Memory Game, and the backend of my business. I now have my own game that I can use in my yoga classes and parents can bring some mindfulness to their little one’s playtime anywhere and hopefully everywhere!

My in-person classes have just begun again. Children are precious, they are pure, very honest (I’ve been asked what all those spots are on my face many times – Freckles!) and they are always eager to learn and have fun and play.

Everything has and still is falling into place. Not even 2020 can disrupt Gods divine timing!

What’s a good age to start yoga with kids?
Hannah Taylor The Little YogisThe youngest I have taught is three. The length of the class was obviously much shorter, we just made twentyminutes, but we had a blast! My classes at the moment have children from four to six, turning seven. I will say this, let your kiddies watch you practice Yoga, watch you meditate, watch you practice your breathing, watch you journal… they will take it all in no matter what their age is. I believe in leading by example.

What are the benefits of kids doing yoga?

Some of the benefits that I’ve noticed are

• self-confidence
• core strength and general improvement in gross-motor skills
• emotional regulation
• breathing using the diaphragm
• co-ordination skills

• memory skills i.e., remembering the sun salutation sequence

Shouldn’t parents be in a yoga class with their kids? Especially at that age and in the initial stages?
This is a good question and I think the response depends on the teacher and the child.

Maybe the teacher wants to facilitate classes where a bond outside of the parent-child relationship is fostered.
My classes are purely for kiddies. I’ve been blessed to have worked at studios that have glass sliding doors so parents that are curious can quietly have a peek without disturbing the flow and energy of the class.

I am not against having a parent in the class, it all depends on the child and how they are feeling when entering the studio for the first time. I always have coloring, or one or two activities (like my Mindful Memory Game) set out on the floor to create some curiosity for the kiddies. Music can also set the tone, but something fairly calm! I’ve made the mistake by playing Disney songs at the beginning of class, within minutes the kiddies were belting out “Let it Go, let it Go!”

Are there any differences when it comes to teaching yoga to boys and girls?
At a young age, no. My classes lately have been majority boys which I think is wonderful! Yoga can be very female dominated so it’s great to see boys starting from a young age.

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?
Yoga is a holistic activity/practice, meaning mind, body and spirit. I like to keep that in mind when planning every and any class, be it for children or adults. From the physical practice of Yoga we learn to understand ourselves, we foster mindfulness and present-moment awareness as well as exercising the muscles, building strength….

I always come back to this verse; Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self – Bhagavad Gita.

So much can be achieved for the over-all well-being of a child from regular yoga practice.

How do you keep the kids focused and not getting distracted in class?
Be. Pre. pared!
Plan as many classes as you can, writing or typing them out. With that being said you also need to be flexible. You may have planned the most amazing class with all sorts of great activities, and the little ones in your class are just not having it!

Work with the energy you have in class and gently guide the kiddies into using their energy productively and in a way that somewhat follows your plan.
I have a large box I take to my classes with nearly all my tools and resources inside, if I do need to be flexible, I know I have choice. Be gentle with yourself If things are not going according to plan, you also need to have fun!
Have a beautiful festive season filled with light and love. I am so grateful to be able to open my heart and share my journey with you. Namaste.


You can contact Hannah at:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thelittleyogis
Instagram : @the_little_yogis
Website : https://the-little-yogis.mailchimpsites.com

Kids Yoga Feature – Cassandra Taylor

Cassandra Taylor has a ‘bag of tricks” to help with hopping Trees, wriggling Lizards and fluttering Butterflies ! 

Cassandra Taylor - Yoga Steps

Cassandra Taylor - Yoga StepsCould you tell us a bit about your yoga journey and how you ended up teaching yoga to kids?
Everything happened when I was in varsity. I started doing yoga during that time, as a way to maintain balance and a sense of calm, and also started my first job, which was au pairing. I enjoyed every minute of it. I was studying a BSc in Human Physiology, Genetics and Psychology (UP) and have since then done a BSc (Hons) in Life Science, Physiology Stream (UNISA).

After my undergrad, I continued to work with children and found myself teaching them little bits of yoga. I was doing the adult’s yoga teacher training at that time and think it influenced me. So, I went on to do my kids teacher training as well. I completed the children’s and adult’s training at around the same time and have been teaching yoga to both ever since! 😊

I enjoy bringing facts about the body into the classes and try to teach children interesting things about the lungs, brain, muscles, bones, heart and other organs. Yoga is a way for me to experience all the things I learn about the human body and I hope to share these experiences with children and adults alike – making yoga a practical part of our everyday lives. I teach in the Pretoria area, privately and at various schools and studios. I also started YogaSteps – a service that offers yoga to all ages and from all walks of life.

What’s a good age to start yoga with kids?
Any age really. I teach mom & baby, mom & toddler as well as prenatal yoga. So, technically speaking, children can experience yoga from being in the womb! 😊 Cassandra Taylor - Yoga Steps

What are the benefits of kids doing yoga?
The benefits vary from child to child because each one will get what they need from the practice. Some benefit physically, some benefit more emotionally, while others benefit mentally. The benefits can include fitness, flexibility, strength, calmness, concentration, correct breathing and even becoming more confident.

Shouldn’t parents be in a yoga class with their kids? Especially at that age and in the initial stages?
This depends on the aims of the parents – children can manage well on their own. Mom & baby and mom & toddler classes are lovely ways for moms and their little ones to bond. Family yoga classes are also great for that reason. However, children can act differently when their parents are around. Children might then enjoy a bit of both experiences.

Are there any differences when it comes to teaching yoga to boys and girls?
A little bit. Sometimes it’s best to separate the boys and girls as they get older because they are becoming more

Cassandra Taylor - Yoga Steps

self-conscious. The classes might then be slightly different in terms of subject matter, but otherwise, and especially in the younger classes, all the boys and girls would be in the same class.

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?
Physically, yoga doesn’t need to replace sports like soccer, dance or swimming as these are also very important. Yoga meets a different need. Classes focus on breathing, awareness and relaxation. Yoga might help children find ways to balance their mind and emotions, while complementing other activities.

How do you keep the kids focused and not getting distracted in class?
I have a bag of “in case” things that I always bring along to each class. This bag includes bunny ears, breathing activities, and extra yoga class cards. If the lesson I planned doesn’t suit the mood of the day, I’m very quick to change it. I suppose subject matter and how one engages with the children will minimize distractions.

One time, the students weren’t engaging in the class. It was a Safari Adventure class, which is normally quite popular. I put on my bunny ears and instead of using transport poses to go from one animal to the next, we hopped like bunnies 😊. No more distractions.

On the lighter side of teaching children

Teaching yoga to children has taught me that yoga can be light-hearted, fun and creative 😊. It is also very different to your typical adult yoga class.

Here is a list of poses and ways that children have experienced the poses in the classes:
Tree pose: If they fall over, they might express that they are a chopped down tree or begin to hop around and say that they have been changed, magically, into a hopping tree.
Lizard pose: Will probably try to be a real lizard and wiggle about the room (while amazingly maintaining the posture). They might also express that this pose doesn’t look like a lizard and ask why we are doing it. Some children have said that they would like to speak to the person who invented the yoga pose names, because they feel some names need to be changed.

Butterfly pose: Will tell you what colour they are (which is almost always the rainbow-glitter-sparkly colour) and might get up and run around the room, pretending to be a butterfly.

Cassandra Taylor - Yoga Steps

 You can contact Cassandra at:
Email : casstaylor@yogasteps.co.za
Phone : 076 457 5700
Facebook : https://www.fac ebook.com/YogaStepsSA


Kids Yoga Feature – Charney Engelbracht

Charney Engelbracht knows the ‘tricks of the trade” teaching kids yoga – a UNI-OM certainly helps! 
Om Kids Yoga and Mindfulness

Could you tell us a bit about your yoga journey and how you ended up teaching yoga to kids?I suffered with anxiety all through high school and I remember leaving my first yoga class feeling so light and at ease. This belief in yoga as a tool for mental and emotional well-being is what made me take my first yoga teachers training and also the inspiration for starting to teach kids. I believe as kids yoga teachers we are imparting skills that kids can carry with them throughout their lives to enable them to manage stress, self regulate and feel at home in their own bodies.

Charney Engelbrecht -Om Kids Yoga and MindfulnessWhat’s a good age to start yoga with kids?
Kids can start doing yoga and mindfulness from age 3, although in some of my schools my students have been around 2 years old. At this age we really ‘play’ yoga and at the same time are planting seeds for a practice later in life.

What are the benefits of kids doing yoga?
There as so many benefits, we see kids improving concentration and focus, becoming more social, better able to self regulate and manage emotions, increased flexibility and strength. Yoga is also great for the core as we sit on the floor – this is great for kids who start sitting in chairs from such a young age already at school.

Shouldn’t parents be in a yoga class with their kids? Especially at that age and in the initial stages?
We encourage parents to stay for the first class for the child to settle and after that for kids to attend on their own. Kids react differently when parents are around and it has been my experience that participating in class by themselves helps establish autonomy and confidence especially in the kids who are more introverted.

Are there any differences when it comes to teaching yoga to boys and girls?
Yes and no. As with most things it really depends on the child’s personality and interests. We include many different activities, poses, games and exercises in kids yoga classes so there’s usually something for everyone 🙂

Charney Engelbrecht -Om Kids Yoga and MindfulnessWhy 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?
Yoga is unique in the sense that it is not only about physical activity, the kids are learning breathing, emotional intelligence, mindfulness and self regulation. It is a holistic form of physical activity that looks at the whole child.

I also find that it’s great for the non sporty kids as the environment we create is non-competitive and so there is no pressure to achieve.

How do you keep the kids focused and not getting distracted in class?
Tricks of the trade  I incorporate art, song, games, voice and fun and sometimes a challenging yoga pose into every class and find that these keep the kids engaged.

You can contact Charney  of Om Kids at:
email : ommmkids@gmail.com
facebook : https://www.facebook.com/ommmkids
instagram : https://www.instagram.com/ommmkids

Kids Yoga Feature – Cami Barausse

Cami Barausse founded Yogi Bears ZA and her vision is to have yoga part of the school curriculum (and equip them with a yogi super-power!).

YogiBearsZA - Cami Barausse

Could you tell us a bit about your yoga journey and how you ended up teaching yoga to kids?
In 2010 I decided to try out a yoga class in a gym. There were no fast-paced moves to master, and there was something pulling me to the fact that it was just me on a mat in there, it seemed like a comfortable space to be in. There was a calmness that even from the outside drew me in. That first class was like a missing puzzle piece, something clicked. Yoga made sense, and it felt intrinsically right for me. I was 18 years old and that is how it all began. I then got my honours degree in Genetics and Evolutionary biology in 2014.

In 2015 I went to India for 3 months to deepen my own practice of yoga and on returning to South Africa, I dived straight into my Kids yoga Teacher Training and 200 hour Adult yoga Teacher Training. In 2016 I founded Yogi BearsZA Yoga for kids, which is dedicated to serving the needs of the next generation of yogi’s out there, working with children aged 3-16 years old. My vision is to have yoga a part of the school curriculum in South Africa.

I believe that using yoga in a fun, interactive and adventurous way we make the yoga practice accessible to children. School coupled with family dynamics and social pressures makes growing up extremely tough. My goal is to remind every child that they are equipped with a super power, and that super power is their breath. It gives them a moment to pause and react as opposed to reacting and then pausing.

YogiBearsZA - Cami BarausseWhat’s a good age to start yoga with kids?
Children will mimic adults from a really young age, so practice if you around your children, let them join in, however they can, for however long they would like, do not worry about their form, let them just move and breathe with you. In terms of Yogi BearsZA yoga classes, I would say as a blanket statement from the age of 4, however I do assess children from the age of 3 and more often than not allow them to join our classes.

What are the benefits of kids doing yoga?
Most children find fascination in the smallest things. Sometimes something can catch their eye and it can alter the way they see life. Children’s minds are like a sponge causing them to retain information based on what they observe around them. That information can either have a positive or negative effect on their lives into adulthood. Teaching yoga to children feeds a young child’s need for order, movement and sensorial exploration.

It aids in constructing their confidence from the inside out. Kids Yoga creates a space that provides a fun filled and creative educational journey using yoga as a tool to promote the physical, emotional, and social development in children. It aids in constructing their confidence from the inside out and develops each child’s conceptions of many subjects while remaining active and fun. Children always feel successful in yoga; there is no competition, just individual progression. Any child can enjoy yoga and thrive from its benefits.

Shouldn’t parents be in a yoga class with their kids? Especially at that age and in the initial stages?
It is tricky especially if the little one is anxious or nervous but generally we ask parents to just step outside the classroom. Children love to act in front of mom, dad or caretaker so it just proves to be a distraction to the class and the child.
YogiBearsZA - Cami Barausse

Are there any differences when it comes to teaching yoga to boys and girls?
Absolutely not.

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?
In such a fast paced world, where senses are constantly been bombarded- yoga can really help one calm down, pause, breathe and manage whatever task/situation/crisis is in front of them. It is a non-competitive space, where acceptance, patience and love is cultivated.

We believe giving children the ability to connect mind, body and breath will really aid in all life decisions children will need to make. Yoga is just as important as all the other activities mentioned above and really works beautifully in conjunction with them as they have a symbiotic relationship, teaching children when to push and when to pause is an incredible life lesson.

How do you keep the kids focused and not getting distracted in class?
Kids yoga classes are fun adventures packed with moments of stillness. We make sure our classes and the content within our classes are relevant to the age group we are teaching. 

You can contact Cami and her Yogi Bears at:
Instagram : @yogibearsza
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/yogibearsZA
Website : https://www.yogibears.co.za 
Email : yogibearsza@gmail.com

YogiBearsZA - Cami Barausse

Kids Yoga Feature – Elizabeth Beer

This week we are featuring Elizabeth Beer who works with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds with her “Mindful Living” programme.

Elizabeth Beer Lotus Productions

Could you tell us a bit about your yoga journey and how you ended up teaching yoga to kids?
My yoga journey started in 2008 where I was suffering from depression, anxiety and insomnia due to trauma experienced in an abusive relationship. I turned to yoga when I felt that taking medication for the rest of my life or even for another month was not an option. I started yoga classes with an incredible teacher in Harfleld Village, Cape Town in 2010. I loved yoga and was soon addicted to how it made me feel and how it transformed me. I was happier, had more energy and was sleeping better.

I went to Thailand on a month long retreat in 2010 and after I returned my teacher said to me, if you wanted to study to become a yoga teacher, you are ready. I studied with Sandra Smith at the Durbanville Yoga Centre and completed my yearlong TTC in 2013. I also became a Breath, Water, Sound Teacher during 2013 which is a course presented and facilitated by the sister organization the International Association for Human Values. It is a free programme we as volunteers teach in disadvantaged communities.

I continued to practice yoga and focused on teaching small groups of women and clients who had health problems. All along I kept my events business going and felt that the yoga practice assisted me with managing stress in a very stressful industry. In 2016, I traveled to Gauteng and studied with Bill Herman from the Art of Living Foundation NGO from USA.

Elizabeth Beer Lotus ProductionsThe course was called Yes 4 Schools and it was a life changing experience. I was taught how to teach mindfulness, yoga and breath work in a class room environment and became a Yes 4 Schools teacher. I worked events and took time off each day (coming in early and leaving later) so that I could take an hour and a half to go and teach in Bonteheuwel, a community in Cape Town where there is on-going violence and gangsterism. In 2018 after working with the Western Cape Educational Department for many years, I developed my own programme called Mindful Living.
Our programme teaches children in the classroom in disadvantaged areas how to manage their stress in healthy ways through yoga, breath work and mindfulness.  Our programme was piloted, tested and after the incredible results obtained from educators and learners alike, we taught for 3 years in the school system until Covid-19 forced us to rethink and re-look at our teaching model. We developed an hour long online Grade 12 intervention programme and taught stress management to educators online during lockdown. I have also completed my Yoga Therapy Certification this year through Durbanville School of Yoga who follows a long lineage of traditional Hatha yoga masters.

What’s a good age to start yoga with kids?
We have been taught that you can start Asana practice with children from an early age, I have been teaching my granddaughter yoga since the age of about 18 months. For Prananyama practice we only start working with Grade 4 – Grade 12.

What are the benefits of kids doing yoga?
Kids love the activity, they are natural yogis. It assists children of all ages with managing their emotions and relaxing their minds.

Elizabeth Beer Lotus Productions

Shouldn’t parents be in a yoga class with their kids? Especially at that age and in the initial stages?
No, not at all necessary, as I’ve said children are natural yogis.

Are there any differences when it comes to teaching yoga to boys and girls?
I have not experienced this. In the environments I work in, the girls can sometimes be more talkative than the boys.

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?
Yoga is not a sport, it is so much more than a physical activity, it helps with the management of the mind and emotions, it is the only sort of physical practice that works to eliminate toxins, massages your internal organs and revitalizes the entire mind, body and soul.

How do you keep the kids focused and not getting distracted in class?By keeping the yoga practice fun and interactive, depending on the age of the child you can theme the classes accordingly, bring smell, colour and nature into your classes. Kids are the most amazing audience.

We moved to Barrydale during Covid in order to have a more holistic and healthier lifestyle. I have taught 2 Breath, Water, Sound Programmes which are free yoga programmes under the International Association for Human Values of which I am also a teacher. The youth in Barrydale are not unlike any other young people living in townships and communities in South Africa. They have ongoing challenges to face and really loved doing yoga and breath work for the first time ever. I have taught over 25 youth in Barrydale since we’ve gone into Level 1 and shall continue in 2021.

The Mindful Living Programme was about to launch in Cambodia this year with 2 schools booked to receive the trainings, due to Covid we have rescheduled for 2021.

Elizabeth Beer Lotus Productions

You can contact Elizabeth at:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/yogawithelizabethbeer
Website : https://yogawithelizabeth1.wixsite.com/lotusproduction

Kids Yoga Feature – Caryn Lustig

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

Caryn Lustig

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.

Caryn LustigWhat’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 a low cost, positive outlet for children
• It provides a safe place for children who feel like they don’t fit in
• Children learn self regulation tools that help them cope throughout their lives
• Kids yoga teaches kids to breath properly, and this benefits many different aspects of their lives
• Kids yoga helps with focus and concentration
• Kids yoga helps to build children’s confidence within themselves.
• Kids yoga builds strengthen bodies and calm the minds.

• Kids yoga is non competitive, so encourages children to accept those who are different.

Caryn Lustig Go With the Flow

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?

Caryn Lustig

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”

Caryn Lustig

You can contact Caryn at:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/kidsonlineyoga/
Website : http://gowiththeflow.co.za
Caryn Lustig Go With The Flow



SUP Yoga Special Feature – Penny Slein Yoga

Penny Slein Yoga

This week we feature Penny Slein Yoga from Durban, we spoke with owner and Yoga Teacher Penny Slein to get some insight on how they do their SUP Yoga practice.|

Penny Slein Yoga

How did you discover Sup Yoga?
My daughter and I were out supping on a calm beautiful day, the kind of day where you can just lay on the board out at sea and become immersed in the wonder of the ocean. We figured why not do some chaturanga and downward dog. It became fairly obviously very quickly that its an excellent way to really activate the deep core muscles as you have to continually stabilize yourself.

Penny Slein YogaWhere do you teach?
I teach fun group or 1-2-1 lessons on the Point Waterfront canals, out at sea and at my home in Durban North.

What Yoga do you do on a SUP?
On the SUP you really can do hatha, vinyasa and yin.

Benefits of SUP Yoga which might not be found in the usual practice?
SUP yoga provides an unstable base so your mind body connection has to be stronger so that you can fully engage and distribute your weight evenly. It makes being present easier. You have no time to think about any drama as you are focused on trying to not fall in the water. Although, that’s not a problem either as you can cool off. It’s a great way to test your co-ordination, heighten proprioception
(sense of self-movement and body position, sometimes described as the “sixth sense” – Jaina) engage the stabilizing muscles, strengthen your core and improve posture.

Some features of SUP Yoga unique to it?
What makes it unique are all the above factors plus being outdoors, in the sunshine and fresh air.

What kind of person does SUP Yoga (if there is any type)?
Anyone of any age can do SUP yoga and you can wear what-ever you want. It is a fun filled down to earth practice that focuses more on having fun than anything else.

Penny Slein YogaAnd then of course a humorous anecdote about something that happened to you or a student/friend doing SUP Yoga.?  😊
I have somersaulted off my board a few times but hey, you have to laugh and enjoy all of it. Plus…you never know when the dolphins are going to come out

You can contact Penny at:

email : info@pennysleinyoga.com
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pennysleinyoga
Instagram : @pennyslein_yoga