Tell us a bit more about your work. What does a typical day look like? Who is the community or population that you serve?
My weekly teaching centers around very young children and babies and their parents. That’s actually how I got started teaching yoga for children, crawling-4 yrs. I’ve since expanded into school age students. I run an afterschool program and day off camps when school is closed. My teaching schedule has varied by semester and now includes a lot of time managing my team as well as my other job, lactation consulting with new moms. I thrive on variety and love developing new programs and projects.
What are the specific ways you think yoga, mindfulness and SEL can be helpful for kids?
While yoga is often thought of as a physical practice, the social/emotional benefits for children are much more important. Learning to separate identity from our emotions and from the circumstances of our lives is hard for most adults, but this is what yoga and mindfulness teaches. So many of the messages we absorb every day are judgemental and negatively so. Yoga teaches us how to be a nonjudgemental observer and tells us that we are perfect in this moment just the way we are.
Tell us about that one pivotal experience (the student, class or moment) that keeps you going even when your work gets challenging.
Honestly, while I spend most of my time with littles, I do this for the older kids. I had a 5th grader come in to her afterschool yoga class one afternoon with worry written all over her face. As I greeted her, she asked if she could sit in the back and work on her homework instead of participating. I didn’t answer immediately; I simply took a breath. She looked at me and said “yeah, I need the yoga” and went to her mat.
Who or what inspires you the most in your work?
Even the most challenging students can surprise you with what they take away from the practice. I remember one 8 year old in particular who pushed back throughout our yoga class during camp, but then she drew me a picture related to what we’d done during free time and presented it with a big hug. I can’t even tell you the number of parents who’ve told me how much their children love camp or class when I never would have guessed.
What are your hobbies (outside of yoga and mindfulness of course!) Or how do you spend your time off the mat?
Off the mat, I’m either traveling or working with new parents as a lactation consultant or prenatal educator.