The conference is please to present Kenneth Strickland, of Radical Yoga and Y.O.G.A. for Youth NC, twice during the 2021 annual conference event. Kenn is presenting along with Keval Kaur Khalsa and Mshinda Middleton-Brown on lessons from establishing a yoga program in a title 1 public school. And along with Christine Abernathy, Kenn is offering a pay-what-you-can benefit workshop on the Sunday between our live conference days on using the tools of yoga and mindfulness to help teachers see their own gifts and superpowers as well as the those of their students. Proceeds from that workshop will support the National Kids yoga Conference scholarship fund and Y.O.G.A. for Youth NC outreach programs.
How long have you been teaching kids yoga what was, or is, your inspiration for doing so?
I’ve been teaching children’s yoga since 2014, after I took a kundalini yoga course taught by Keval Kaur Khalsa. From that moment, I knew that yoga was the missing link between typical academic education and project-based education.
Yoga is life principles in action, and with Kundalini yoga, we started to raise children’s awareness. As the children’s awareness rose, they began to slow down more, breathe deeper, and make conscious choices. Witnessing the children settle into themselves is my inspiration and why I continue to guide children to themselves with breath and movement.
What did the past year teach you in relation to yoga and mindfulness?
As a Yoga for Youth Teacher in Durham, North Carolina, we had the tremendous task of offering yoga virtually to kids suffering from zoom fatigue and social isolation. Traditional yoga classes don’t work virtually, so I reimagined yoga classes. I returned my teachings to the basics of yoga: connecting the body with the breath. With this foundation, we engaged children’s imagination and ability to transport places with their minds using stories and visualizations. Children became superheroes in their homes and used love to power their superpowers. Children became trees planted by water, and their gifts became fruit. Every day is a challenge as the kids’ attention shifts, but the pandemic taught the kids and me that every moment is a chance to use our powers to heal the world.
Why do you think yoga is so important for kids?
Yoga is especially helpful while children are in virtual schools because it gives them the tools and techniques to create a lifestyle that makes them resilient to online environments’ stressors.
Online environments constrict students to sitting in front of the screen and lacking social interactions, which is detrimental to children’s development. Yoga class offers a sacred space where children can learn to live and interact with others using yogic principles and postures.
What is your vision for the future of kids yoga.
The future of kids’ yoga empowers kids to create a yogic lifestyle based on their passions and preferences. Yoga is a gateway to the power of the breath, meditation, and movement to create an inner awareness and stillness that allows them to create the World around them. The future of kids’ yoga connects the atman (the soul) with the asana (postures) to help kids cultivate a loving awareness rooted in the present moment and their relationship with themselves, others, and nature.
Join Kenn and Christina for a special benefit workshop where we will use tools of yoga and mindfulness to approach social justice and diversity through a lens of inner radiance and self-awareness.
This workshop does NOT require full conference registration and is offered free with suggested donation.