Last September I joined the Yo Re Mi team and since then have noticed a dynamic shift in my life and work. My track as a yoga, music and mindfulness educator has had an impact not just on my career, but also on my internal rhythms and personal practices. If you are wondering if children’s yoga teacher training is worth the time and financial investment, here are five essential transformations I’ve noticed since I became a kids yoga teacher.
1. Children’s Yoga Teacher Training (CYTT) Expanded My Teaching
As a professional teaching artist in New York City, we approach teaching kids yoga from a background in education, music and acting. When we receive a yoga teacher training certificate (like Yo Re Mi’s 30-hour kids yoga teacher certification), we earn established credentials and the opportunity to share our skills with other companies — or take our own path.
Drawing on other teachers’ knowledge and resources was akin to tapping into a well of experience that opened up a world of possibilities in my own classroom communities… and my teaching got stronger for it. Lesson plans, improvising, classroom management; each teacher has a unique take on communicating with and educating the children of New York City, and that was incredibly illuminating.
2. Yoga Teacher Training Welcomed Me Into a Resourceful Community
Every teaching artist approaches their instruction style from their own set of values, beliefs and passions. I believe this is one of the greatest resources we find when we train as a Children’s Yoga Teacher.
For me, one of the most beneficial aspects of teacher training was the connection with a community of like-minded, yet highly individualized teachers. Having access to a community of teaching artists with all of their diverse perspectives, talents, experiences and approaches widened my view of what I thought possible in the classroom.
Teachers have different methods of empowering children; completing my yoga CYTT offered access to a wealth of these impactful methods and resources.
3. My Training Helped Me Provide a Safe Space for Kids’ Creativity
As adults in a busy metropolis we often push ourselves to the very brink of our internal resources, whether through work or the stress of daily life. On the flip side, we have the presence of mind to treat our kids gently, feed them healthy foods, put them to bed early.
I strive to create a safe space for children, where they can check in and be gentle with themselves and feel the freedom of creativity. Every day I see them light up during yoga because they recognize that together, we are going to create a space where every idea will be heard — and all of them will be used.
Where no creative suggestion is too wild.
Where they are not penalized for moving their bodies or singing too loudly.
Where they have the freedom to simply be.
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4. Yoga Teacher Training Helped Me Create Change in the Classroom
Too often in traditional education settings, we have a tendency to default towards aggressive discipline or “correcting” a kid’s behavior. Many psychologists now confirm that these disciplinary practices are outdated, don’t serve our children, and in fact, often backfire by causing lasting emotional damage.
The way we communicate with our children has a direct impact on their self-confidence and resilience. We directly see a positive response in our kids when we approach “discipline” through specific language, fact-based observation, teaching the tools of self-regulation and through a lens of mindfulness.
And sometimes it takes a village. Through CYTT you develop a vocabulary that you share with your teaching community and a venue to discuss, practice and process healthy methods that work within a classroom.
5. Yoga Teacher Training Improved My Own Practice
Children’s yoga teacher training had an impact on my personal practice and adult classes. As a young teacher constantly seeking to improve my practice, I can become very focused on developing my asanas (the physical postures of yoga). Sometimes I forget that the point of asana practice is to teach us to be present wherever we are, whenever we can. For me, this means finding peace and joy (and playfulness) within each class and pose.
The training was a reminder that we are all soft human beings with similar physical and emotional needs. More than anything, it reminded me that yoga is fun! It was a great reset button for me to check in with the structure of my day-to-day work and habits, and build in moments to be present and gentle with myself.
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About the Author: Bridget Saracino is a 200-hour National Yoga Alliance registered Yoga Teacher. She received her teaching certification from YogaWorks and deepened her study by training in musical yoga with Yo Re Mi.
In addition to teaching yoga, Bridget is a professional actress and musician with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Co., and a Bachelor's of Arts in Theatre Arts from Cornell University.