With a new year comes new beginnings, but also reflection and enormous gratitude for the gifts of the previous year. So, in a quiet moment several days ago, I sat down to step back and reflect on the last couple of years. I was absolutely amazed at the accomplishments and growth of ChildLight Yoga and the CLY community.
Emails and calls from Certified ChildLight Yoga Instructors telling me of their successes and stories about the children whom they bless with their good works, inspire me to no end. Just when I start to become overwhelmed, just when I begin to wonder why I do what I do, I will hear from someone about how they are effectively using what they learned in the training or about how much they reference the manual, appreciate the new blog, The Kids Yoga Resource, or how they've started a great program as a result of the training….and I am immediately humbled and invigorated. The ChildLight community is truly changing lives – mine, yours, and the children in our classes, their families and their futures. And I feel blessed and grateful to be a part of it!
ChildLight Yoga 2009 – A year in Review:
Held 7 new Teacher Training Weekends in RI, ME, NH, MA and PA involving near 140 beautiful, inspiring, child-loving people from all around the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Certified 83 new ChildLight Yoga Instructors, bringing our Certified CLY Community to 126 as of Dec. 31st.
Expanded local, Seacoast ChildLight Yoga team from 4 to 8 amazing Instructors, who taught an average of 28 classes per week in yoga studios, health clubs, recreation centers, and public and private preschool, elementary and middle schools.
Welcomed Lauren Winterholer (pictured below in the middle holding her precious belly), our Office Manager, to ChildLight Yoga in the Spring, who then welcomed her first child, Sage, into the world in October!
Held two summer camps, an Open House (CLY free annual spring event), and the Mom & Baby Wellness Sampler (CLY free annual fall event, co-sponsored this year by Stonyfield Farm!).
Participated in and offered free community classes at 11 local expos and fairs focused on new moms, families, kids & community, and national yoga month, wellness and peace.
Partied with young yogis at least twice a month with ChildLight Yoga birthday parties.
Helped several Girl Scout/Brownie troops earn their Stress Less badges.
Wrote to near completion the comprehensive Yoga 4 Classrooms Teacher's Guide and training curriculum – with the goal of expanding the program nationally in 2010 and beyond (watch for the new, dedicated Y4C website in summer 2010).
Partnered with The Nealley House in historic, South Berwick, ME (about an hr. north of Boston, 10 minutes to ocean) to create a beautiful, retreat-style space for our local trainings.
Established The Kids Yoga Resource, the official blog of ChildLight Yoga blog dedicated to all things kids yoga. Brought on friend, former CLY Instructor and Founder of The Prana Mama as a feature and product review writer for the blog. And man, she can write! Check it out!
Planned the 2010 training schedule, including a couple of non-ChildLight Yoga trainings to be held at the above retreat center as recommended continuing education for our growing instructor community. These include CircusYoga and Yoga 4 Teens!
Held the first annual ChildLight Yoga Instructor Retreat weekend, hosted by CLY Instructor, Heather Warr, at her camp in Bryant Pond, ME (fire potty and all!)
Local/Seacoast ChildLight Yoga Instructor Team at 1st Annual Retreat in September '09: Hanna (of Good Girl Graphics, our designer), Heather, Lisa B., Lauren, Susan, Sharon, Lisa F. (not pictured: Jodi and Linda)
Yes, there are so many reasons to celebrate and be proud, but I'll be honest here and admit that at several times during the year, I had to stop, remember to take a deep breath and fall back on my yoga practice (recall my true Self, not that busy, crazy person), which of course was always there patiently waiting for me to remember to walk the talk! Toward the end of the year, I honored my need for a rest by taking a short break from teaching to focus on writing, meditation and spending quality time with my own family during the holiday season. I am now heading into 2010 feeling renewed, centered, and very, very grateful - for yoga, for life, for children, and for you, the kids yoga community.
A couple of years ago, I mentioned to Bob Butera, my friend and mentor (Founder of YogaLife Institute, Editor of Yoga Living, and Author of Pure Heart of Yoga, just reviewed in this month's Yoga Journal! – pg. 94) that sometimes I didn't feel like I knew enough to be teaching to others – that perhaps I wasn't worthy of the role. He said two things that have stayed with me:
1) "Your gift is that you approach yoga and life with a beginner's mind. It is exactly that which makes you an inspiring teacher and role model."
2) "People, including you, will learn what they learn – they will take away what they are ready for and meant to take away today, and it will be different for everyone, and different every day, so it's really wasted energy to try to control or worry about it."
These words were such a gift. I experienced enormous relief and a moment of clarity which has made me a better student and teacher. We don't have to know everything right now. Wisdom comes when it's meant to come – when our minds, experiences, and our current life circumstances align to allow us truly absorb and utilize the knowledge we receive. Only then does it become realized knowledge.
So, I stay open – continuing to educate myself and surround myself with like-minded community (like you!) – always learning and yearning for more. I continue to grow right along with ChildLight Yoga as the paths unfold in front of us. I have no idea exactly where those paths are leading, but I can count on the fact that some will be made of smooth pavement, some will be treacherous and bumpy, and others might feel like quicksand. My mantras are 'Just surrender,' 'Have faith,' and 'Be here now.' And mixed in there, I can't help but have a bit of unattached excitement for what lies ahead.
Perhaps you have had similar thoughts and experiences this past year. Maybe you have thought, "I want to share yoga with children, but am not sure how to get started," or, "I have a kids yoga certification but needs some fresh tools and ideas." Perhaps you're not sure what to do to expand your class offerings. If so, then please read on…
2010 Trainings and Continuing Education Opportunities!
There are too many options to list here, so please take a look at the website Training Page for a full schedule of workshops, trainings and training/retreats in 2010. Here is a quick overview:
Basic ChildLight Yoga TT - Boston MA, Concord NH, Haverhill MA, Wayne PA, South Berwick ME
Advanced CLY TT (w/Yoga 4 Classrooms for Instructors) - Wayne PA and South Berwick ME
Circus Yoga Training - South Berwick ME
Yoga 4 Teens Training – South Berwick ME
Yoga 4 Classrooms Seminar for Classroom Teachers - South Berwick ME (more to be scheduled soon)
Heather Warr, one of our local instructors is also offering a 3 hr. workshop on sharing Yoga for Children with Special Needs (please download the PDF and call to register with her directly). – Exeter NH
Please note that the S. Berwick, ME (about an hour north of Boston, just across NH border) training opportunities include an option to stay on-site at The Nealley House Retreat Center. This is a very inexpensive and wonderful opportunity to make your training weekend into a true retreat getaway! Info is provided with the relevant training info on our website.
ChildLight Yoga Community Development
Our community is growing, both in instructors and followers. ChildLight Yoga has become recognized across the country and into Canada and Mexico, as a reputable and repected children's yoga program. Our facebook fans alone have doubled in the last month. This new blog launched less than 2 months ago and already receives 50-150 unique visitors per day. That's pretty amazing for such a unique niche. Come on in and join the conversations and sharing – you'll be amazed at the connections you will make and the sense of community you will feel.
The Kids Yoga Resource: Our new blog, The Kids Yoga Resource, is open to the public, but also designed to give you loads of great, relevant info, tips, new teaching ideas, links, kids yoga news, kids yoga product reviews, ChildLight Yoga event updates, and much more. Please go and subscribe now and please do leave comments and ask questions - it's a wonderful opportunity for us to share thoughts, questions and ideas with one another!
Facebook – Become a fan and follow the great tips, leads and conversations going on regarding yoga for kids.
Twitter – Follow us. I'm not really into Twitter, but do try to update it with the blog and facebook posts, so if you like Twitter, you'll still get those reminders and can always link over from there to what interests you.
Phew! I promise future ChildLight Yoga update letters will not be quite this long. Going forward, my intention is to post one about every 6 weeks or so, with updates, CLY community news, educational opportunities and more. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. And should you ever have any questions, suggestions, concerns or comments, PLEASE do share them so that they can be addressed in a future post.
Yoga 4 Classrooms
21 Academy St.
South Berwick, ME 03908
Websites: www.childlightyoga.com and www.yoga4classrooms.com