By Kathryn Boland, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Blog Manager and 95-hour Training Graduate
Kathryn practicing at home
It’s a little crazy to think that I graduated from Flow and Grow Kids Yoga’s 95-hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training a year and one month ago! As is true for many people, this past year and a half has been challenging, unpredictable, growth-inspiring, and clarifying -- all at once. With yoga instruction and beyond, I’ve pivoted and adapted, felt assured as to my direction and felt like I don’t know what I’m doing.
Most importantly, I believe, I learned and I grew -- because that’s what can lead to me making a positive impact out there and helping others get to the place from which they can do the same. Though this learning and growth expands beyond the three following categories, here are three main lessons that feel most poignant and most impactful. I hope that it’s useful for you!
Flow and Grow Kids Yoga 95-hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training Spring 2020 Cohort
Do what calls you
Our achievement-centered culture loves the message of “this is my one-track career in which I’m a leader and a success.” For yoga instructors, that would mean having a full schedule of classes, workshops, trainings, and retreats. Whether or not they admit it, or even acknowledge it for themselves, that can lead teachers who have one to a few classes a week to feel “less than” as teachers. They can have trouble defining their careers, with teaching combined with other things that they do to pay the bills and stay feeling fulfilled.
A wonderful thing about yoga, however, is that it’s remarkably adaptable. We can take what best serves us and leave the rest behind -- in fact, doing so is full of wisdom. It nurtures us in the long run. For me personally, I’ve always had multiple passions -- dance, yoga, writing, art, activism, and more. Why should I limit what I can engage in, for the sake of building a full teaching schedule and feeling like I’m a “real” yoga instructor?
Instead, through this past year in particular, I think that I’ve found a great balance of teaching through Flow and Grow Kids Yoga through KidPass and writing blogs on kids yoga and mindfulness for the company combined with other writing, journalistic endeavors and social media work that I do. This spring I also launched an initiative called Mindful Movers, offering yoga and mindfulness resources for dancers, dance educators, studios, and other dance communities. I certainly miss engaging with students in space, but these are ways in which I can still contribute to their well-being in the face of pandemic realities -- and that feels great.
This all keeps me inspired, fulfilled, and energized. Even though I only sporadically teach kids yoga and mindfulness, yes, I’m still a kids yoga and mindfulness teacher. There are so many ways to be engaged with the work and its perspectives. Just like with yoga practice itself, the important thing is to find what calls you to growth, what nurtures you, and what leaves you feeling more integrated and whole.
Kathryn practicing poses for Flow and Grow Kids Yoga content
2. Reach out and show up -- you never know!
That being said, I will be teaching young people much more often come this fall! A couple of months ago, I reached out to a local studio to ask if there were any available work study positions as well as to start a dialogue about getting more involved with the studio's community. I also shared a bit about my background and credentials, and -- over the course of several emails back-and-forth -- I was offered to teach a few preschool classes in the fall.
I’ve always been squeamish about promoting myself or asking for opportunities like that -- but in this instance, I reached out with genuine questions and sentiments and simply shared a bit about myself. And look where it led! Honesty and genuineness are appealing qualities -- I think that we can all agree on that.
I will also be teaching four kids dance classes at the local ballet studio -- creative movement, pre-ballet, and jazz dance (ages 7-8). While it’s not kids yoga per-se, in this teaching artist work I do use tools and skills that I learned in Flow and Grow Kids Yoga’s 95-hour teacher training -- class management, positive redirection in cases of misbehavior (and positive reinforcement -- catching students doing the “right” thing and showing them gratitude for that), development anatomy and physiology, ways to engage students creatively, tools to help them find focus and calm, and more.
I truly believe that these opportunities came from simply being reliable, dependable, and amiably professional as a substitute teaching artist. I stepped up to help out when a class needed to be staffed. I was on time, prepared to teach, professional (but also authentically myself), adaptable and courteous.
Kathryn's Mindful Movers program -- yoga and mindfulness resources for dancers
I say all that not to toot my own horn -- anyone who knows me well knows that that’s really not like me -- but to emphasize that these basic ways of “showing up” as an educator and a professional should not be underestimated. Yes, we absolutely need to be fully capable in our craft of teaching -- and keep seeking to grow and evolve as educators. Yet, when it comes to getting opportunities, sometimes overtaxed studio or school administrators simply want someone who will show up, do the job at hand well, and not cause drama.
That’s become all the clearer to me through this past year, along with the value of simply reaching out -- sending that email, making that call -- and communicating authentically and pleasantly (being friendly and outgoing). You never know what could be in store, so show up as best you can -- because it could be something great.
3. Learning is a life-long journey, not a destination
Spending more time at home over this past year over lockdown, and also craving ways to be more physically active, 2020 and 2021 has meant more time on my mat than I’ve enjoyed years prior. Moving, breathing, doing my best to challenge but also care for myself, I realized that I was feeling called to get back into teaching adults (which I mainly stopped doing in 2019). I knew that I would need training again to do that safely and effectively.
I was scrolling Instagram one day in mid-spring and saw a post, from a Boston-based instructor who I love, promoting a virtual 200-hour teacher trainer. The price was manageable and the scheduling (though intensive) workable -- so I decided to take the leap! Fast forward to late July, the cohort did our teaching practicum and held our closing ceremony today. The two months of this training went incredibly fast -- but those sixty days were also filled with an immense amount of learning, personal discovery, laughs, difficult (but fruitful) moments, and so much more.
What was perhaps most striking to me was indeed how much there was to learn, even having taught yoga for eight years (2011-2019) for all ages and in a variety of settings. There are boundless perspectives out there to hear, be in conversation with, and take something from Indeed, another wonderful thing about yoga is that it’s an endless well of investigation, discovery, and growth.
Ever since I started practicing in 2008, I’ve known that to some extent, but this summer’s 200-hour training illustrated that for me on a deep embodied, soulful level. The learning isn’t ever really done; there’s really no "ta-da!" moment when you know everything and your yoga journey is done. While that might feel overwhelming to some people (and understandably so), to me that’s the exciting part. I wouldn’t everwant to be done!
We have our whole lives to keep drawing from that endless well. So -- while of course taking rest, and also times away if we need that -- let’s keep drawing from it! Let’s keep enjoying all that yoga has to give. Wishing you nurturing discovery on your path of yoga, or to wherever and whatever you’re called!
Curious what you could learn, and what could transpire from you, following one of our trainings? Our next 95-hour training kicks off on September 14th, 2021! Take the whole training, the Foundations course, or mix and match any of the eleven modules as best serves you. And we have payment plans to keep it more financially accessible! Questions? Email Lara at flowandgrowkidsyoga.com, or book a call with her here! We can't wait to flow, grow, learn, and evolve with you!