When it comes to advancing your career and purpose out there in the world, community matters; those in our network can support us as we support them, inspire our continued thought leadership, and keep us feeling fired up to keep our mission alive.
Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Founder/Owner Lara Hocheiser recently appeared on "The Kids Yoga Podcast", created and hosted by kids yoga and mindfulness teacher Jessica Mougis, for the third time. They discussed applying yoga philosophy to the business of kids yoga as well as Lara's new book on mindfulness. Their shared belief in the importance of community, as well as them simply enjoying each other as friends, was fully clear.
To begin, Jessica noted that Lara focuses on theyamas andniyamas(the restraints and the observances) when it comes to sharing yoga philosophy with kids. She then asked Lara to break that down a little bit. Lara highlighted that these are ethical principles that, by the formulation of the sage Patanjali, should be be practiced in order. Theyamas andniyamas come before poses and breathwork, so -- in theory -- one is to work on those ethical principles before ever doing poses or breathwork.
Yoga philosophy in the business of kids yoga
Jessica then asked Lara to discuss how all of that applies to the business of kids yoga more specifically. Lara broke that down as follows:
--Asteya(non-stealing): As a kids yoga instructor, do your own thing! You don't have to feel pressure to be like anyone else. With that in mind you'll refrain from taking other teachers' creative work and thought leadership. Of course, at times we emulate our teachers and replicate what they've taught us in some way. That's okay, so long as you give credit to your teachers -- honoring the lineage from which you came.
--Ahimsa (non-harming): Be mindful of what you're putting in and out, because -- even with good intentions -- being off balance there can cause harm. Prioritize quality over quantity, and hold kindness and love over all.
--Satya(truthfulness): Be honest about your experience and expertise. There may be times when you're asked to do things that are out of your wheelhouse, so to speak -- and it might be best to instead refer the interested party to a teacher or teachers more experienced in the particular population or type of practice at hand. Later, Lara and Jessica discussed that in the beginning, you might need to say yes to most things as a new teacher so that you can learn what most resonates with you. With years in the field comes the discernment to know what it's best for you to say yes to and what's best for you to pass off to other professionals in the field. At all times, minimize committing to things that don't fill you up, Lara underscored.
--Svadhyaya(self-knowing): With knowing yourself comes a more refined understanding of where you belong as a teacher -- again, knowing what it's best to say yes to and what it's best to refer out.
--Isvara Pranidhana(surrender to a higher power): We can't control forces bigger than us. We can't know what will happen in this business, so we have to just surrender to a higher power -- the universe, God, whatever that may be to you. We just have to trust and do our best, and recognize that it's all way bigger than us.
Lara and Jessica moved on to discussing nitty-gritty aspects of the kids yoga business -- such as the differences between an independent contractor and an employee. There are key differences in training obligations, tax structures, and more between these two ways of being employed (listen to the episode here to learn more about that). Lara advised being clear about your rights when receiving a new contract -- maybe even seeking a lawyer's council. Have the new employer at hand read you the contract in order to clear up any confusion, Lara advised.
Lara in the classroom (pre-COVID)
They also discussed valuing your own time and expertise for giving guidance as a mentor or teacher trainer -- to know when to say "I can't help right now." On the other side of the relationship, ask questions but also be sure to fully value the time and expertise of those who are guiding you.
Lara and Jessica also encouraged investing time and money in learning and training. If financial means are an issue, there are grants out there to help -- it just takes work to find them and apply, Lara notes. Entities that offer trainings can help with that grant process, but they can't do it alone -- nor can they give trainings for free, Lara underscores.
Lara's journey this year -- writing a book and more
For Lara personally, this year has meant realizing the need to surrender, and as part of that having compassion for where other people are coming from. With that, as well as coming back to meditation practice far more consistently, she's found contentment (santosha in yoga) and just being able to allow -- it's all good!
In the framework of theGunas, the forces of nature, Lara has learned to accept the flows of change, she shared. Jessica notes how these principles we share with children, youth, educators, parents, and caregivers can also help us to take care of ourselves and keep the work -- fulfilling our purpose -- sustainable.
The day after the passing of her best friend, Lara was offered a book deal for a book on mindfulness, she recounted. The process of writing that book helped her to return to the practice that she and her friend had dived into together earlier in her life. That book (pictured above) is now out, available on Amazon and beyond. Lara emphasized her film belief in keeping mindfulness practice accessible to and feasible for all, one that's very much reflected in the book.
Jessica and Lara ended the conversation thanking each other for offering the time, their insights, and friendship. It takes a village, and this path of sharing yoga and mindfulness with children -- our future -- is much harder and much less fulfilling walked alone.
This episode of the Kids Yoga Podcast makes that all the clearer. It also highlighted the values by which we work, or don't work, in the field. Who supports you, and who do you support? Do you have healthy boundaries and respect those of others? Do you know your strengths and growth areas, and do you truthfully act with that awareness? All essential questions and food for thought!
Lara's Spring 2020 95-Hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training cohort over Zoom
***Interested in learning from Lara, on yoga philosophy for kids and more, as well as joining a supportive community?Our next training starts on June 22nd! Email Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a call with her here if you have any questions.