Today we are interviewing Kids Yoga Teacher Alison Berkery with Kidding Around Yoga in Jupiter, FL.
Alison is originally from New York and came to Florida for college to get her master's degree in Elementary Education. She is a mother of two boys, aged 11 and 13 and she knows the pressure our children have on them today.
Alison thinks yoga is a stress management tool that will not only introduce our kids to the gift of yoga, but it will give them the lifelong gift of mindfulness and meditation. That is well said in our opinion!
We caught up with Alison doing some headstands with her students to ask her a few questions about kids yoga and her early influences for yoga.
Meddy Teddy: Alison what made you want to become a kids yoga teacher?
Alison: Having been an elementary school teacher, I wanted to combine my love for children with my passion for yoga. I know how wonderful yoga makes me feel physically and emotionally; I want the kids to feel that way too!
I want to give the children the tools to live through their heart and to be able to find that sense of calm and peace inside themselves that we are always searching for as adults. I truly believe yoga can help you do that. Through yoga, children can begin to discover that spiritual light that we all have inside of us and usually don’t find until later in life.
Meddy Teddy: Who was a great mentor/teacher for you?
Alison: I was lucky enough to take my kids yoga training with Haris Lender, the founder of Kidding Around Yoga. Haris taught me my foundation as a kids yoga instructor. Poses, breathing techniques, mindfulness, and meditation are all incorporated into a class with music, dance, games, and storytelling.
I will also be forever grateful and thankful for my “grown up” 200-hour RYT program teachers at Haute Yoga. Holly Miller Weston and Katherine Wilder taught me more than they will ever know. More importantly than advancing my yoga practice, they taught me to follow my heart and to listen to my inner voice. If you are always true to yourself, then you are on the right path.
Meddy Teddy: What kind of yoga styles do you practice personally and how do they help you teach the kids?
Alison: Personally, I practice Power Vinyasa and Kundalini. Vinyasa is energetic and challenging for me and Kundalini is more of a spiritual practice that always makes me feel lighter.
Meddy Teddy: How did your mentor in yoga influence your teaching style?
Alison: I think I just teach from my heart and that's why I feel a connection to my favorite teachers. They teach that way as well. It is something you just feel anI I think the kids feel it also.
Meddy Teddy: How do you think yoga helps a child grow and deal with stress?
Alison: So many ways! The breathing techniques, mindfulness, the focus on learning a new pose, meditation. These are all tools the kids can use anytime they are in a difficult or stressful situation. Taking the time to sit and quiet yourself can help a child regroup and see things in a different light rather than a quick reaction.
Meddy Teddy: What are some awesome things you have seen the kids work through to overcome while teaching yoga?
Alison: I love seeing shy and quiet kids become part of our little tribe. It doesn’t take long. We have a loving and safe environment that lets a child know it's ok to fall, literally :)
Meddy Teddy: What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
Alison: The most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher is seeing happy, loving, confident and peaceful kids in my class.
Meddy Teddy: Where do you see the future of kids yoga heading?
Alison: I think kids yoga is going to continue to grow and hopefully become a more commonplace in children’s lives. I think it would be wonderful if it were implemented into schools as a regular part of the student's day. Scientific studies are coming out all the time talking about how mindfulness, breathing, and meditation help kids and adults deal more confident with stress.
Meddy Teddy: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Alison: In 5 years I still see myself teaching kids yoga only maybe by the snow instead of the sea:)
Meddy Teddy: How has having a Meddy Teddy in your classroom helped teach kids yoga and meditation?
Alison: Having a Meddy Teddy in my classes has made more of a difference that I had imagined. I've been playing games with him and each student puts him in a pose and the others have to guess what it is and we all do the pose.
Meddy has given my quieter students more confidence and a voice that they haven't used in the past. When they have him in their arms it's made a big difference that I can see and feel️. He has helped them get comfortable by spending more time in their meditation, what my class calls their "Secret Garden." I am forever grateful for Meddy. He will bring more fun and love to our yoga classes!
Thank you, Alison, and thank you for reading yogis. Bearmaste :)