By Robyn Parets, Founder of Pretzel Kids yoga
There’s a lot going on in the world right now, that’s for sure.
Between COVID-19 and the current social climate, you may be feeling a bit anxious. Or, scratch that – maybe you’re feeling extremely anxious.
And while yoga helps relieve stress, it certainly won’t make pressing issues go away in the world or in the yoga community at large. In fact, as the Black Lives Movement continues to gain ground, I’ve witnessed two disparate trends happening in the yoga community: Some yogis are supporting BLM in various ways; others are staying silent.
There’s also a third thing going on, and you may have seen it, heard it, or even participated in it. I’m talking about spiritual bypassing.
According to Psychology Today, spiritual bypassing is defined as using spiritual ideas and practices to side-step emotional feelings and tasks. Spiritual bypass is also often used to avoid and repress feelings or situations.
To further explain, you can become addicted to a spiritual practice (like yoga and meditation) as a way of avoiding what needs to be healed. So, while you think you’re healing and uniting the world, you instead become caught up with spiritual kumbaya and get distracted from your actual discomfort.
In essence, spiritual bypassing can look a lot like veiled racism. For example, social media posts like “We are all one” or “All lives matter” have been all over yoga Facebook groups. (If you want to learn more about spiritual bypass racism in the yoga community, listen to this podcast episode with guest Michelle C. Johnson, author, yoga teacher, social justice activist, and Dismantling Racism trainer.)
Here’s the thing: You can’t meditate injustice away. Confronting your discomfort is part of yoga. When you can do this within yourself, you’re better prepared to help others and create change in the world around you.
At Pretzel Kids yoga, we have been vocal in our support of BLM. This has come with some growing pains, and we’ve dealt with those too – head on.
But, while we’ve been making changes within our company, we’ve also made it part of our mission to diversity the kids yoga space.
How can we do that? For starters, we know that we need to reach more children in low income communities, especially when stress is at an all-time high. We also know that our industry needs to be representative of our country and the world around us, meaning we need more BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) practicing yoga AND teaching kids yoga.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is defined as the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.
In children’s yoga classes, Pretzel Kids teachers often incorporate breathing techniques that help kids stay present in their bodies and minds. This helps even toddlers and preschoolers slow down their racing minds.
In a Pretzel Kids yoga class, there’s one pose in particular that helps children relax. You guessed it: savasana, also known as corpse pose. While kids are in savasana, a Pretzel Kids teacher usually incorporates a visualization story. For instance, a Pretzel Kids final relaxation can take children on a journey to a rainforest or outer space. The sky’s the limit!
Children’s yoga is often the best way to introduce mindfulness to kids.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, while accepting where you are in every experience. When children and teens practice mindfulness, they become more aware of their emotions. Ultimately, mindfulness helps children replace impulsive reactions with thoughtful responses.
Mindfulness also helps kids build socio-emotional skills like compassion, empathy, respect, and peer acceptance. This, in turn, helps children build positive relationships through kindness and generosity. Likewise, as kids learn to be kind to others, they learn to be kind to themselves.
Now that you know more about yoga for kids, are you ready to start teaching children’s yoga classes? (and, yes, you can teach kids yoga online or outside in the age of COVID-19).
What’s holding you back? Perhaps you think you need to be a 200-hour instructor to teach Pretzel Kids yoga? Well, that’s not true!
If you’re a BIPOC and want to give back to kids, while generating income for you and your family, consider becoming a Pretzel Kids yoga teacher. And, if you don’t qualify for the scholarship program, you can still help make a difference in the lives of children! Start your kids yoga journey today and save 25% on the Pretzel Kids ‘Grow’ or ‘Accelerate’ membership+online teacher training! (use code beyogigrow or beyogiaccelerate at checkout)
About Robyn: Robyn Parets is the founder of Pretzel Kids yoga, a certified yoga instructor, a former yoga studio owner, a coach for female entrepreneurs, a recovering journalist, and a mom to 3 adult boys and 2 rescue dogs. You can learn more about Robyn and Pretzel Kids here.