November 2016 Teacher in the Spotlight

Photo Credit: Gerry Love

Introducing November’s YoYo in the Spotlight, Summer Beasley. A professional dancer (Karlovsky & Company), preschool to 12th grade dance and movement teacher, and registered yoga teacher, Summer completed YoYo Yoga School’s RCYT program in 2016.

Initially recognizing the importance of yoga through her personal practice and enjoying benefits such as a calm mind, strong core, and flexible mind and body – Summer observed that yoga also improved her dance technique, allowing her to be fully present and connected to each movement, resulting in a more authentic performance and stronger connection with dance partners.

As a mom of two young daughters, and teacher for kids aged 4-18, she was keen to learn how to share this amazing tool with her own children as well as her students.

Here’s what Summer had to say about kids yoga when we recently caught up with her:

YoYo: What do you like best about sharing yoga with kids?
Summer: I love the feeling (and will never tire of it) when a student comes up after class and comments about how great they feel or how much they needed to practice yoga that day.

I also love educating kids about their bodies through yoga. Anatomy and kinesiology are important elements in my classes – we often stop class to discuss the movement of the hip joint, the importance of lengthening through the lumbar spine when folding forward, or simply talking about which muscles are engaged or lengthening in a pose.

YoYo: Why do you think children’s yoga is important?
Summer: Yoga is important for all the same reasons as adults – to enjoy being alive and present in each moment!

In our fast-paced, overly scheduled world, yoga provides children and teens the opportunity and experience of doing NOTHING except focus on the breath and being alive. The simple techniques learned practicing yoga are actually valuable tools to navigate school and life. Beyond self-regulation, body control, and a focused mind – all significant benefits for children – yoga helps kids to sleep better, which is extremely important for healthy brain development and, ultimately, success in the classroom.

YoYo: What did you like best about your YoYo training?
Summer: I loved the creativity! The training opened my mind to what yoga is and how it can be adjusted to fit every lifestyle. I loved (and so do my students) the ideas I learned for breathing techniques and guided relaxations.

Most importantly, I received excellent training, and because of my YoYo training, I am able to comfortably teach students of all ages and abilities. I feel confident that I could walk into any situation (small space, chairs, beds, no mats) and would be able to teach a quality yoga class.

YoYo: What does being a YoYo mean to you?
Summer: Being a YoYo means I am a part of a caring and supportive community. The support from lead trainer Lisa Roberts was (and still is) amazing… but what I didn’t expect, was the support I would receive from my fellow YoYo’s. We all keep in touch sharing thoughts and ideas as we grow as teachers. It’s really a very special community to be a part of.

We are so PROUD of our YoYo, Summer Beasley sharing yoga with kids of all ages –  Making a Difference, One Child, One Breath at a Time.

September 2016 YoYo Teacher in the Spotlight

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YoYo Anna Borys completed her YoYo Yoga 95hr RCYT in conjunction with her final year of grad school… suffice to say, Anna is passionate, committed, hard-working and dedicated to making this world a better place by investing in our future: Our children.

As an occupational therapist and yoga teacher, Anna’s goal is to challenge children to think – about their habits, patterns, and actions – ultimately leading them to the realization that they can and do influence the world around them. Anna won a full scholarship toward Module B in November of 2015 – she completed Module C and her final practicum to earn her RCYT in 2016.

Working in the pediatric occupational therapy field, Anna sees kids who have difficulty regulating their behavior as well as those experiencing physical challenges, and, through yoga, she encourages children to be comfortable in their bodies and to expand their minds – providing the foundation for them to lead happy, wholesome lives.

We recently caught up with Anna to learn about her experiences with YoYo Yoga School and combining Yoga with her profession. Here’s what she had to say:
YoYo: Have you successfully bridged yoga with occupational therapy?
Anna: Yes! During a 12-week clinical to complete my master’s degree, I had the pleasure of working at a school for special needs children. I used yoga as my intervention EVERY DAY combining it with traditional sensory integration therapy. The kids loved it and yoga effectively balanced their sensory systems through vestibular, proprioceptive, auditory, visual and physical feedback – it was a total win-win situation, knowing that my students were really looking forward to their OT sessions and witnessing self-regulation and motor development improvement.
YoYo: Any kids yoga experiences or moments you are most proud of?
Anna: During relaxation at the end of a group kids yoga class, a young student said, “My heart is beating very, very slow.” This provided the opportunity to discuss the difference between a fast and slow heartbeat — everybody began to pay attention to his or her heartbeat. It was such an amazing feeling to have shown these young kids how to listen to their bodies. This has happened in several classes since then, and it makes me so happy – each and every time.
YoYo: What does being a YoYo mean to you?
Anna: I feel a duty to serve children by combining my work as an OT with my passion for yoga, making my job fun. As a YoYo, I am part of a supportive community of like-minded professionals and this has really helped me to achieve my goals. Lisa Roberts, my YoYo instructor has also been a very positive influence, inspiring me to be the best teacher I can possibly be. I am very grateful for my YoYo training, and the scholarship opportunity — the training allowed me to pursue my dream.

We are so PROUD of our YoYo, Anna Borys – Making a Difference; One Child, One Breath at a Time.

Nikki Shields

AUGUST 2016 YoYo Teacher in the Spotlight

Pediatric behavioral therapist, Nicole (Nikki) Shields sees many kids in her Quincy Illinois practice — kids experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma history or diagnoses such as ADHD, autism and developmental delays. Nikki combines yoga with cognitive behavioral therapy to help her young clients develop awareness and understanding of their thoughts, feelings and behavior. And it has been a roaring success!

Upon completing her first YoYo Yoga workshop, Nikki conducted a yoga based therapy group to teach self-regulation, 8 kids signed up… word go out and a staggering FORTY-FIVE kids signed up for the next session.

Understanding the importance of the mind-body connection, and recognizing that those struggling with emotional/behavioral difficulties tend to be less body aware, Nikki draws on her YoYo Yoga foundational training to create fun, engaging practices to benefit and empower her young clients.

YoYo Yoga School’s training was an important step toward Nikki’s success in bridging yoga with her therapy practice – the hands-on, immersion style workshop catered to her learning style and lifestyle and provided the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge in just one weekend. Nikki returned to work the Monday following her 3-day training armed with techniques and confidence to immediately incorporate yoga into her therapy practice.

YoYo: What does being a YoYo mean to you?

Nikki: I love being part of such a diverse group of professionals hailing from many different disciplines and backgrounds, working so hard to bring yoga to children while supporting and inspiring each other by sharing their insights, expertise, and experiences.

YoYo: Any kids yoga experiences you have are especially proud of since completing your YoYo training?

Nikki: I was working with a 12yr-old boy who had revealed that a family member was sexually abusing him. I had him do the warrior poses while saying “I AM STRONG!”… his voice got stronger each time. It was very powerful to witness him find his strength.

Another experience that has been wonderful to be part of, is introducing teens with poor self-esteem and negative body image to yoga. Through the process they begin to love their bodies as they experience all of the amazing things their bodies can do!

We are so PROUD of our YoYo, Nikki Shields – Making a Difference, One Child, One Breath at a Time

Learn more about Nikki and her Behavioral Therapy Practice here:

http://www.quincymedgroup.com/providers/nicole-shields