Kids yoga teacher training with Christen Bakken returns to Vail
VAIL —The documented benefits of yoga reach far beyond the physical practice. Adult practitioners find that yoga helps relieve stress and stress-related symptoms, improves concentration and mood, increases lung capacity and lowers blood pressure, in addition to increasing strength and flexibility, and improving posture. Of course kids can benefit too, and yoga for young bodies produces the same benefits, helping kids cope with the increased pressures of growing up in today’s fast-paced world.
Yoga is now being introduced in schools — including those in the Eagle County Public School system — with the end goal of providing a better learning environment for tomorrow’s leaders. The opportunities for teaching yoga for kids are on the rise, and the Vail Vitality Center is pleased to offer another opportunity for training with renowned kids yoga expert Christen Bakken on Aug. 24 and 25.
“Yoga has been transforming every bit of my body, mind and spirit since 1998, when I was still in high school,” Bakken said. “At first glance, kids may be the least likely choice to offer a yoga practice to, but in my experience, a child’s body and mind are born ready for the work on balance, strength and flexibility. Children are naturals and incredible reminders to me to literally ‘loosen up.’ It is my privilege to share what I understand about teaching children yoga to any adult who has a love of yoga and an interest in our future generations. The blessings of offering yoga to kids will return back to the participant tenfold.”
Bakken’s Yoga for Young Warriors program focuses on a practice designed specifically for children, and her kids yoga teacher training is comprehensive, including the philosophy and benefits of kid yoga; the general framework for instruction; format instruction for special classes (toddlers, pre-K, tween, family, etc.); the business of kids yoga; meditation and spiritual practice; an overview of adaptive yoga for children; and classroom management techniques. Experienced yogis are welcome, regardless of previous teacher training certifications.
“I took my first yoga class in 1991, when I was 11 years old, and it has changed my life profoundly,” said Julia Clarke, Vail Vitality Center yoga director. “As a teenager, it helped me to stay in a healthy and empowered connection with my body despite the usual pressures of that time, and as an adult I’ve been able to maintain that despite spending my 20s in the office chair. Now as a full-time yoga teacher, I don’t want to imagine how my life might have evolved differently without this practice, and I feel passionately that it can save the next generation from the perils of our modern, technology-reliant culture. Let’s get this in every school in America!”
Eagle County’s Youth Foundation, the Vail Valley Foundation’s educational arm, is working with the local school system to bring yoga to the classroom. Administered through Girl PowHER, a project of the foundation’s Youth Foundation and open to both boys and girls, the program is designed to provide kids with the tools they need to manage stress and anxiety; a majority of school-aged kids cite testing and increased pressure in school as the causes of high levels of stress, starting in elementary school. The Youth Foundation needs male and female yoga teachers willing to work with kids in the classroom, approximately two days per week throughout the school year, teaching yoga and guided meditation for about one hour each day. The organization is offering partial scholarships to yogis interested in completing Bakken’s Kids Yoga Teacher Training at the Vail Vitality Center. Interested yogis should contact Anne-Marie Desmond at 970-777-2015 for an application and details. Scholarship recipients must be willing to assist with teaching in the classroom through the Youth Foundation for the coming school year.
“Introducing yoga to our local schools has made such an impact already,” said Desmond, Girl PowHER coordinator. “The kids learn about being aware of their thoughts and actions. Yoga awakens the senses and encourages these kids — from all grade levels, including elementary through high school — to bring their minds back to the present state; to focus and calm their minds. Following the practice, they are far more open to learning.”
For information or to register for Christen Bakken’s Kids Yoga Teacher Training at the Vail Vitality Center, held on Aug. 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., visit http://www.vailvitality center.com or call 970-476-7960.
Cost is $300 ($50 non-refundable) for the two-day training and pre-registration is required. No previous teacher training is necessary, but yoga experience is essential.