In this article I interviewed Cybele Chamas, the founder and owner of CORPO Yoga, about her Kids and Tweens Yoga Program. As noted by Cybele in CORPO’s mission statement, “CORPO is a family yoga studio where people of all ages, shapes and faiths feel comfortable being who they truly are.” My interview with Cybele truly exemplified how her studio is fully committed to improving the lives of her community through yoga. Read on for more
When did you launch your Kids Yoga Program?
From the time I opened CORPO in 2010, I’ve always had a vision of offering a Kids Yoga Program. We opened the studio on Saturday, April 10 and on that day, we held our first kids class simultaneously with the adults class. It was a huge success, because it gave parents the opportunity to do yoga on a Saturday morning and bring their children. After class the parents and children discussed what they learned and had lunch together. So, it has since became a weekly family affair offered every Saturday morning.
What are the standard age groups for your Kids and Tween classes?
The Kids group ranges from four to eight. The Tween class is designed for ages nine to thirteen, and was created to fill a void after noticing that as the kids got older, they still wanted to do yoga, yet weren’t quite at a teen or adult maturity level.
Do you ever struggle to keep the younger age group focused throughout the class?
For the younger age group we usually suggest the parents stay nearby for the first class. However, within time the kids become comfortable with the instructors and make friends. We have a group of kids that have been practicing for three years and enjoy the entire hour and a half long session. At the end we do a deep Shavasana, which is really cute. Sometimes the kids become so relaxed that they fall asleep and we have to wake them up.
Is there a difference between the kids and tween classes?
Yes, kids are growing very quickly at that age and the needs of four to eight year olds are very different of those ages nine to thirteen. In order to give the age groups the most benefits possible from their yoga practice, our Kids and Tween classes are tailored quite differently.
Can you provide detail on the focuses for each of the age groups?
The Kids class is quite playful, incorporating a mix of games and asana. We use a lot of environment and nature references, which kids relate to like tree pose, lion pose, etc. The Tween class is different, it’s more physical and we push more into asana, breathing and meditation. The Tweens are at an age where they are becoming more self-conscience and have a lot of pressure coming from school and peers. So, we also deal with anxiety in this class. We teach breathing exercises they can use before tests to calm down, and meditation they can use to help them sleep at night if they are feeling anxious. We focus on giving them beneficial tools they can use outside yoga in a simple language they can easily understand.
Wow, it sounds extremely beneficial for both kids and tweens. Do you think yoga should be introduced in schools?
We believe there is a strong need to introduce yoga in schools. In fact, so much so that as of last year we began offering a kids yoga teacher training presented by Karma Kids Yoga. They were here in February and are returning in February 2015. I took the training and it’s for anyone who loves to works with kids. We are offering this not only for kids yoga instructors, but also for teachers, coaches and parents who can use the beneficial games, breathing and meditation techniques inside or outside the classroom. We believe that promoting training like this is a wonderful opportunity for the community.