Charlotte JonesHi Charlotte, welcome to the Yoga Kula team, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today.

When did you decide you wanted to teach kid’s yoga?

I have always enjoyed working with and being around young children. During my times at home in Brighton, I always seem to find myself making obstacle courses or treasure hunts for my two younger cousins. Together we can spend hours outside playing and creating new games- it had always been a dream of mine to someday have a job where learning and play for young children could be at the heart of my work. There is something so magical about sharing knowledge with children and watching them absorb, grow and learn for themselves. And now, here I am in Leeds- lucky enough to say that I teach the kids yoga classes at Kula.

Where did you do your original yoga teacher training? And why?

My original 200-hour Ashtanga Teacher training was in Bali, 2016. There are many reasons why I decided I wanted to venture to Bali, and along with the opportunity to immerse in their culture, the beautiful weather, picture perfect sunsets and soft sandy beaches, it was something that within my personal yoga journey it just felt so right to do. I have always had a passion for sharing ideas and teaching, and with each class I deliver I delve a little deeper to bring something new.

The desire to continue on to complete my kid’s yoga teacher training derived from my rooted passion for working with children. I completed this course in May 2017 through The Collins and Barth school of yoga– and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone wanting to deepen their practice.

What do you love the most about teaching yoga for children?

That’s a tough one!

I think this question will relate to what I mentioned earlier. With each and every activity I offer in my Kids Yoga classes, I can see the processes that each individual child goes through to learn, play and develop. Whether this is children as young as four learning a new pose or drawing a picture of something that makes them happy, or slightly older children offering their time to help others, or seeing how they grow physical strength from the postures. Such developments are evident from each session, but of course, over a six-week period, the changes are often overwhelming. An example of this is sitting in meditation. Naturally, children want to play. To be cheeky, maybe even as loud as they can possibly be. My classes dedicate time and space to work with this, rather than against it. Mediation time at the start of the class can be as little as one minute. Even then, one minute of focused silence from a group of 15 young children is a magical moment in itself. Towards the end of the block of classes, we build up to 3, 4, or even 5 minutes of silence from the group. Moments and developments like this root me back to the heart of my work.

Learning through play I believe is often overlooked. I spend a lot of my free time thinking of and creating new ways that the children can learn through play. In the past, I have created magical yoga treasure maps and taken them on adventures into space. For me, activities like this feed all the creative desires inside of me. I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to creating these activities. And I love it. Plus, it means I get the time to go on all these amazing, imaginative adventures with the children. What’s not to love?!

How would you describe your kid’s yoga classes?

The Kid’s yoga classes incorporate traditional practices of yoga into a more game related, storytelling set up for young children to experience and play with for themselves. Every class brings a new adventure but has emerged from the underlying principles of yoga- such as the control of the breath, calming of the mind, and the physical postures/ Asana. Ultimately, It is a time for children to play, explore, and have fun.

What do you like to do when you are not teaching yoga? 

I am a recent a graduate from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and I am in the process of establishing myself as a freelance Dance Artist. In essence, this means I spend my time in a dance studio- developing and exploring ideas to later translate into a solo or community project. I am also a yoga teacher, delivering weekly classes at heart, in Headingley, and I am lucky enough to teach the Mixed Level 1 group at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s Saturday School Programme. Again, this is another opportunity for me to teach, share, and play and watch the development, growth, and learning of young children! Alongside dance and yoga, I also have a passion for inclusive practice. I currently assist teaching sessions to a wonderful community group through an outreach programme at Yorkshire Dance, and am a member of an Inclusive Dance collective, ‘Raised’.

If I find myself wanting time completely outside of a studio, I tend to go on long walks (Ilkley Moor is my current favourite), hide in a coffee shop, or my recent favourite thing to do is make fresh jam (to then have strawberry jam on toast for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner).

Tell us one fun fact about you?Kid's Yoga Teacher Charlotte

I have just returned from one month travelling in Thailand – the highlight being that I spent a day at Maerim Elephant Sanctuary, Chang Mai ( elephants are my favourite animal). I tried to hold back all the tears when I first saw them and I enjoyed spending the day cuddling them, feeding them their all-time favourite treat (Sugarcane), walking with them through their jungle, and having a mud bath with them. They are such gentle giants, so full of love and care. The baby elephant was so cheeky too! Simply being a cheeky little child, he always wanted to play. Forgetting his size, and that he was, of course, a baby elephant. If you were to bend down in front of him to pick up a sugar cane or tie your shoe- this was a great game called ‘headbutt.’. In his eyes, you too were playing, so this was a great game where you both bang heads together. He flapped his ears and smiled with happiness, and you laugh it off, cuddle into his trunk, and feed him a sugar cane. The most perfect of perfect days.

Charlotte will be teaching our Kids Yoga Pop-Up class on Thursday 21st February at 1:30pm, suitable for students aged 4-8 years.  Click here to book your child’s place.