Ahimsa Yoga Studio was founded in 2011, and is today formed by a tripod of locations in Oak Park, Berwyn, and Elmhurst, IL. Built upon values of community, compassion, harmony, integrity, and excellence, Ahimsa enters 2021 with a calendar full of opportunities including Yoga Nidra, Sound Meditations, 200-hour Teacher Trainings, and even Goat Yoga classes at nearby GlennArt Farm. A notable part of their programming includes yoga classes for kids and teens. For more information on these offerings, check out Ahimsa Yoga Studio or follow them on IG @ahimsayogastudio.
There are a range of benefits that can come from introducing a child to yoga -- can you imagine how different your own life might be if you had learned the regulatory tools of breath and movement when you were small?
Ahimsa Yoga Studio, just outside Chicago, offers a range of kids’ yoga options including group classes, private lessons, and birthday parties. Their website lists some benefits of yoga for kids, which include improved body awareness, stronger listening skills, and gained techniques for calming down, energizing, and introspection.
Not only does the Ahimsa Kids Yoga program benefit kids, but it supports the community too. Ahimsa Yoga Studio co-owner Kelly Merydith shares, "Parents are always asking about yoga for their children. Having a program allows us to fill that need for them. It also brings us joy to see all the creative themes Kim brings to the classes. She uses toys, nature, games, costumes, and more to make yoga fun and accessible to children." These kids' classes create a space for community and play.
Kim Vulinovic, who has been the Kids Yoga Director at Ahimsa since 2012 and has been teaching yoga to children since 2001, states, “As a mother and a lover of yoga, I felt that a Kid's Yoga Program was an important offering for children. We see anxiety, hyperactivity, and a number of other diagnosed conditions continue to rise in frequency. Yoga is non-competitive, allowing all children to access its empowering, healing benefits.” Kids are natural imitators-- even at young ages, if they see you doing yoga, they may want to join in.
One of the ways Ahimsa Yoga Kids can articulate their experiences is through the Yoga Kids Spotlight. One featured student, Kinga, was asked why she likes to practice yoga. She responded, "I like to do yoga because it helps calm me down and it makes me happy. I have been doing yoga for three years. If I was a doctor, I would prescribe it to everyone who's tired and doesn't know what to do with themselves."
Are you thinking to start a Kids' Yoga program at your own studio? Kim recommends training through a children's yoga school rather than adapting your adult yoga experience for a kids' class. While she can recommend YogaKids International's certification, there are many trainings and workshops that offer a glimpse into teaching children. When you implement classes at your studio, Kim recommends limiting the age range for each class to a few years, and has found that late afternoons are the most successful time slot for kids' and teens' classes.
Once you launch your studio's kids' yoga program, build your business. Create a website or add a program tab to your existing page. Build your curriculum through recurring weekly classes, summer camps, or special events. Find your audience (for example, market within your studio community, to the parents of a local Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts troupe, or coordinate with a school administrator). The benefits of kids' yoga are innumerable-- as demand continues to grow, show gratitude for studios like Ahimsa Yoga who share the practice of yoga with the next generation.
Kim Vulinovic leads pre-schoolers through an art activity on their yoga mats. Photo Credit Kim Vulinovic and Fountain of Youth Yoga.
Contributed by: Halle Miroglotta