So, you've got a kid, huh? Whether it's your own rambunctious preschooler or the bratty nephew you've been charged with keeping alive for the next five hours, the most important thing is leaving your house where valuables are liable to be destroyed and seeking refuge on somebody else's property. In this series, we'll be exploring fun, local and quirky spots that are kid-tastic and adult-friendly, too.
"Kids' yoga is a huge part of bringing more peace into our world," says local yogi Casey Feicht, whose kid yoga classes have become somewhat notorious over the past few years as her business continues to grow. Many Colorado parents already laud yoga for its physical, emotional and spiritual benefits -- so it's no wonder that we want to instill that love in our youngsters, who just might have the power to change the world someday.
Yoga, says Feicht, is about giving children the skills they need in order to listen to their bodies through stress and life's challenges: "Then they are really going to grow up and change the world!"
Feicht started out teaching adult yoga fifteen years ago at a Gold's Gym in California, back before yoga studios were part of our fitness vernacular. But in the last two years, she's cut down on adult classes in order to bring a more child-centered practice to Denver. Part of the reason Feicht moved away from adult-only yoga, she explains, is that "it was getting so serious," and teaching kids is so fun. Her tagline -- Namaste and Play! -- says it all. "Life is short, and I just want to have fun," Feitch notes.
Feicht's own daughter, fast approaching tween-hood, has also been a great inspiration for much of Feicht's work with children. "We play, but we are also modeling," the yogi says. "As kids grow and really need yoga skills in their young adult years, they'll have a foundation."
Feicht has offerings for nearly every age group. At Belly Bliss and Harmony Yoga Studio, she teaches toddler classes for kids and their grown-ups. This class is the best of both worlds, she says, since she gets to teach kid yoga for the first half of class and adult yoga for the second half, while children play with toys and one another.
"This is the big thing that sets my toddler classes apart from others," Feicht says, since parents will get a solid half-hour of yoga after the kids have completed their practice. Also unique is the sense of community forged at these classes. Some parents have made life-long friends through toddler yoga, and Feicht loves facilitating these bonds.
Family yoga, currently offered at Belly Bliss and soon to be added to the Harmony schedule, is another option for little ones as well as older kiddos, too. Feicht lauds this class for its ability to help families of all ages, stages, and sizes bond.
For adolescents ages three to ten, Feicht recommends her Wednesday and Thursday drop-off classes at Harmony at 4:30 p.m. And for teens and tweens, there's a drop-off style class on Tuesday afternoons -- same time, same place. This particular class, she notes, is a great bridge into more adult yoga that focuses on things teens and tweens really need: self-esteem, self-confidence and self-awareness. "All these classes have adult classes at the same time, right next door," Feicht adds.
Feicht is also the founder of Kids Yoga Guide, a website dedicated to educating parents and local yogis with free resources, webinars, a yoga e-book, kid yoga teacher meet-ups and newsletters. There's even a free kids' yoga class for those who can't make it to class.
Also available online: teacher training for kids' yoga. "You don't have to be a certified adult yoga instruction to do this training," Feicht says. "You just have to love kids!" The training is ideal for parents who want to learn basics to use at home, for school teachers looking to bring yoga into their classroom, and also for certified yoga teachers interesting in expanding their careers.
If you haven't already started exposing your kids to yoga, try one of Feicht's neighborhood classes. Call 415-475-YOGA for more details, or visit Feicht's website.
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