When I became a Montessori teacher in 1981, I had been practicing yoga for many years myself and realized that children could effortlessly reap the benefits of yoga as long as it was presented in ways that spoke to them. So in my classroom, I created a fun, imaginative style of yoga that had children hopping around the room as “ribbiting” frogs, hissing as cobra snakes, and balancing on one leg as tall trees. They would sing songs of being brave, of finding the light in their hearts, and they would remember that they are perfect as they are.
The class would then culminate in a dramatic change of energy. These children who had just been robustly exercising would lie down on the floor totally still, eyes closed. I would then give them tools to paint peaceful, relaxing pictures in their minds and hearts. Their breath became the ocean—inhaling waves washing up the shore, exhaling waves returning to the sea. As they gently brought themselves back to the classroom, I could tell they had touched that still, calm center of themselves. My assistant, seeing the transformation, began begging me to do it with them every day. And that’s how my path as a leader in children’s yoga started!
More and more friends and teachers urged me to give these tools, these treasures, to the world, so I wrote the classic, Fly Like A Butterfly: Yoga for Children. From there, in 1999, I launched the vision of children’s yoga around the world by founding the Radiant Child Yoga (RCY) teacher training program, one of the first and longest-running certification programs for teaching everyone–no matter what level of yoga experience–how to share the joy and benefits of yoga with children.
As of 2016, the program has trained hundreds of thousands of RCY teachers from every continent of the world, and reached the lives of millions of children. Our vision? World peace, health, and happiness…one yoga child at a time!