layoga_logoBy Julie Deife

Shana Meyerson is a kid, at heart. And that’s why she’s the perfect yoga teacher for kids. After a long stint in prestigious universities, she returned home to follow her heart. Yoga.

Not a professional educator, Shana knows about teaching kids, by applying the sound principles of her own yoga practice to the mental, emotional and physical issues that kids have to deal with: stress, self acceptance, peer pressure, a need to express themselves creatively in a world that fosters conformity, to name a few.

Learning that it’s ok not to be perfect is another concept she hopes to impart to children. It was a lesson she had to learn herself. Shana always thought the opposite and was a super high achiever in everything she herself did as a kid (and young adult) from being the only girl to play on a softball team to settling for nothing less than stellar marks in school. She first learned it was ok to fail, she says, in a yoga class with Bryan Kest. She was in her mid-twenties, had an injury, so thought she’d try yoga. She fell over and Bryan told her it was ok. What a revelation!

In a world where kids are often interviewed before accepted for certain kindergarten classes, “how nice would it be to know, that it’s ok to fail?” she wondered. “What if I had studied with Bryan Kest when I was 3 instead of when I was 25 years old?”

In some of her classes for kids, she notices that parents who are observing, caution their kids to be quiet and listen to the teacher. But that’s not what Shana wants. She wants them to laugh and have a good time, relieve pressures from the day. On the spectrum of classes and programs offered for kids, she believes that mini yogis yoga for kids, the program that she founded and directs, is on the “really, really fun” end.

Shana believes if you touch one life, see the transformation of one person, it is all worth it. An 11 year-old girl was brought to Shana’s class for the first time, hiding behind her mom’s leg. “That’s not normal for that age,” says Shana. Clinging to her mom, she first sat on her mom’s lap. Then she sat alone but crouched over. Shana’s intuition told her she had self-acceptance and gender issues. With Shana’s easy-going approach, 15 minutes later the girl was smiling. The next class the girl walked in alone and took her place sitting straight and tall as she could.

Success with kids, according to Shana, is largely dependent on being able to act like them. “If you’re teaching a five year old, then you have to be a five year old. If you can’t, then all the excitement goes away.” “And, if you want to teach kids you must love both children and yoga. You can’t just love yoga and not kids.”

Shana Meyerson is the Founder and Director of mini yogis yoga for kids. She also teaches power yoga for adults at Bryan Kest’s studios. Reach Shana at www.miniyogis.com.