Our first teacher spotlight is on the founder of Karma Kids Yoga, Shari Vilchez-Blatt. Miriam had the honor of training in her magical NYC studio and credits her kids' yoga teaching inspiration to this incredible woman. We got to catch up with Shari and ask her a few burning questions.
MZ: How many teachers have you trained to teach yoga to children approximately?
SVB: Close to 3000!!
MZ: Why do you devote your career to kids' yoga?
SVB: It's simply my passion. Nothing is more rewarding than sharing yoga with kids of all ages. I feel grateful that I get to guide them and witness their changes - becoming more confident, more focused and balanced, stronger, calmer, and compassionate.
MZ: What are the top three benefits of yoga in your opinion?
SVB: Inner Strength, Self-love, and Inner Peace
MZ: Do children need more play in today's society? If so, why? (obviously I knew the answer would be yes!)
SVB: YES!! More play throughout the day help children to learn, focus and grow. Kids need to move and groove - they can't just sit still and be quiet all day. It's their job to play and discover.
MZ: What is your favorite age group to teach?
SVB: I love kids of all ages, but my favorites to teach are toddlers and teenagers. Toddlers are just about the sweetest and cutest to work with - it's a great age to plant the yoga seed. I can do the deepest work with teenagers - they need yoga. Once trust and community is established within the class, a lot of internal and emotional work starts to happen in addition to the physical practice.
MZ: What is your favorite pose to do?
SVB: Handstand and headstand. Headstand is very grounding and calming to me. Handstand gets me fired up and excited, while expelling my extra energy.
MZ: What is your favorite pose to teach?
SVB: I love to teach L-dog (or what you might know as Handstand Prep or Puppy dog at the wall). It's available to all ages, yet they know it's challenging. I love the surprise on parents' faces when they see how their child can do it. I love the pride on kids' faces when they see they can do it and hold it.
MZ: Can you think of an exceptional story about how yoga has been life-changing for a student (former or current)?
SVB: There are too many that come to mind...we've helped kids with asthma, anxiety, and concentration, however, I really feel that building confidence and self-love is the most life-changing benefits that yoga offers. I feel so grateful to be part of helping kids feel comfortable in their skin and love who they are.
We can all agree that we can't have too much love in our worlds. Thanks to Shari for spreading love to all those she meets.